Categorize stories in 2 dimensions to identify boring ones Source:
Wayne D. Grant
Draw a big square and divide it into 2 columns. Label them 'Interesting' and 'Dull'. Let the team write down everything they did last iteration on stickies and put it into the appropriate column. Have them add a rough estimate of how long it took on each of their own stickies. Now add a horizontal line so that your square has 4 quadrants. Label the top row 'Short' (took hours) and the bottom row 'Long' (took days). Rearrange the stickies in each column. The long and dull stories are now nicely grouped to 'attack' in subsequent phases.
'Imagine you could time travel to the end of the next iteration (or release). You learn that it was the best, most productive iteration yet! How do your future selves describe it? What do you see and hear?' Give the team a little time to imagine this state and jot down some keywords to aid their memory. Then let everyone describe their vision of a perfect iteration. Follow up with 'What changes did we implement that resulted in such a productive and satisfying future?'Write down the answers on index cards to use in the next phase.
This activity is helpful when a team is facing an ambiguous, volatile, uncertain or complex set of problems and has many suggested action items to choose from.
Draw a Landscape Diagram, i.e. an x-axis labeled 'Certainty about approach' and a y-axis labeled 'Agreement on issue'. Both go from low certainty / agreement in their mutual origin to high towards the top / right. For each action item ask 'How much agreement do we have that solving this problem would have a great beneficial impact? How certain are we about the first steps toward a solution?' Place the note on the diagram accordingly. When all actions are placed, shortly discuss the 'map' you created. Which actions will give the greatest benefit in the next iteration? Which are more long term?
Choose 2 actions from the simple / ordered area of the map or 1 action from the complex area.
What's the probability of action items getting implemented? Source:
Let everyone draw an emoticon of their current mood on a sticky note. Then draw a scale on a flip chart, labeled 'Probability we'll implement our action items'. Mark '0%' on the left and '100%' on the right. Ask everyone to place their sticky according to their confidence in their follow through as a team. Discuss interesting results such as low probability or bad mood.