Episode 212

212 - A Refinement Resolution

It's that time of year again. Time for everyone to make a resolution, or five. On our podcast, we're going to walk you through the ONE THING that everyone can get better at, as we did into your refinements and how to make them world-class. Have you improved your refinements recently, or are they stagnant? Let's discuss!

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Transcript
Bob:

Do you, sprechen

Bob:

only in the morning.

Josh:

That's

Bob:

oh, no,

Josh:

no, you don't recognize

Bob:

spread again.

Josh:

We are at the end of 21, heading into 22 is the end.

Josh:

Isn't it.

Josh:

And so many times people do new year's resolutions.

Josh:

Is that something you do?

Josh:

Like, do you do that personally?

Josh:

You know, I

Bob:

used to.

Bob:

Yeah, but I'm so.

Bob:

Oh, I'm so old that I could, I, you know, I stopped even making it up anymore.

Bob:

Right.

Bob:

It's like, you know, I, I'm not gonna yeah.

Josh:

Same, same here.

Josh:

Well actually the thing that got me is like, well, why, why should it, why should

Josh:

I strive to only change once per year?

Josh:

I know.

Josh:

Like, why don't I just.

Bob:

I had that.

Bob:

My thing is like dice.

Bob:

Like last year during the holidays, I started a diet and I lost some

Bob:

weight and stuff like that, but it's not under the banner of a resolution.

Bob:

It's just, it's just holy cow ate a lot.

Bob:

And I'm, you know, as you get older, I think everyone's heard.

Bob:

You get more entrenched in your ways?

Bob:

I, it gets harder and harder to change.

Bob:

That might be a medic cast, uhhh, episode sometime like how to relubricate yourself.

Bob:

So that you're more,

Josh:

I don't think we're going to name the episode that, yeah, that's not a, you

Josh:

know, we're not going to do that now, but

Bob:

yes, but to be more changed, friendly,

Josh:

right.

Josh:

I agree.

Josh:

We're going to talk about the thing that we think if every agile team

Josh:

did better in 22, at the end of the year, they would be super proud.

Josh:

The one thing, the one thing, the singular thing that we think every

Josh:

agile team has room to improve, and many teams have like a lot of

Bob:

room to improve.

Bob:

I would, I would buy that, you know, I think what the spring it on him.

Bob:

Oh, okay.

Bob:

Go back to

Josh:

waterfall.

Josh:

Surprise, surprise

Bob:

waterfall.

Bob:

Bob's back too hard.

Bob:

Get the hell out.

Bob:

Get out of it.

Bob:

He can't cook.

Bob:

Get out of the damn kitchen.

Bob:

Go, go back to the living room and start running the waterfall.

Josh:

But seriously, what

Bob:

assignment?

Bob:

Oh, you're going old school back.

Bob:

Well, no, I mean, you used to be backlog grooming, backlog, refinement.

Bob:

Josh and I were talking before the medic cast that I've, I've encountered, almost

Bob:

every client I've encountered for the last few years is it's not the only thing they

Bob:

struggle with, but they're not, they're not refining well, and it's not even that.

Bob:

I don't think people understand.

Bob:

The point of backlog refinement, like how powerful it can be.

Bob:

So this is a nice episode.

Bob:

Yeah.

Josh:

The frustrating thing I see is it's just indifference

Josh:

about the event and people.

Josh:

I feel like they have to be there,

Bob:

so they show up.

Bob:

So that's the first one.

Bob:

Actually, I actually I'll I'll even undercut what you just said, Josh.

Bob:

It's like, they don't even think it's necessary.

Bob:

Right.

Bob:

So, so if they do show up, they're mailing it in.

Bob:

Right.

Bob:

But a lot of teams, they look at the out of all of the events I

Bob:

think they look at and I don't think we're fine is one of the events.

Bob:

I forget the context of.

Bob:

In the scrum guide, but it's not one of the core events.

Bob:

It's like an option, not optional, but it's a recommended event and it's

Bob:

rec and you have to figure it out.

Bob:

So it's, it's highlighted as a really good idea.

Bob:

So a lot of people don't do it, or, or they do it at the last possible.

Bob:

You know, the latest irresponsible moment or they show up and

Bob:

then they do it really poorly.

Bob:

Like they don't even engage.

Bob:

Right.

