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Do you get that air of excitement when trying something different? The anticipation waiting for the outcome builds the tension. Will the result meet expectations or will there be a surprise? Whether it’s a personal or team change there is a sense of intrigue trying to prove a theory or simply a hunch. Then the feeling of joy or puzzlement depending on the outcome. Deciding to try out new things can feel scary, but I believe it’s important for keeping teams engaged.

Sometimes just a break from the normal routine can be a relief, if this is how you feel, imagine how you’re team feels? I tend to get heavily into routines, from when I get up to what exercises I do in the gym, to break from this I feel a bit of a rebel…but I enjoy the change! We can get stuck in our ways at work as well, it’s only when we make a change or try out something new we’re able to see more possibilities, as though our eyes have been opened.

Trying new things out should be because there is a need, don’t change things just for the sake of it! There needs to be value to get out, an improvement (or learning) gain in some area. There are different ways to identify needs, the basic, and often most effective, is through observation. Watch how the team interacts with each other and those outside the team, does it work well? Also, listen to the team, would they like to try something new? Are they frustrated with anything? If you’re not looking you’ll fool yourself into thinking that everything is ok! It’s amazing the different ideas you get and how they feed off each other when you start looking.

  • It could be that the Scrum methodology isn’t giving your team the freedom to innovate, so you want to try thing different.
  • Did you have plans for Continuous Delivery but they have slowly evaporated and you want to reignite them.
  • Maybe your retrospectives are getting repetitive and you’re losing the engagement with the team. Varying the format or location could be something to try.
  • Are the members of a team sitting together in the office? Re-organising desks could improve collaboration and moral.

Don’t let fear stop you trying out something new. We can be worried about failure – what would my boss think if this change is a complete disaster?! If we let these worries get the better of us there’s a real danger our teams will become stagnant. Preparedness can help with concerns, run your plans out with those affected so there are no surprises. You can even learn from their initial responses that will allow you to make any tweaks necessary before go live.

Remember, whatever happens with the change you will learn either way! This is important. What went well? What didn’t? Could minor changes fix anything? Get feedback from those involved. There’s always something to learn! If it was a complete disaster then you no longer need to speculate and can move onto something else. But don’t hide the results, be transparent with successes and failures. Not only is it important that others learn with you, but they can also offer ideas and suggestions.

Finally, timing is an important factor when trying out something new. To continuously try different things straight after one another would seem a little reckless and send the wrong message to the teams. Or even making a number of changes in one go will make it difficult to know whether any particular change was a benefit. Be practical about the approach and ensure you know how you will measure success before beginning.

Ultimately, people can see your intent, they know what you’re trying to do. Even if things don’t work out your peers will know you’re making changes for the right reasons. Often people will encourage you to make the changes and support you. When changes do work, you can see it in your teams, they appreciate the change. Enjoy the improvement…be ready for the next! Continuous improvement…

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