Author: Alexis

Sketchnoting Resources

Sketchnoting Resources

One of my colleagues noticed that I take all my notes graphically and asked me for resources on how to start. I am far from being an expert, and I am not doing as beautiful drawings as the experts will do, even if I am taking notes this way for more than ten years.

Having a beautiful result is, of course, something that I would like to have, but this is not the most important benefit I see with the practice. Among those benefits: the connection of ideas with each other, the ability to have a whole meeting on one page, see when people are tempted to go back to a previous agenda item (it could be a sign that the topic was not closed properly and there are still things to be discussed)…

How to start?

First, you have to be comfortable with your tools and be satisfied with an imperfect result.

I started by using just sheets of paper. I think I was not comfortable to waste a page in my notebook, speaking of being satisfied with an imperfect result… I then moved to a small notebook, and then a large-high-quality notebook. I loved the feeling of the pen gliding on the paper on those notebooks! Then I switched to a reMarkable tablet which gives me the ability to have topics dedicated notebooks. Really useful to have the ability to go back one page to have a look at the notes of the previous meeting on that topic.

Once you have tools, you are ready to start. To make sure I am clear, a pen and paper, and you are ready to start!

Have a look at how a mindmap works. The mindmap approach will give you one way to use the space until you invent your own way.

Then you have to increase your graphic vocabulary.

My preferred book for that is Bikablo. Those other books are also useful (ranked in order of preference):

In the end, there is no magic, and you have to practice! Every day!

One way to get started is to draw TED Talks. TED Talks are very well structured talks, so you will be able to get clues on how to use the space early in the speech. Furthermore, you can start with the shorter ones.

One of my preferred short talks is 8 Secrets of Sucess by Richard St. John.

Ready to start?

Please enjoy the process of learning!

If you have other tips or resources, please use the comments to share (or drop me a note).

Share with me your first results, and we can discuss ideas of improvements!

 

Maybe we can love division after all

Maybe we can love division after all

One year and a half ago, I noticed that my daughter was using an app to improve her Spanish and her English. Of course, there is an app for that! There are even several apps!

The one she was using is Duolingo. I decided to give it a try and started learning Spanish from scratch. Over the last year, I observed multiple evolutions of the application meant to motivate people to stick to their practice and continue using the app.

One evolution they introduced lately is “division”. You start in the “bronze” division. A division is a group of 50 people. Over the week, the first 10 of them will go to the higher division, the “silver” one. Once you reach the “silver” division, the first ten can go up, and the last five are relegated to the lower division. The number of XP (eXperience Points) you gain during the week defines your ranking. You can gain XP by attending a lesson, and how successful you are during lessons.

Of course, with 300 million learners, you can imagine that there are several “bronze,” “silver,” “gold” divisions running in parallel. But it seems it does not affect the behavior of the learners. I realized quickly my habit of doing three lessons per day got me immediately to the top of the first divisions, but after a few weeks, it was harder to get to the top 10, and I needed to increase my practice. So, it worked… And now, to stay in the current division, I need to do a little bit more than three lessons a day.

Of course, I am doing it every day to keep my “streak” 🙂 Another incentive to help you keep up with the habit!

I saw a lot of content management systems that are ranking the top contributors. The problem is that when you are a newcomer, the top is something inaccessible so it cannot motivate you to do anything. The weekly top could also be unreachable, so maybe divisions could solve that problem?

Why do you want people to contribute, and how useful will be their contributions remain questions you will have to answer.

How does it work with my learning of Spanish?

I keep up with the practice, and I was able to understand a lot of things during my last travel to Spain. But I am not yet comfortable enough to speak. Compare to my starting point, the progress is enormous for just a few minutes invested each day.

So what do you want to learn next?

 

 

 

Keynote AgileTour Bordeaux

Keynote AgileTour Bordeaux

On October 30, 2019, I add the pleasure to deliver the keynote for AgileTour Bordeaux.

I delivered the keynote titled: What is your real power? in french.

The recording and the slides are already available.

I also facilitated the Open Space on the next day, just after the lunch with local Red Hat associates to celebrate the Red Hat Week!

Adding another dimension to the project management triangle

Adding another dimension to the project management triangle

By Mapto – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2690261

The project management triangle is a well-known model showing that the quality of the delivery is constrained by the budget, the deadlines, and the scope. The idea is that it is possible to trade between constraints: ask for an earlier delivery with a smaller scope, for example. And If you don’t trade, then the quality of the delivery will suffer.