Josh:

Have you ever been anywhere you felt like refinement was

Josh:

necessary or like, wasn't sorry, like, you know, he should abandoned

Bob:

this it's now I, you know what?

Bob:

I know that I'm going to change that if you're, and I mean, this,

Bob:

if you're kicking ass, If you are, if you're executing and this is what

Bob:

bugs me, people argue themselves.

Bob:

A lot of folks push back and they, oh, it's waste.

Bob:

It's, you know, we're wasting our time.

Bob:

Right.

Bob:

And it's not agile.

Bob:

You hear?

Bob:

I mean, God, I've had a dive for every argument I heard, but, but

Bob:

a lot of folks are like, like they're complaining about it, but.

Bob:

I've seen it.

Bob:

If you embrace it, you don't ultimately you'd like mature

Bob:

teams don't need to do it right.

Bob:

Or they need to do it very fair.

Bob:

It's it's super quick and super fast.

Bob:

If you need to do it at all, like for example, it would be like, no estimates.

Bob:

Remember we were in the Medicus we were, you were big on the NOAA

Bob:

or you were talking about Ryan.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

Ryan, Ryan Ripley.

Bob:

And you were re riffing on that at one point then no estimates.

Bob:

And to me, no estimates is not for the.

Bob:

You know, for a lazy team or for, you know, an immature team or, you know,

Bob:

a shoot team it's for a mature team.

Bob:

And yeah, I've seen, I've seen folks that actually they don't ever totally

Bob:

stop it, but it becomes, it becomes less frequent and less necessary.

Josh:

Yes.

Josh:

The closest I ever got to that was we had a total rockstar

Josh:

team and we were just rolling.

Josh:

That's what

Bob:

I'm doing and to right.

Josh:

And it was funny.

Josh:

I.

Josh:

Came back from lunch one day and we had a, we had a refinement and I

Josh:

said, do we need to do this anymore?

Josh:

And they all started laughing because they apparently all went to lunch together.

Josh:

And they felt like they didn't need to do it, but, but they were like, Josh will

Josh:

never let us not do this, but I'm like, but you guys are a different breed here

Josh:

and that's not necessary in the end.

Josh:

I said, okay, let's all think about it for a week and come back.

Josh:

And you guys decide what you think is right in the end.

Josh:

They valued it so much that it wasn't worth giving up because they

Josh:

knew was like, yeah, it's kind of annoying, but like, it drives us to

Josh:

get to where we need to be to win.

Josh:

So they still retained it even though they could've maybe gone without it.

Josh:

Yup.

Josh:

Okay.

Josh:

So number one, the number one hurdle is getting people to actually invest in it.

Josh:

What can listeners do out there?

Josh:

If, if they're stuck with the team that they've tried everything and

Josh:

they can't get them to invest, they don't show up or they do show

Josh:

up and they're on their laptop.

Josh:

They don't pay attention.

Josh:

They don't care.

Josh:

Like all will be painfully obvious.

Bob:

I mean, I would look at results you know, it's the end of the year and I'm

Bob:

getting Chris, I'm always crispy and, and, I'm like, You know, if you're driving the

Bob:

results, like we're at home on a mature team, then I don't care what you do.

Bob:

You can go tip two through the tulips.

Bob:

If you want, you can do whatever you want.

Bob:

If you're delivering great results as a team.

Bob:

If then, then do that.

Bob:

What, what really gets me going is, no one shows up, but we

Bob:

have crappy results, right?

Bob:

We're not hitting our sprinkles.

Bob:

We're having carry over stories up the wazoo.

Bob:

We're having serialized execution.

Bob:

we, you know, we're not, you know, we're being lazy and retrospectives, et cetera.

Bob:

There's no commitment.

Bob:

So to me, I don't think there's any silver bullet for that.

Bob:

I think, I think it goes back to like a bootcamp kind of.

Bob:

It's like I would kick a little butt as a coach and say, look, we haven't earned

Bob:

the right to ignore backlog refinement.

Bob:

Show me the results.

Bob:

Show me the outcomes and the results that we have as a team that give us the

Bob:

right to be, to show up where we are.

Bob:

And if it's there, that's fine.

Bob:

And if it's not there, then we ha we have to look in the mirror and we need,

Bob:

I think a little bit of a butt-kicking and I, I would run it as an experiment.

Bob:

So I think that, you know, the, the conversation would be that's, that's

Bob:

tried to really do it well and see if that makes a difference in our

Bob:

outcomes and our results in our work, in our behavior, et cetera.

