Thursday, October 31, 2019

Newsletter #35 : Energy Investment Model

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Interesting Articles

Catapult: The fun way of doing a retrospective

The Catapult activity is great for planning and preparing for an upcoming challenge. With a simple metaphor, this activity guides the participants to look at the challenge from three perspectives: the person facing the challenge, the challenge itself, and the organization people engage in to overcome the challenge.
Running the activity
  1. Draw the catapult, with the person flying and the mountain ahead.
  2. Ask the participants to write notes for each of the three areas
    • The catapult: notes related to the organization preparing people to overcome the challenge,
    • Person flying: notes related to the person facing the challenge
    • The mountain: the challenge itself.
  3. Conversation about the notes. Consider guiding the conversation by connecting related notes from the three areas.

Read the rest of the article here

"Energy Investment Model" for team building and employee engagement

Came across Energy Investment Model created by Don Tosti and Fred Nickols.  I am yet to use this model and have posted it on LinkedIn to hear more from others. Possibly, I will post the details if I hear anything interesting in the next post.

Employee engagement is hot and for good reason. The payoffs are significant. But we think there’s an aspect of employee engagement that has not received the attention it deserves; namely, that in terms of engagement, employees fall into four basic communities: Players, Spectators, Cynics and Deadwood.

Players. These are the people you want. They couple a positive attitude with high levels of effort. They are the ones who make things happen, who take the initiative and who see things through to the finish. They are both competent and caring about their work, their company and their co-workers. The primary task in relation to this community is retaining them as players.

Spectators. These are good souls; their heart is in the right place and so is their attitude. They, too, are competent and caring but they rarely take the initiative, choosing instead to expend minimal amounts of energy. The turnaround task here is getting them to release what are essentially large amounts of energy reserves.

Cynics. These are the folks who, except for their attitude, would be players. They have high energy levels and are usually competent but, for various reasons, have become disillusioned and cynical about the workplace in which they find themselves. Owing to their competence and high energy levels, they can be especially troublesome and problematic. Yet, if their attitude could be turned around, they could make significant contributions to the organization.

Deadwood. These people have the deadly combination of a bad attitude and low energy expenditures. They often do little more than take up space and occupy slots on the organization chart. Turning them around is the most difficult turnaround task of all because both attitude and energy expenditures must be raised.

Read the complete article here.

There are no best practices while solving complex challenges 
If you have attended one of my LeSS courses, we discuss about different types of problems and the ways to solve each type. Complex and complicated problems cannot be solved through best practices.

Most of the product development activities fall under complex and complicated and thus best practices are futile.

Here are some snippets about this topic from the book "Practices of Scaling Lean and Agile". 
In Managing the Design Factory, a similar point is made:
...the idea of best practices is a seductive but dangerous trap. ... The great danger in “best practices” is that the practice can get disconnected from its intent and its context and may acquire a ritual significance that is unrelated to its original purpose. [Reinertsen97]
Since so-called best practices are ‘best,’ they also inhibit a “challenge everything” culture and continuous improvement—a pillar of lean thinking. Why would people challenge ‘best’? Mary Poppendieck, co- author of Lean Software Development, reiterates this point and draws the historical connection from best practices to Taylorism:
Frederick Winslow Taylor wrote “The Principles of Scientific Management” in 1911. In it, he proposed that manufacturing should be broken down into very small steps, and then industrial engineers should determine the ‘one best way’ to do each step. This ushered in the era of mass production, with ‘experts’ telling workers the ‘one best way’ to do their jobs. The Toyota Production System is founded on the principles of the Scientific Method, instead of Scientific Management. The idea is that no matter how good a process is, it can always be improved and that the workers doing the job are the best people to figure out how to do it better... Moreover, even where a practice does apply, it can and should always be improved upon. 
There are no best practices—only adequate practices in context.


Upcoming LeSS courses and Events

Recently  Perth Certified LeSS Practitioner course has been announced.  The registrations have started.. and appreciate if you could spread the word around.

Date: October 21st, 22nd and 23rd.

City: Perth

Link to register:


A bit about Empirical Coach

If you are interested in Agile coaching, mentoring and training services, please reach out to me ( We have a team of passionate coaches collaboratively working together and could help.

Our team has deep expertise in Agile, Lean, Systems Thinking and Complexity science. We look at challenges from different angles and apply tools from various schools of thoughts. This is different from the cookie-cutter approaches you see around.  We are proud to be different.

I have been deeply involved in many of the initial experiments that lead to the birth of LeSS, one of the countable number of people globally. 

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