Friday, July 17, 2015

SC1 - Chad

Chapter 1: Explain the planning process for the new FBI system "Sentinal".  How was a Gantt chart used in the process?  What is Sutherland's beef with this kind of planning?

The "Sentinal" planning process seemed to be like many other large companies.  Each functional group created their requirements needed by other groups, estimated the amount of time required to complete their taks.  The Gantt chart linked each functional areas activities together to generate a complex interdependent plan.  Sutherland's issue with this planning method is that it is incorrect before the team even starts implementing the plan.  So all the work that was spent creating the interdependence could have been productively spent solving problems.  From my personal experience, the person providing inputs or creating the Gantt chart is also the best person to eliminate road blocks and provide leadership for the team.

Chapter 1: At the end of every sprint (2 weeks in this case), the Sentinal team presented a working demo to stakeholders across the FBI.  Why is this necessary and important to do?

Stackholders need to be updated or the scum will begin to be more like the waterfall method with no feedback until the end. With frequent updates, changes can be identified early enough to make adjustments. In many cases, the stack holders also need to have confidence that the scrum method is yielding benefits. The stackholder meeting is the venue for this update.  By the way, a great stakeholders meeting could be lunch/dinner time presentations to the entire team.  Food and a show!

Chapter 2: "OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act)", "inspect and adapt", and "PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act)" are all getting at the same core idea.  Explain this idea and how it relates to the way a team functions.

These ideas all feed into continuous improvement strategy.  OODA is about figuring out what needs to be done and doing it, which is for sure a lean methodology.  Inspect and adapt and PDCA have continuous improvement embedded in the definition.

Chapter 2: Explain how we would implement the paper airplane example to practice a OODA cycle at a team meeting.  What would be the point?

To start with the point.  I think that learning the skills to observe and orient are very important.  The airplane is a good example because it also incorporates a loop and small tests.  Learning the technique could be as simple as duplicate the exact activity.  For an applicable robot activity, we need something that can easily be iterated so optimizing the program is the most obvious.  The activity could center around maneuvering the robot through and obstacle course, time or hitting the fewest obstacles could be the criteria.  Between iterations changes to gains and other quickly modified parameters can be changed. 

Chapter 3: The best teams are transcendent, autonomous, and cross-functional.  In your OWN words, what does this actually look like on an FRC team?  It may help to reference examples from the West Point, NPR, and Special Forces case studies.

Autonomous and cross-functional are the most probably team types for an FRC team.  The mentors enabling students to make their own decisions (experience is a great teacher), the students knowing when to engage the mentors for assistance and once the input has been taken in, the team should act.  This is basically the NPR example where the executives (mentors) couldn't be reached.  The team has a choice rise and get the job done or not get focused on problem solving.  For the FRC team this is operating in the small groups developing small tests and moving the robot design / build / programming forward.  Cross functionality with the cross training would improve efficiency as it would help level the surges in work.  As the special forces communications specialist can patch up a wounded comrade with the medics can't, a marketing or programmer could spin the cad model during the build season to free up the designers to solve a problem.  Or that marketing person could be well enough versed in the design to help create concepts for solving design problems.

End with a summary of what you learned.

Coming from a place that really values Gantt charts and has several people hired just to manage the Gantt chart, I am finding this book fascinating.  

Thinking back to my work for the last 12 months, it took this book to realize why my productivity improvements have stalled.  Basically it is the small cross functional team model.  During this time my marketing and business team mates have took other jobs or retired, leaving an imbalance of skills.  In addition, other projects have ballooned such that the teams I am on are very large.  I have the perfect project that is starting August 1 to try some of these new concepts on.  There are many items that lend themselves to small batches and there is customer interface software to be developed that could, give the correct support and early adopters lend itself to the lean start up and scrum principles.  Now to get some buy in!

1 comment:

  1. I agree that if the stackholders are not updated that they would begin to be like the waterfall method.