Bob:

But I, I think you have to kick the, you know, kick the team's ass a little

Bob:

bit or something and will prescribe it.

Bob:

it's one of the reasons I like putting new teams through bootcamp kinds of things

Bob:

where there's not an option to opt out.

Bob:

Right, right.

Bob:

Like we're going to do.

Bob:

Right.

Bob:

We're you know, and we're going to try to do it well.

Bob:

So we're going to start with, this is how these are the activities or the,

Bob:

the things we're going to do to start.

Bob:

A lot of people don't want to confront the team.

Bob:

There's still a lot of runaway teams.

Bob:

I think there's more runaway teams nowadays, even than there used to be

Bob:

where teams think of, you know, agile as being to get out of jail, free

Bob:

card to do whatever the hell they are.

Bob:

I know, I'm sorry.

Bob:

I sound like a grumpy old man.

Bob:

I

Josh:

was thinking, and I do believe you're right, because I

Josh:

think agile has become, and we've talked about this a myriad of times.

Josh:

It's now mainstream.

Josh:

So everybody just kind of thinks they know what it is, but they're not totally

Josh:

sure because they've never really done it.

Josh:

Well, But harp is terribly distracted since got distracted.

Josh:

I

Bob:

just noticed that there's another, so Walter Raleigh in the

Bob:

room and he's, I think you stared

Josh:

at me there.

Josh:

Is there a two.

Josh:

I,

Bob:

I think his eyes are following me.

Josh:

Oh, listen there.

Josh:

So listeners, this is, oh

Bob:

my God.

Bob:

I can't help it.

Bob:

And sir, Walter is right over Josh, his head.

Bob:

So I'm like looking at Josh and now I'm looking at sir Walter at the same time,

Josh:

Bobby got to connect.

Josh:

We got to, I'm trying,

Bob:

I'll look at your chest.

Bob:

I'm

Josh:

looking at your chest.

Josh:

Oh, Okay.

Josh:

So, but you're not that sorry.

Josh:

It's fault listeners.

Josh:

I wish you could've seen his eyes while I was trying to talk about teams.

Bob:

And the strange thing was it's been there the whole time.

Bob:

I just, I just like looked up and I'm like, what the hell was that?

Josh:

yes.

Josh:

So I think because.

Josh:

Agile has become mainstream.

Josh:

Many people believe they know what it is.

Josh:

So they like wield that very broadly.

Josh:

And so that gives people this like belief that, oh, I know what it is.

Josh:

You don't, that's not like you're right.

Josh:

The number of times we've heard, that's not agile.

Josh:

It's pretty amazing.

Josh:

But, but that's, again, I agree and support with the approach you had

Josh:

of like, okay, like let's just stop and let's look at the scoreboard.

Josh:

Are we winning or are we losing right.

Josh:

And most likely they're losing.

Josh:

And then just say like, do you actually want to win?

Josh:

Or are you happy?

Josh:

Losing as a week.

Josh:

Exactly.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

And if you want to play the game, I think for beginning teams, there's

Bob:

this, if you want to play the game of agile, like trust your coach to some

Bob:

or trust, trust the people who have experienced or your scrum master or

Bob:

whatever, they may not be perfect, but they have, they have some experience.

Bob:

There's, you know, there's a lot of people that they, they

Bob:

think they know what agile is.

Bob:

I mean it's, what's convenient.

Bob:

I think they forget the rigor of it.

Bob:

Right?

Bob:

It's it's not it's actual dumped well is rigorous.

Bob:

I can't help.

Bob:

But think of it has, it has a game plan.

Bob:

It has a playbook right there.

Bob:

There are, there are things like backlog refinement.

Bob:

There's there's a reason it's not these pointy headed managers have a meeting

Bob:

that drives you crazy and over again.

Bob:

What is backlog refinement?

Bob:

It's about.

Bob:

Team the whole team collaborating around the backlog, the whole team,

Bob:

understanding what the stories are and what the themes are.

Bob:

The whole team providing input on size complexity, risk, the

Bob:

whole team via estimation.

Bob:

It's look ahead so that you can be more efficient.

Bob:

One of the things most recently I was, I was talking to a client.

Bob:

And, they're, they're living in the moment of a sprint and they're

Bob:

having a lot of waste downstream.

