All posts by lgoncalves

Continuous Improvement

Continuous Improvement Culture in HolidayCheck

In this blog post we will explain how HolidayCheck is creating a continuous improvement culture across our IT and Product Development departments.

A lot of companies talk about this topic but few of them actually share it with the rest of the world. This is where HolidayCheck wants to be different. We want to share our experiences with all of you in order to help you to get better on your Agile Implementation. So lets start from the beginning.

Some months ago I had the opportunity to be a beta reader of a fantastic book called: “Lean Change Management” written by Jason Little. This book is about Agile Change management in our companies and how can we create change in our companies in a very effective way. Highly recommendable.

In HolidayCheck we are trying one of Jason´s tools. This tool is called Experiment Board. Jason´s explanation for this term is simple; he feels the word “change” can be quite disruptive, so he calls it “experiment”.

Another reason for naming it like this its related with the fact that if you call changes, experiments you are developing an approach that accepts the fact that you cannot know everything upfront. Which is what usually happens in our companies.

The first step in order to use this tool is to create a hypothesis, after all, experiments start with a hypothesis. The hypothesis is an idea of something that we want to improve in HolidayCheck.

To help with this task (Hypothesis creation) Jason created a template:

We hypothesize by <implementing this change>

We will <solve this problem>

Which will have <these benefits>

as measured by <this measurement>

So mapping it now to HolidayCheck we can have something like this:

We hypothesize by “Fixing the team server instability

We will “Never fail a sprint because of team Server problems

Which will “Allow us to release new features every sprint

As measured by “The number of successful releases over the next 10 sprints

There are several ways to successful tackle a Hypothesis. These “ways” are called “options”. The next step is to brainstorm several different possible options that will allow us to solve the problem stated in our hypothesis.

Each option has a value and a cost associated to it, so the trick is to select the options with the biggest amount of value and with the smallest required effort/cost.

The selected options will be the ones that we will be implement in the near future. In HolidayCheck we define weekly options. This will allow us to get fast feedback about what we are doing.

With the pre selected options at our hand we can then chose what are the options that we want to implement during the next week.

When we are done with the option we must review what was achieved, we must see if our option caused the desired outcome. If this is the case then we are done and we succeed with our experiment. If not, we can create a new option with what we learnt.

In order to implement this process, we created a Kanban board to track all the changes that we are trying out in our company. Every week we come together and discuss with eachother what we did learn with this experiments and how these experiments are actually improving our company.

Continuous Improvement

At this point we are trying this approach with the Scrum Masters but the plan is to expand to the rest of the organization. I believe this is a fantastic way to improve companies.

Every Scrum Master has completely freedom to create hypothesis, generate different options and drive the whole improvement experiment.

My vision as Agile Coach is to create an environment where these boards are spread in different parts of the company and everyone in the whole company can pick up different topics to improve.

Can you imagine a company that provides a framework for every single employee to implement daily improvements allowing him or her to create a culture of continuous improvement?

I can, this company is called HolidayCheck.

I am an Agile Coach in HolidayCheck, and I am preparing something great for you: “Agile Retrospectives Program” this program will help you to become better and better on your continuous improvement effort.