Yay! Questions!

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What results of 2 questions and an action plan can generate in a team?

Hi guys, how are you? Today I’m going to talk about how I useYay! Questionsin the retrospectives that I act as a facilitator but with the inclusion of some additional questions and an action plan.

Before proceeding, it is important to mention that Yay! Questions is a practice of Management 3.0 and one of the objectives, is the learning of the team and people and are 2 very simple (but powerful) questions:

  • What did we do well?
  • What did we learn?

“The first question focuses on what best practices were followed, while the latter focuses on experimenting and then learning. Both success and lessons learned are reasons to celebrate — with the ring of a victory bell, an applause, or a piece of cake! ”.

Por Management 3.0

Context: From June to September 2020, I worked as an Agile Expert to help a company / team deliver a project in the 1st week of September, since this team had just been created two months ago and the scope of the project was not yet clear (but the delivery date yes).

I joined the team with the objective of helping in the understanding and practice of agility but also with a responsibility to guide them along this path without forgetting that we had a delivery date that could not change in any way.

“Mission given is mission accomplished”

Capitão Nascimento – Filme Tropa de Elite

I joined the team, introduced myself, started to get to know people, what they were doing and also to understand more about the company’s project and structure and workflow.

In the first retrospective (facilitated by the Scrum Master) I was a listener, took some questions from the team and / or asked some questions to understand more the context of the company and the project, and the retrospective was another moment of unstructured “wailing wall” and I decided to do something for the next retrospective session.

During the 2nd sprint I got closer to the team, understanding their pains and difficulties but I also talked a lot with the stakeholders, Product Owner and Scrum Master and I proposed to SM to facilitate the next retrospective and he agreed.

1 day before the retrospective I prepared a Board in Slices tool created by agilists and used by agilists) with 4 questions (2 of them from Yay! Questions) and the team knew nothing.

  • What did we do well?
  • What did we learn?
  • “Dependencies, Risks and Blocks”
  • Start Doing

At the beginning of the retrospective I explained to the team that we would make a dynamic to understand some important points for us as a team but also important for the product, for delivery and for the company and that everything they wrote in the dynamic would be anonymous because the tool used does not identify the user.

Agreements made and combined context, I opened the session presenting only the first question (the slice allows to expand part of the board preventing other parts of the board from being displayed):What did we do well?and expanded the board so that they could create post-its and answer the question.

Passou o time box eu fiz a mesma coisa para a próxima pergunta: “O que aprendemos?” e expandi o board para que eles criassem post-its e respondessem a questão.

Of course, I did the same thing for the next two questions: “Dependencies, Risks and Blocks” and “Start Doing”.

Before finishing the retrospective, we did a Dotting Vote per question and each person had the right to cast 2 votes (maximum) per question and explained that the goal was, together, to know what are the most important items for the team that we should create an action plan for the next sprints. And so they did and we knew what were the most important and prioritized points for each type of question we answered.

Board Time Retrospetiva

At the end of the session the team was very happy and motivated because in addition to making tangible what they did well, what they learned, what were the items that had dependencies, risks and blockages and what they should start doingall together prioritized the most important items to work for next sprints.

And that’s what we did. Together with the SM and the PO, we updated the team’s visual management framework to reflect their workflow. We also started to collect and present metrics that made sense to the team and company. We reduced the number of meetings, being more effective and aiming at the points that should be resolved. We brought stakeholders close to the business and with that, we had clear, objective and structured User Stories to solve business and / or customer problems.

In other words, the way the retrospective was streamlined, with the team answering simple yet powerful questions from “Yay! Questions ”generated rich and important inputs to make decisions and motivate the team, generating a direct impact on the delivery of what was being produced.

After that, we had some more retrospectives looking to learn from what we did well, what we did badly, how we can improve, using #TeamBuilding techniques and practices trying to be the high performance team.

To conclude, my workday involves teaching classes or facilitating coaching sessions with teams and I often use Yai Questions! as a practice to collect feedback, but also to pass on knowledge to students and customers, explaining the value and power of use. In other words, practice has become a habit in my daily life and depending on the context, I make some adjustments focusing on “what problem do I want to solve”.

Thats it, I hope you enjoyed the case I shared with you and if you haven’t yet, ask these questions with your team (or yourself) and see the results. I’m sure you’ll like it and be very rich.

I’m happy to be able to share this case with you and if you want to talk more about it, I’m available.

See you soon ;-)

Ricardo Caldas

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