Bob:

Like they do something in sprint one.

Bob:

And it gets undone or has to be ripped out in sprint two or three.

Bob:

And I'm talking about refinement.

Bob:

One of the ways to help with that is to look, look ahead a little bit.

Bob:

And, and it's not, not just preventing.

Bob:

I think it would about like efficiency.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

It wasn't just look ahead like you can, you do spiking as part of

Bob:

refinements and spikes and research and prototypes and experimentation.

Bob:

But the other thing I was talking to them just a few days ago,

Bob:

I said, it's the efficiency.

Bob:

I said, the pro as a product owner, you want to listen to your team and

Bob:

encourage them to tell you, you know, what the, if you, if you change the

Bob:

order of these stores, I can do it better or we can do it better or

Bob:

faster, or we can reduce test time.

Bob:

Do you know what I'm saying?

Bob:

Like those efficiency discussions, that's how you actually accelerate.

Bob:

You can accelerate and stuff.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

The, the,

Josh:

some of the more common pushbacks that I've received to what I call

Josh:

just in time planning and that just in time planning leads to all of the.

Josh:

Symptomatic issues.

Josh:

Have you have a lot of architecture, rework, all these things, just

Josh:

like you end up with a ton of debt.

Josh:

So there's two things that end up getting in the way in people's brains.

Josh:

The first one is like, they don't have time.

Josh:

Yeah.

Josh:

Right.

Josh:

So it's, it's that circle of, we don't have time to plan,

Josh:

but we don't, we don't play.

Josh:

Right.

Josh:

It's just, it just becomes this vicious cycle.

Josh:

And then the second is the number of places that I've been.

Josh:

Where teams, I think from management or something, I'm not sure.

Josh:

Or maybe their history have this belief that if they're not typing

Josh:

code in the feature in that sprint, they're not adding value.

Josh:

Whereas you have to understand to build it.

Josh:

Well, there's a ton of work that has to be done so that when the

Josh:

time comes to put your fingers on the keys that you actually.

Josh:

Well, and accurately, and don't have a ton of rework, but there's so many places

Josh:

where if I'm not typing, I'm not doing my

Bob:

job.

Bob:

I think, you know, I agree with you, but it's, I, I've never seen the logic to it.

Bob:

I think there's this false understanding of like the

Bob:

efficiency of writing software.

Bob:

'cause, you know, I'm like, I was talking to this to another team and

Bob:

I was talking to them about this curve of, you know, what is the story

Bob:

maturity entering the spread, you, and I've talked about the percent of

Bob:

clarity you have around stories coming.

Bob:

Let's say that's part of refinement, a big part of it, the clarity

Bob:

we have around the story flow.

Bob:

And I was like, you know, there are some coaches that say you only need 20 to 30%.

Bob:

Pre sprint entry, then you get another 20, 30%, even 40% clarity

Bob:

by sprint planning, right?

Bob:

And then you get another 30% or whatever by execution.

Bob:

So that there's this curve of you're getting clarity on the stories,

Bob:

you know, sort of pre sprint planning, sprint planning is a big.

Bob:

Right.

Bob:

You're getting clarity there around it.

Bob:

And that's just in time.

Bob:

That's, that's not in advance that's during sprint planning

Bob:

the way some people do it.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

Right.

Bob:

And then it's, and then it's there during the execution.

Bob:

So my point is right.

Bob:

We're talking about like getting whatever it is, 20 to 30% clear.

Bob:

I'm not saying planning.

Bob:

It's not like exhaustive planning.

Bob:

It's it's very quick.

Bob:

I like the teams that I've seen that do refinement with.

Bob:

They do it.

Bob:

They do a quick, we have like eight, 10.

Bob:

One of my recommendations is like, do it Nick timer.

Bob:

Right?

Bob:

Have like an eight timer per story.

Bob:

Have quick, have quick estimation estimate.

Bob:

Multiple times have quick conversations, put it on the shelf.

Bob:

Talk about it the next time you can, you can get two or

Bob:

three sprints worth of stories.

Bob:

Refined.

Bob:

You know, I dunno in a month and then you're cruising then it's like, like you

Bob:

hit the, you hit, what is it in your car?

Bob:

Do you hit the I'm blanking the cruise, the cruise control.

Bob:

And you think you're welcome?

Josh:

And it's a reason it's not like a new test.

