Strengths Finder 2.0 – Gallup

Strengths Finder 2.0 – Gallup

My Personal Strengths @dancourse

> 1 Strategic
> 2 Ideation
> 3 Relator
> 4 Includer
> 5 Significance

The book, Strengths Finder 2.0

We all like a good personality quiz, c’mon you’ve been tempted by a few Quizzes on your Facebook profile and Buzzfeed right? You hope they may reveal some insight and reflect some personal characteristics back at you whilst making you accept you may be more Hufflepuff than Gryffindor.

Well the Strengths Finder 2.0 by Gallup is a professional version of horoscopes / Buzzfeed questionaries for your working life. It offers you insight into your strengths, personality traits and supplies action plans.

The main drive for this “Strengths only approach” is the theory that your Effort multiplied by your Strengths will give you bigger gains than working tirelessly on your weaknesses for minimal gain.

Strengths X Effort = Maximum results

So ignore the weaknesses, multiply your talent and boss it.

I’ve done DISC profiles before with Inge, and I’ve had nearly a similar benefit from this. You get reaffirmation of your values back to you, but with this, it comes with dropping the baggage of your weaknesses and only aiming to take action on your Strengths.

The book, Strengths Finder 2.0

“Baking in” SCD tools to our staff’s daily appetite

Recently I started scratching the surface of SCD here at Warwick University by reading a couple of online resources. Then last week I planned to and meet some of the core team. The chats we had introduced some really interesting new discussions and concepts to me around change programmes.

SCD is a massive change programme here at Warwick University and it stands for Simplify, Collaborate and Deliver. It’s the concept that we can reduce waste on our tasks, work with each other and deliver change rather than just talking about it.

Here are some initial theories I’ve been knocking about in my head since that first chat and I wanted to ruminate and share them. Please bear in mind they are all TOTALLY un-tested and un-researched. For me this write up is more a process of going with the raw thoughts and seeing what rises up from it.

The thoughts are all based on, how do you “Bake in” SCD to peoples’ daily working lives? I’m sure this programme is going to be very successful. However, in my mind the questions which rose to the top were, how do you make change programme in any institution more than just being a whim for staff, some training imposed from above or worse… a new expensive fad which fades! How do you “bake it in” so that when ANY staff member has a work problem there’s something in the SCD toolkit to call upon as naturally as picking up their phone?

btw. “Baking in” is a term to describe that there’s no extra input needed, you’ve got access to it easily. You’ve baked in cranberries to that pie so you don’t need to add any separately. It’s just there, baked in.

Herd immunity

A well known medical term and practice for immunising a population against disease is Herd Immunity. The theory and practice is, you don’t have to immunise everyone, but at least a certain percentage of the population to prevent widespread pandemic… Obviously I don’t think the staff are herd, or that there’s a disease, but the point is that the population is resilient even if not everyone is immunised. Is there cross over in the theory here where if enough of the staff are trained in dealing with Waste and Change (SCD) that as a University we are resilient?

How would we know when we’ve hit that point or herd immunity status, what KPI’s and monitoring would you introduce to know we are “immune”.

Trickle down SCD

In the same way that “Trickle down economics” doesn’t work, how do we make sure this programme doesn’t fail from “Trickle-down change”? How do we inspire, support and sell grass-roots change?

Is there a way to create equality of access and interest in SCD so it’s “Four Legs Good, Two Legs baaaaaad”?

How can we make a culture where everyone feels the same responsibility and expectation of each other to practice and learn from it?

How can we make make sure we use people’s skill and enthusiasm across a spectrum of the Payroll Grading, the Departments and Skill sets?

Culture eats process for breakfast

It just does.

So why would most people here care about LEAN and SCD? A lot of people just want to get on with their job. Would purposefully identifying enthusiastic people lead other people change their culture?

Include it as a DPR requisite

Well if it’s that freaking important, how do we back that up and make it more than an avoidable fad?