During a discussion with a team, one of the team members brought that the way they were working was damaging the quality of the product and its long term maintainability. His point was that the fixed set of features (scope), associated with a 3-months deadline for the release, without changing the team, was blocking all the constraints, so the only thing that could vary was the quality.

I have to admit that I was totally in agreement, and while he was talking, I draw the well-known triangle on the whiteboard of the meeting room.

Another team member surprised us by stating calmly: “I always disagreed with that triangle. There is another variable that is not taken into account.”

He got all our attention, and finish his sentence: “The other variable is the effort that you are willing to put into the project.” Two other team members approved immediately in support of that claim. The other team members said nothing and did not move, probably waiting to see where that discussion would go.

After a quick glimpse at the only person in the room who seemed to disagree with that claim, I tried to explain that you could envision that the people could work longer hours, increasing the capacity of the team artificially without changing the cost, but that it will not be sustainable and there was an invisible cost to that burst. A debt that the team will have to pay later. Furthermore, after several days of working long hours, I was pretty sure that the quality would suffer anyway.

I tried to argue that pushing your “best” individuals to deliver could get short term results, but will also damage the ability of the people to collaborate, to support and help each other, to onboard new people in the team, and so on.

They continued to disagree explaining that some people were able to work for a longer time, with a strong focus on their work without damaging the quality of their delivery. This was the “effort” they wanted to celebrate and incentivized.

 

So do you think we should add “effort” as another dimension to the project management triangle?

 

 

 

Featured image is by

I am not your guru!

I am not your guru!

In the documentary, I Am Not Your Guru, released in 2016, Performance coach Tony Robbins proposes an interesting exercise. Imagine your life in the near future. If everything goes well in three years, how much will you make a year?

Don’t read further until you have the figures.

When you get the amount, multiply it by three and imagine what you are doing to deserve such compensation?

Inspiring?

No, it’s not all about money. Money is a by-product of our actions, and if money is not what you want to visualize, pick something meaningful to you.

I would be happy to hear what you think of the exercise!

The Podcast Experiment

The Podcast Experiment

I tried a new experiment last month! I recorded a few podcast episodes:

  1. The first one answers one important question: “How to form a team?” I recorded it with Valentin Yonchev and Matt Takane from the Red Hat Open Innovation Labs.
  2. The second one is a celebration of the availability of Changing Your Team From The Inside as an audiobook, with Michael Reid the narrotor of the book.
  3. The third one is an answer to the question: “How to create great goals?”
  4. I recorded the fourth one with Jerome Bourgeon to answer the question: “Do cultural differences influence the adoption of agile”

Of course, I am interested in your feedback about that experiment.

Maybe you have ideas about change, or you have questions to ask, and maybe even you want to record the answer to a question with me?

Do cultural differences influence the adoption of agile?

Do cultural differences influence the adoption of agile?

In today’s episode, Jérôme Bourgeon and I will explore the question of cultural differences and their influence on the adoption of agile.

Spoiler, we don’t think that cultural differences are the real problem.

Jérôme is an agile coach with Zenika. He is based in Singapore.

Together we discussed:

  • build trust take a different amount of time
  • culture of companymatters more than countries (Jérôme used the model proposed by Frederic Laloux in his book Reinventing Organizations)
  • beliefs of people matter more than anything else
  • the power of appreciative inquiry and how to use it
  • accepting differences that are important for people

I am eager to hear your feedback, so drop me a note at alexis@monville.com, on Twitter or LinkedIn. You can also use those channels to propose the next question you want Le Podcast to answer. We can even record the answer together!

 

How to create great goals?

How to create great goals?

In today’s episode, I will answer one questions I have been asked several times over the past weeks:

How to create great goals?

And more specifically, how to create great goals using the OKRs approach. OKRs stands for Objectives and Key Results.

In the episode, I used a simple example and the Impact Mapping approach, to walk you through the process of creating great OKRs.

I am eager to hear your feedback, so drop me a note at alexis@monville.com, on Twitter or LinkedIn. You can also use those channels to propose the next question you want Le Podcast to answer. We can even record the answer together!

 

Celebrating the audiobook with Michael Reid

Celebrating the audiobook with Michael Reid

In today’s episode, we celebrated with Michael Reid, the narrator, the availability of the audiobook edition of Changing Your Team From The Inside.

Among other topics, we discussed the importance of:

  • making the work visible,
  • invest time to play learning games,
  • buidling lasting relationship,
  • and clarify the goals of the team.

We concluded on the note that the book is for all practitioner and not only for managers, and that the book really equips you to make positive change in the team, from the inside.

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