Bob:

Thank you for not busting my chops.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

But you hit cruise control and then, and then you're just, then you're in the

Bob:

moment and it's incredibly efficient.

Bob:

So, so it's it.

Bob:

I don't know.

Bob:

I'm not buying the fact that it, yeah, if you plan it out to a hundred

Bob:

percent clarity in every story and you beat it to death, or you do all

Bob:

this dysfunction, then, then yeah.

Bob:

Jettison that.

Bob:

But the

Josh:

biggest hurdle that I've seen teams stumble over, or

Josh:

like completely fake Facebook.

Josh:

With is you can't go from zero to a hundred speed-wise

Josh:

without having to accelerate.

Josh:

And the acceleration is the work.

Josh:

So you have to invest a lot early because you're going from zero backlog effect.

Josh:

And you want to get to like two or three sprints.

Bob:

So the upfront penalty is there and you're paying more up front.

Bob:

And I think folks are maybe reacting to that.

Bob:

I have a question for you.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

Teams are really struggling.

Bob:

You've seen them in, in the job or when you've been traveling around.

Bob:

I can.

Bob:

And I don't think I'm exaggerating.

Bob:

I look at teams, Carrie, I'll use Carrie over stories.

Bob:

They're committing to 10 and they're typically carrying over five.

Bob:

Per sprint, which is not a good thing, right.

Bob:

From a commit, execute perspective.

Bob:

I look at it and I look at their, the refinement and I see a direct correlation.

Bob:

Almost always.

Bob:

There's a direct, you can, you can tell it's not the only thing, but

Bob:

probably 80% of the time when I see teams struggling to me in my head, I

Bob:

may not even share it with them because they're not, they don't want to.

Bob:

But I'm like, you know, if you invest it in, in kick ass refinement,

Bob:

you would see totally different results during the execution.

Bob:

So it's like a pay me now pay me later.

Bob:

And everyone wants to pay later with the pain.

Bob:

I think it's

Josh:

the, you know, you don't want to.

Josh:

It's like investing, you know, you don't want to put the, you know,

Josh:

however many hundred bucks in a week or whatever your number is to do that.

Josh:

And then at the end you're like, oh shit.

Josh:

Why, why did I not have very

Bob:

good number for looking at stories in the bag?

Bob:

What do you think?

Bob:

Like sprints stories in the bag before you stop refining, you

Bob:

don't want to continually do as

Josh:

I've you healthy as.

Josh:

Two to three sprints kind of depends on the team.

Josh:

I aspire for three and I've had a lot of.

Josh:

Get there with work that is ready to be pulled into a sprint.

Bob:

So that's, that's my bench, somewhere in there, two to three

Bob:

sprints, like one is not enough.

Bob:

Right?

Bob:

There's some and five is too many.

Bob:

So there's some that there's some horizon.

Bob:

That's just, you're wasting your time on that horizon.

Bob:

And you're, you're just being silly on the other one.

Bob:

You're going to have things blow up.

Bob:

So it's like to right.

Bob:

But it doesn't.

Bob:

So let's say you have 10 stories.

Bob:

Velocity's not, so we're not talking.

Bob:

I get the upfront argument, but we're talking about what

Bob:

for one team, like 10 stories.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

Right.

Josh:

And, and you're working on 10 stories that are like

Josh:

two or three sprints away.

Josh:

So you'll have to do all 10 stories.

Josh:

You basically have to do like three stories a week to like, keep your pace.

Josh:

Exactly.

Bob:

It's not, it's not that arduous of investment.

Bob:

If you sort of stick with it, I get having them in the bag.

Bob:

I have 10 stories, maybe at eight 20 in the bag for two, but, but

Bob:

again, then, then I do five a week or something like that.

Bob:

The minute I catch up, then I start throttling.

Josh:

Yeah.

Josh:

And it's another one of those things.

Josh:

And this is just always works in my brain.

Josh:

The more you do something the better you get at it.

Josh:

So if you do it once a week, you're going to get really good.

Josh:

If you actually invest, you're going to get good at it.

Josh:

And you can probably do, you know, two or three stories in an hour

Bob:

easy.

Bob:

I'll see, I've seen with some of the techniques I recommend we

Bob:

should link a link to a couple of,

Josh:

well, I think you and I have different expectations for what a story.

Josh:

Being ready for sprint.

Bob:

So S probably, yeah.

Bob:

You think you're more robust than I am?

