Tuesday, October 9, 2012

HappinessApp to collect Feedback at Agile Tour Lausanne

This Friday I will be leading a workshop on Scrum Performance at the Agile Tour in Lausanne. The HappinessApp will also be present, collecting feedback from the participants about their satisfaction with the sessions. Their feedback will be displayed in nearly real time for all the participants to see on a big projection screen during the breaks.

How it works

Here are some screen dumps and a description of the workflow of the prototype.

In Lausanne, a member of the organizing committee will have an iPad and be present in each room. He or she will select the session.

At the end of each session as the participants walk out, they just select their smiley and save!

Much like the World Happiness Index, their feedback scores are relayed to our server.  

Then, by the time everyone has gotten their coffee, the consolidated scores will be available. The scores will be displayed on a big screen which updates every 15 seconds while data is being collected.
I hope this approach will make it much quicker and easier to get feedback from participants. Interested in using this approach for your conference? Drop me a line...

In any case, I look forward to seeing you the Agile Tour in Lausanne!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Reflection on my MasterClass on Scrum Performance

Last Thursday, I held my first MasterClass Workshop in my new training facility "zum Talgarten". The topic was Scrum Performance and the target audience was people who have been doing Scrum for a while yet feel the need to get better. Three people attended (in German, they say "klein aber fein!"), a Product Owner and ScrumMaster from one company, the former ScrumMaster from another.

The inspiration for this workshop came out of my workshop at the Scrum Gathering "Reinventing Scrum". I discovered none of the participants wanted to reinvent Scrum, they all wanted to debug their own Scrum implementations. And so the workshop was born.

The second piece of the puzzle came from the Temenos retreat I attended last summer. (Read more in the article on Deep Trust - a foundation for lasting change in your organization). A Temenos retreat goes through a process of reflecting and letting go of what happened, then creating personal and shared visions for the future. I set out to follow this model:

  1. Identify reasons and goals for attending this workshop.
  2. Draw of picture of your Scrum flow, showing how you really do "Scrum"  (which may or may not be very close to how Scrum is actually defined).
  3. Share and discuss your Scrum with the other participants
  4. Reflect on how you and Scrum have failed each other
  5. Review how Scrum-by-the book works, and why
  6. Create a Vision of how Scrum should be in your organization
  7. Create a list of improvements to start implementing on Monday.
That was the idea. This proved to be too ambitious for a one day workshop, so I focused on achieving the participants goals. This is what I am now reflecting on — Stay with the one day format, or expand to two days?

How did the participants feel? They appreciated getting feedback on their current system, sharing practical experiences, the discussions with each other on their issues, and learning about various common patterns (e.g. "Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs") and how to solve them. (I'll be posting their quotable comments on the MasterClass announcement shortly). The Net Promotor Score was +67% (2 promoters, no detractors), and Erik Foneska agreed to a spontaneous video interview. Here is his recommendation:

The next public workshop is scheduled for December 6. I'm going to do it once more as a one day workshop. In the meantime, I'll consider whether it should become a two day workshop/retreat for next year.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Introducing the World Happiness Index

"This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy."

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Three months ago, I came up with the idea for what is now the HappinessApp(tm) - a simple tool for recording your moments and moods and sharing them with your friends, family and co-workers. Together with a talented team from Brazil and now over 30 beta-testers, we are getting close to our first public release.

Since then I have learned a lot about happiness. "Motivation is a multiplier for velocity" observed Joe Justice, founder of WIKISPEED.

For most people though, work is not usually a source of happiness. Think assembly line. That's work. It's not fun. You do it because you need the money, and being seen to have too much fun on the job can be suspect.

But there's a twist: Today's work is increasingly Knowledge Work. As Jay Cross observed, knowledge work usually is more like a conversation than traditional assembly-line work, and conversation is second only to sex as source of happiness. As anyone who as listened to the laughter of a typical Agile team knows, work can be fun!

So work is changing quite fundamentally, and the relationship between happiness, work, and business success is growing stronger all the time. Understanding happiness will be more important than ever before: understanding your happiness, your staff's happiness, and your customers' happiness.

I realized the HappinessApp could do more than just record and share moments of happiness and despair. The scores from the HappinessApp could be combined to create a national or global happiness index. It could create a whole new understanding of Human Happiness!

Imagine if instead of focusing on Gross National Product, politicians would optimize the National Happiness Index, so that you and most of your countrymen are happier at the end of the year than at the beginning. What would it be like to live in country run that way? Are Americans happier than Europeans, or women happier than men? How does people's happiness change with age? Is there a change in happiness before or after major events, like a FIFA World Cup, a change in leadership, or even a revolution. Every week, we could look at the data and ponder its meaning. What insights could we gain?

Happy Planet Index 2006 from Wikipedia

My vision is that we can visualize human happiness around the world, almost in real time.

With the upcoming beta release of the HappinessApp, we can now collect data for the World Happiness Index and participants can choose whether to participate. Soon we will post a website with the first results.

What is going to come of the World Happiness Index? I wish I had a crystal ball! What do you think will happen? What should happen?