Monday, December 31, 2012

Inspect and Adapt

As another year comes draws to a close, we all start thinking about that annual ritual, the 'New Year's Resolution.' Inspect and Adapt. The core of Scrum is deeply rooted in our culture. And yet, how many of us really implement our Resolutions? We Inspect, but we don't Adapt.

I recently realized that I had been collecting feedback from my course participants for years but I hardly ever really acted on what people wrote. I inspected without adapting. This fall, in the face of lukewarm Net Promoter Scores, I resolved to implement at least one of the suggestions from each round of participant feedback by the next course (see Managing by the Numbers in the 21st Century).

Now, after each course, I go through all the feedback forms, summarize them, and send that summary as a follow-up feedback to the participants. In the summary, I tell the participants what improvement I intend to make in the next course based on their feedback. I always implement one item, and usually several.

Some examples of small changes: 1) including Q&A and case studies as backlog items in the course. I always did case studies and answered questions, but as line items, people knew they were getting them. 2) Ensure that everybody gets a chance to role play a leadership role in the simulations. 3) Answering open questions after the course. (see for instance Questions and Answers from last week's MasterClass Workshop

The biggest change was to restructure the course flow, but I think the small changes have had the most impact on customer satisfaction.

The results were tremendous! Within 3 courses, I was able to raise my Net Promoter Score (the % of participants who would surely recommend me, less the number of those who would probably steer people away from me) from a lukewarm +11% to a delighted +90%! Inspect and adapt really works. Delight the customer really works! And it amazing how quick the turn around can be! (see: Eight Questions for a Product Owner)

My new years resolution - I just have one - to keep inspecting and adapting, based on feedback from my customers.

Imagine -- how would your life or work change if you consequently inspected and adapted. What would next December's year end reflection be like?