For a long time, the cell sustainability managers have been compiling and posting the stress stats and analysis from the checkup form every sprint. Recently we were discussing if and how we can automate most, if not all, of the manual work that we do and if there are any specific reasons for only the sustainability managers to keep doing this - we couldn’t find any.
As a result, I am proposing to rotate the responsibility across all core team members so that everyone in the team is aware of the trends, issues and areas of concern. We can do this by assigning this role to the person on the discovery duty for the first week of every sprint and a separate task with an appropriate time estimate can be automatically created by the Sprints app (CC @Agrendalath). I picked the DD role because the firefighters already have the community relations responsibility.
Thoughts, comments, suggestions are welcome. If there are no concerns raised, we can start this rotation of responsibilities starting from the Sprint 245.
I don’t think I need to advocate automation, but I have been advocating more specialization and less context switching as a way to reduce stress and improve quality, both of work and life. And rotating such a task would be going in the exact opposite direction.
So… instead of defending the whole focusing idea (which merits its own post and discussion), can we agree to automate it instead of rotating it? I’m sure we can come up with a meaningful, automatable, graphable way to survey stress stats (maybe surveymonkey.com?) that doesn’t actually add to the stress itself. ;)
Compiling and posting the stats can be automated. But going through the various reasons given by the team members for their rating and posting an analysis cannot be. So unless we want to stop doing that at all, someone has to do it.
The reason why I suggested rotation is that it doesn’t look like many team members take time to look at what we post and get a sense of what is affecting the fellow team members and participate in conversations on what can be done to improve the situation. Rotating the responsibility will definitely bring more awareness of what we all are going through.
When we can rotate a responsibility like the community relations every sprint, why shouldn’t we do so for something that involves getting to know about the actual issues that every one of us is going through?
I’m no expert on surveys, but I believe we could come to some form of middle ground. Such as, for instance, removing the free text field and instead replacing it with a set of well-chosen, agreed-upon multiple-choice questions. That could give us data more suitable for graphing, which makes trend analysis easier, among other things.
Making the data more easily digestible, via standard charts and what-not, would make it more generally useful. It is already hard to grasp from the current posts how things are evolving. Probably because it is hard to collate from free-form data to begin with. And if this is rotated, with each person giving it their own perspective and writing style, it’ll be even harder.
And if we can standardize the input and output format, we can probably automate it. Maybe even issuing alerts if things go below a certain threshold.
There’s also the question that certain things are best done by the people that are most interested in doing them - hence why we have roles to begin with. I see this particular task as different from firefighting, discovery or community duty, where the work needs to be done by somebody but cannot be foreseen. Quite the opposite, really.
Which is to say, if this is not to be automated, I see it more as a permanent role - which can be spun off as, say, “stress manager” - as opposed to a rotated one.
What are we using the stress stats for? Are they guiding any particular actions or changes?
Continuing to put time into collecting stats makes sense if we’re using them to measure the impact of process changes, or to make decisions about what the teams need. But collecting stats just to collect them isn’t that useful, unless it helps people generally to see and read them.
We do a periodic analysis of the data over a long period and post key observations, if any. Afaik, @antoviaque and @braden keep an eye on the updates posted every sprint, ask questions if necessary, and suggest follow-up actions.
Other team members are encouraged (not expected) to read the summary posted every sprint and start discussions if necessary. But that has never happened till date.
Yup, I would be in favor of automating this – it shouldn’t be too hard to do, it’s basically about posting simple stats and a dump of the answers to a poll in the forum?
And yes, I keep an eye on it personally, to have an idea of how things are going for everyone. It’s a poll so it’s not perfect, but it allows me to be aware of an issue more quickly when suddenly some, or a lot of, people don’t feel right. We had that lately, and I think that’s because of the need to recruit more – it’s hard to tell, but at least it shows that there is something to look into. Alternatively, when numbers are good, it’s reassuring and good to know.
The reason why this is assigned to sustainability managers currently is because sustainability isn’t just about making budgets match – it’s also about making sure our fellow team is feeling well, and able to work in good conditions. It could actually be helpful to reorient the responsibilities on this, to do less of the part that’s automatable (posting the poll, compiling the results), and more about interpreting the results, and figuring out improvements / solutions, whenever possible. This should also likely be done on a cell per cell basis, as often the aggregated stats across all cells aren’t that meaningful, since the circumstance can vary a lot from a cell to another (and if an issue appears in all cells at once, it would be even more striking).
This would actually also be good to combine with the retrospective management – that’s also a place where feedback on what is going well or not appears, it also needs interpretation, and making sure we decide on a solution and do it. It is also something that is at the cell level.
@daniel@raul@guruprasad Asustainability managers – if we automate this, would you be willing to handle the interpretation & problem solving that I’m describing here?
By the way, remember to post a task where to log time for forum posts.
In this case I guess it’s BB-995.
Each person can also get some value from reflecting about the sprint and well-being, regularly.
I agree they should guide some decision, and I think we can do something, some next step, with it.
we discussed about it (sust. managers and Nizar). There are minor details that make automation hard, like: having to check and ping all members before producing the final report (because people forget), but excluding those that were on holiday the past sprint. Or moving the old data to a historic (to a single place)
we saw that the current approach is easier than, for instance, monday.com
it could still be automated but it doesn’t look like it was worth the effort when we checked it. I wouldn’t mind having it automated
we may find a more appropriate tool. Still, interpreting the data is manual
I’m neutral about this proposal. I want to hear others’ opinion on whether they want to do this, and whether they like dealing with something called a „stress report“ :-)
I don’t mind doing this report/collection, by the way
I think there are other ways to involve people in improving their sprints and well-being, better than cleaning up spreadsheets. I have some ideas (e.g. a task for each person, to analyze and propose actionable improvements to previously reported issues from previous sprints, taken from the historic). But this post was getting too long
I agree that rotation the cleaning up of spreadsheets doesn’t add much joy. That part can be specialized or automated
Interpretation, a bit. Problem solving, I’d like to, but I have tried to do it in the past in OpenCraft and it was mostly a bad experience (even though some part was useful). A lot of the reported stressors are about company processes (most of the retrospective items are), some of them keep being discussed, and I feel we don’t have the power/budget/time to change them. We discuss some of them lightly (we add them to a spreadsheet and forget). Only from time to time we do deep discussions (e.g. spill-overs, 2018), though not all discussions result in changes. Some of the large issues have required a large effort (2-week sprint, no-meetings, cell split, …). Participating in long discussions has been —in my experience— a cause of underreported work and higher spill-over risk; it’s also regrettable when we just discuss issues but can’t fix them (because of budgets or sustainability or scheduling etc.). So, after those experiences: I think we’d need other approaches. Or just do a small step, like reporting in a more useful way, or focusing on 1 difficult stressor per quarter, etc.
In the end I can do any approach; only I have seen that some don’t produce results
We don’t see much participation, but people can still read the posts.
Maybe people read the posts and feel that they don’t have anything to add, or they don’t think they can improve or fix issues.
As I mentioned above, I think that some improvements (process changes) require heavier work than a short comment in the forum. And to initiate a longer discussion, you need a task, an account, time, budget, …