Bob:

Really?

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

Oh, okay.

Bob:

Yeah.

Josh:

All right.

Josh:

This is why I think fewer per hour,

Bob:

but I still think of velocity.

Bob:

I mean, I've seen this a team again, if you're not trying to get this,

Bob:

if your goal was not to beat it to death in one, one hour, right.

Bob:

Beat them into two to death.

Bob:

If you can otherwise punt them and get to sample.

Bob:

Yeah,

Josh:

because you're not because you don't have to do it the next sprint.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

So if you're doing that, I've seen teams like comfortably do five or six stories.

Bob:

So, so the sample rate is five to six, somewhere in the five to six.

Bob:

That's the velocity and look at.

Josh:

Yes.

Josh:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Josh:

I agree.

Josh:

So to me, a healthy cadence is like, you get three ready?

Josh:

You

Josh:

might

Bob:

look at others.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

I'm with

Josh:

you.

Josh:

Yeah.

Josh:

So to me, But I agree with you completely, whatever.

Josh:

I go into some someplace where somebody has called one of us in,

Josh:

because something's going wrong.

Josh:

You know, you always look at the backlog.

Josh:

Yep.

Josh:

And it's a, it's a mess.

Josh:

So what, what is a mess?

Josh:

A mess is they all kind of look the same.

Josh:

Yep.

Josh:

And so then you asked the question of the team, how many of these

Josh:

are ready for like the next.

Josh:

And they have no way of knowing.

Josh:

The only way they know is if somebody remembers, oh yeah, we've talked

Josh:

about that story like two weeks ago and it's good, but like no one knows.

Josh:

So I actually add two statuses to work items, whatever system that you use, where

Josh:

it's ready for refinement is a state.

Josh:

So like the product owner gets it to a spot and does work.

Josh:

It's like, oh, like here's, here's things we can look at.

Josh:

Refinement and you might get to a refinement and there's only one

Josh:

because that's all the product owner has been able to get done.

Josh:

And you just do that.

Josh:

Then we have a status that's ready for sprint.

Josh:

So that means we've done whatever work that we think

Josh:

is the right work to get done.

Josh:

That we, yes, these are actually things that could get pulled into

Josh:

a sprint whenever we are ready.

Josh:

So then it gets really easy to say, yeah, we average about 10

Josh:

points or whatever the number is.

Josh:

Do we have.

Josh:

Do we have three X that ready to go?

Josh:

If so, maybe we don't need to refine if we have 35, just because

Josh:

the way it worked out, let's

Bob:

take break this week.

Bob:

I do think there were too, when I, when I even last week when I was talking to these

Bob:

folks I coupled readiness or definition ready and definition of done or whatever.

Bob:

You're talking about readiness.

Bob:

I coupled those two concepts with refinement.

Bob:

Ready.

Bob:

Just the way you talk about it, right?

Bob:

You, you having some checklist or some clarity around what is ready?

Bob:

What is ready for refinement and what is ready for the sprint?

Bob:

What is ready for a spike could be something, right.

Bob:

It doesn't be a checklist, but then done.

Bob:

This is helping you with the estimation and helping you with the discussion,

Bob:

like keeping definition of done.

Bob:

I don't think you like tattoo it on everyone, but it's like you

Bob:

have it in the back of your mind.

Bob:

But when we're thinking about level of effort, when we're thinking about

Bob:

risk and complexity, we're thinking about getting this story done and

Bob:

being very crisp in that definition.

Bob:

So those two things are coupled, I think, right.

Bob:

That's why, when I was talking about discipline, I think in terms of a

Bob:

rigor, you know, you've rigorously defined a definition of ready.

Bob:

Some people don't like that and then definition down as well.

Josh:

My, my assumption is that step one, then everybody should do.

Josh:

Yeah.

Josh:

Starting in 2022 is make sure you have clear.

Josh:

Around what ready looks like in these various states so that

Josh:

everybody can look each other in the eye and say like, yep, we did it.

Josh:

Yeah.

Josh:

Or like, no, Bob, we haven't done that yet.

Josh:

Like let's, let's hit the pause button and talk about this thing.

Josh:

And then.

Josh:

Done really matters because that way everybody in their

Josh:

mind has the same destination

Bob:

in mind.

Bob:

Well, when you're say 13, or when you say five, what are you, what

Bob:

are you thinking of doing right.

