Sometimes it is right there before us and all we need to do is to reach out and take it. Improvement opportunities are there – all we need to do is learn how to identify them and invest the minimal time to turn the opportunity into something real.
A good indication of an improvement opportunity hanging around is when something really good or really bad happens.
For example, I am working with a client where seven development teams are struggling for some time to better work together. One of the problems we were having was that features didn’t complete – didn’t move to Done. This week we had a deadline and the teams worked very hard and managed to get the important things done. They worked hard but you saw the spark in their eyes – They were very happy and proud about it.
Instead of moving on, getting back to the gray reality, we sat together and thought – how can we leverage this experience to improve our usual day to day? We talked about what happened this week and realized we were very focused. We understood this was an opportunity to introduce the practice of WIP limit – management agreed to limit the number of features and stories in progress so that the teams will be able to focus on few things and get them done. We decided not to take the practice of working until 2am, though, another thing that happened this week.
That wasn’t very difficult to do! The most difficult part is to sit down and invest some time in it.
In Scrum we talk about the retrospective done at the end of the iteration. It doesn’t mean it should only be there. Look for the opportunities and seize them!