Monday, 26 September 2011

Futurespective (the way we do it)

Furturespective (also Future-spective) is an approach to run retrospectives or improvement workshops which attempts to drive out possible improvement opportunities (usually to process but can be others) by shifting the group's focus into the future and then looking back from there. It is described well by Anders Laestadius here however this is not exactly the way we do it in my current team. So I decided to write up a summary of the "Furturespective the way we do it":

The agenda is usually something like this :

  • Check-in - Sometimes, especially if you do it for the first time, the check-in can be your explanation of the concept of the Futurespective which is usually engaging enough to get people's attention
  • Successful end: Explain that you're now at the end of the project/delivery/release and it is a success so you ask the team to brainstorm the reasons why they аre successful.
  • When step 2 is over (say 5 minutes) ask everyone to post their items on the board and explain them (and group as much as possible)
  • Unsuccessful end: Now explain a second scenario - the project is a failure and ask the team to list possible reasons why this might have happened.
  • Like in step 3 after short brainstorming ask the team to post and explain the generated ideas/reasons.
  • Now ask the team to vote e.g. 3 votes each or choose more appropriate number based on team size.  A variations can be 2 votes per positive item and 3 for negative.
  • Count the votes and discuss the top 2-3 items (depending on time restrictions)
  • Discuss the top voted items and try to generate follow up sessions or actions.
  • Check-out

  • Hope this is useful. Thanks to @alfie_thomas99 for this version of the futurespective.

    Monday, 5 September 2011

    So what's new in LeaveWizard land

    Together with Rich Allen I have been working on this great app called LeaveWizard for over 2 years now.. And I've never blogged anything about LeaveWizard and it's a shame because I am so passionate about it.. well as you may guess there was a reason not to blog but that reason is now a distant and insignificant past so here comes my first post on LeaveWizard.

    What is it?

    LeaveWizard is an online based application that helps you organize and manage absence and events for your teams. We have taken an approach that gives you simplicity if you choose not to modify the default options and it also has built in flexibility to support fully customiseable event types including time off in lieu, work patterns that lets you design custom shifts, leave restriction at different levels and custom groups. It even supports simple room booking and the list of features is growing every week.

    Why did we start it?

    We started LeaveWizard because of a common 'leave management' problem we both experienced. We also started it with a desire to build a great application that our customers love to use. The core values that help us progress are simplicity, user feedback and built in quality.

    What's new in LeaveWizard land

    Now on to the point of this post. Every time we release new features we make them visible through a blog post in our LeaveWizard blog. We also add to our collection of extended help articles to help customers get started with the new features.

    Over the past 6 months we have added some really cool features like accrued allowance, new UI which follows an ultra simple pattern to help customers get up to speed and get the job done quickly, events like overtime that can turn into additional allowance, calculation of the bradford factor which is a funny number to have available to you (if you wanted to go that route), support for event type that have allowance in hours and many small enhancements like controlling event types that get published in calendars, visibility of event type allowance and event details, hiding certain users from lists and charts and configuring various options for customers so they can make the most of the application.

    One thing we love is to hear feedback and ideas from our customers, which is why we regularly monitor and pick ideas from our feedback forum.

    So now I have blogged about it I can start looking at the stuff that's next on our list so I have more reasons to blog about the new cool features next month.