Bob:

I don't know how you can, I don't know how you can estimate something

Bob:

if you don't know what done is.

Bob:

I don't care.

Bob:

It's even been written down, but if we don't have a clear idea of what, what

Bob:

encompasses getting a piece of work done?

Bob:

Yeah, I think.

Josh:

Welcome to our diversity and inclusion minute.

Bob:

Hey, so I have something there's a, in the last medic

Bob:

cast, I talked about a group.

Bob:

God, I can't remember.

Bob:

I think it's like the agile, disciples and a bunch of about eight African-American.

Bob:

Coaches and they wanted guidance to become CTCs certified team coach.

Josh:

Everybody listened to the last episode.

Josh:

Right?

Josh:

You did didn't you?

Josh:

Yeah, you did.

Josh:

So if you didn't, you're going to go do it right now.

Josh:

So I've

Bob:

reached, so we've been working with them.

Bob:

We set up slack I've sent them some information about mentoring and

Bob:

things and They're talking about setting up a, a meeting like a

Bob:

meetup group meeting in January.

Bob:

So I'll make sure we get it out to the Medi-Cal to let

Bob:

people know I'm going to speak.

Bob:

They've invited me to be the, like the they're trying to, if you remember, from

Bob:

the last episode, there's two things.

Bob:

What can we do to become team coaches?

Bob:

And we need mentoring and training around that, et cetera, can you help us?

Bob:

But also we want to give back to the community.

Bob:

So, so the meetup group, I think is there.

Bob:

What can we do to start creating some community on our own around that?

Bob:

I would like to link those folks to, to the Medi-Cal like Agilent

Bob:

color and things like that.

Bob:

We might not now, but we, we can do that, like a landing page or something that's

Bob:

related to links, et cetera, around that.

Bob:

Right.

Bob:

Because agile and colors there.

Bob:

I like it.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

We need to do something like that.

Bob:

So that's my, that's my update.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

And

Josh:

mine is.

Josh:

I'm ready to help.

Bob:

I need your, I need your help because I'm on the little they need.

Bob:

They're pulling on me quite a bit.

Bob:

So if we can include it, if we can pair on that, that would be wonderful.

Bob:

A hundred percent.

Bob:

All right.

Bob:

Back to the episode.

Bob:

Yup.

Bob:

Cool.

Bob:

Okay.

Bob:

The other thing I saw last week, or I heard from folks who said, there's an,

Bob:

I, I heard this like more than 10 years ago and I was just ranting about it.

Bob:

I ran into a client 10 more than a decade ago, and they were, there was like a

Bob:

one-shot estimate where you could, the minute you estimated you got one chance.

Bob:

I re I forget the company, but you had one chance to get your numbers that many.

Bob:

Had a number from the team and planning poker.

Bob:

You could never revisit it.

Bob:

Wow.

Bob:

It was like, it was.

Bob:

Just that was a fixed number.

Bob:

So for the, and you can never re estimate if something, if someone

Bob:

said, oh, we forgot about this.

Bob:

You could tell them, no, you, you had a five it's it's too late.

Bob:

And these, these folks were talking about the same thing.

Bob:

Refinement was a one-shot exercise to them.

Bob:

I think if they did.

Bob:

It was, we look at the story, we write the story, we have an estimate, we

Bob:

get th we, we average it or whatever.

Bob:

We get a number and then we move on.

Bob:

It's done.

Bob:

It's like a, we land a story.

Bob:

We never met a story that we couldn't land.

Bob:

We just don't do very many of them, but we landed.

Bob:

And I was like, my head blew up.

Bob:

I was like, I, I encourage people to ask.

Bob:

You know, like for one story, if it's a complex story estimate 10 times, right.

Bob:

Over, over a period of meetings or whatever, and I'm like, the

Bob:

estimates can drive the decision.

Bob:

If it's a trivial story estimate one or once or twice, that's fine,

Bob:

but I'm not stuck on like the one.

Bob:

And what they were saying is, you know, there's this, you could hear fiddly

Bob:

oppression, like we have to get it.

Bob:

Right.

Bob:

Right.

Bob:

So it was driving like story perfectionism, like the story, right.

Bob:

Because there's only one shot to get to the waterfall.

Bob:

Refinement.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

It was weird.

Bob:

So I would medic Hester's the point is if you, for falling into, if you're

Bob:

limiting estimates, look at estimated.

Bob:

As more of a conversation driving activity than a number generation activity.

Bob:

And, and if it requires, if the story requires it, like in backlog

Bob:

refinement, I'll do a timer for like a story for maybe five to seven minutes.

Bob:

In five to seven minutes, we could ask that we could do planning poker

Bob:

estimation two or three times just in one refinement just to drive out some

Bob:

of the nuance so that, and we could do.

Bob:

Across to meetings.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

And, and I, I want to hear you tell me if you think know the crap.

Josh:

Yes, I do.

Josh:

But not on this topic.

Josh:

Exactly.

Josh:

No, I mean, I, I, I agree 100% on all of those things and a likely

Josh:

struggle that you have is the team.

Josh:

Is it willing to engage in that?

Josh:

Yep.

Josh:

Right?

Josh:

So that goes back to the bootcamp of like, we are losing every

Josh:

time we do you like losing or not like, do you actually want to win?

Josh:

So if you want to win, here are the things we need to do and we need

Josh:

you to engage and it will be hard.

Josh:

You will be required to push people and they might be annoyed at you

Josh:

pushing, but it's that that's coaching.

Josh:

Yup.

Josh:

That that's what coaching is coaching.

Josh:

Isn't just saying like, Hey, we're going to do it my way.

Josh:

And then when people push back, you.

Josh:

Turn a blind eye.

Josh:

No, that's where you do the hard work of saying, okay, I hear you.

Josh:

But remember, this is what we're trying for three sprints

Josh:

or whatever the number is.

Josh:

And like, we're going to engage.

Josh:

I need to be a part of this and we're off and running.

Josh:

And then what happens is the team starts doing it for you, but they

Josh:

don't start doing it for you.

Josh:

If you don't set the example and the expectation, do you think we have

Bob:

a.

Bob:

You just inspired me another thing that I'm sensing, maybe

Bob:

this is another Medi-Cal is I think coaches are getting softer.

Bob:

Yes.

Josh:

That's already in my brain of another one

Bob:

over time.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

And, and I'm not making this, I think coaches for some,

Bob:

maybe for a variety of reasons.

Bob:

Are getting softer.

Bob:

I

Josh:

think agile coaching and scrum mastering has become diluted.

Josh:

And I believe that's an issue, but that is a whole nother tight.

Josh:

Yeah, yeah.

Josh:

Yeah.

Josh:

Cause I thought about bringing that up.

Josh:

Like, boy, we'll get really distracted.

Josh:

We go down that path,

Bob:

but no, no, but that's, that's a worthy other episode,

Josh:

which will be a good follow-up to this because there's, that's going to

Josh:

take tough love and you're going to do to tail off as a coach to make this happen.

Josh:

There's a reason that's not happening.

Josh:

Right.

Josh:

And as a coach, It's your responsibility to make this happen.

Josh:

So you need to look at yourself and say, holy crap, I've not been doing

Josh:

my job to help this get better.

Josh:

So like, what do I need to do?

Josh:

That's that resolution that you need to make and not a new year's, but there's

Josh:

a resolution within like your heart and soul that you have to make this.

Josh:

I'm going to do this and I'm going to make it happen.

Bob:

I agree.

Bob:

I have a really nice blog post.

Bob:

I think just one I have multiples, but one is coming to mind like patterns

Bob:

for successful backlog refinement.

Bob:

I'll I'll shoot that to you.

Bob:

And we could include it with this episode.

Bob:

How did we land this?

Bob:

Do you any more from your point of view?

Bob:

I feel that

Josh:

okay.

Josh:

There, there's a ton of nuance that we'll get into the episode

Josh:

about coaching getting soft.

Josh:

Yeah.

Josh:

On the execution and dealing with people that don't want to engage,

Josh:

like we can do episodes about that.

Josh:

I am sure.

Josh:

But we try to give you the framework of just look in the mirror and

Josh:

are you doing these things?

Josh:

And if not, you need to, and here are some tips and tricks

Josh:

on how to make that a reality.

Josh:

Next episode will be more tactical on like, okay, you're in refinements and

Josh:

three of your engineers don't engage.

Bob:

What do you do?

Bob:

So, yeah.

Bob:

Cool.

Bob:

So from beautiful downtown North Carolina, I'm Bob Gale and

Bob:

I'm Josh Anderson shake and take care of y'all by Walter..