How do we make sure it doesn’t go away, could we include a couple of questions or tick boxes in staffs’ reviews to remind them if they’ve practised SCD this year or not?

People do like to learn and would enjoy SCD, however they also have their day jobs. How do we make it a common thing for everyone to muck in with? Could we attach it to merit pay? How could we highlight and celebrate people who have purposefully called on SCD to solve a problem?

Done!

Anyway, there’s my initial and wide-ranging thoughts on a new subject. No answers yet, just questions! Also, I really enjoyed these pictures from this blog, have a look

https://hakanforss.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/are-you-too-busy-to-improve/

are-you-too-busy-to-improve2 are-you-too-busy-to-innovate1

Agile Release Management Training.

Just a note of my training this afternoon.

We looked at Epics and Adventures and how they sit in the overall weekly Scrum planning, Backlog Grooming and Release planning.

We looked at Roles and Responsibilities within a FULL company setup, past and further than just the Scrum team.

I was told about a new role in an Agile software team which is solely to do with Documentation!

We looked at the challenges of change management and “Culture eats process for Breakfast” so people management is very important with change.

From this I have created our own Agile Project Initiation Document (to only approve high value projects), a Roles table for every project (who is what) and a Responsibility table (who does what)

An intro to using Trello

More and more University staff here are using Trello for sharing ideas and collaborating on projects.

So I’ve made a super quick intro video which I’d like to share on using Trello for Tracking bugs.

WMG IT - Using Trello
WMG IT – Using Trello

Please remember that Trello is a cloud service and we must abode by the University’s Cloud Usage Rules, http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/gov/informationsecurity/faqs/purchasingissues/cloud/

Being brave enough to change a process

Today we had to change a large process that wasn’t working.

The State.

A web development being built hasn’t got automated tests written for it and requires an office member to go through and MANUALLY test every item. Basically what Behat or DalekJS should be doing…

Anyway, the tests were all written in 1 document. “When I create a module, it should appear in a student’s list”, “When I select 3 modules, it calculates the student’s points correctly”, etc…

My process to solving a process.

Sometimes improving it can feel a bit daunting, however, as you talk through it with the team, record small sticking points and pains, then the you should start to see a bigger picture.
Always remember, you probably just need an evolution not a total revolution.

Steps…

  1. Remind the team, that they own this process so they will want to find solutions to save themselves time
  2. Talk through the whole process, record EVERY sticking point
  3. Look through the sticking points for the worst offenders
  4. Think of simple ideas to fix them
  5. Repeat 4 until happy 🙂
  6. Talk it through with all the team
  7. Go!
  8. Re-look at it again soon!

Our Biggest Problems were…

  • Testing document, who has the latest copy and where?
  • TheTesting document is really fiddly for comments
  • TheTesting document doesn’t really handle versions very well
  • It’s difficult to discuss the comments inside theTesting document
  • What should the developer work on next?

Some solutions…

  • Testing document has been moved to a Shared OneDrive for all the project Team.
  • Re-named testing document “Testing Document v1” to “Testing Document”, losing the version number indicated its “alive” state
  • All Passes are still recorded in the Testing document with the word “Pass”
  • All Fails are recorded int he Testing document as “Fail”, but no comment
  • All Fails with comments are created as tickets in a Trello board with the unique test id and a description of the fail
  • All Fails are re-ordered in the list by the Product Owner to show importance
  • A Trello list was created for the Product Owner to rack up no more than 5 tickets which the need the developer to work on next

Excellent Customer Service training

Today I attended some training on Excellent Customer Service provided by the University.

The reason I signed up was because some of the work I’ve taken over here for providing Moodle Gradebook support is not “so hot” right now. It feels like we’re failing on some really basic stuff, which is frustrating to both me and obviusly the staff. Also, by failing on the basics, it knocking effect of WOW things, like custom code of the gradebook.

To be fair, a lot of the stuff I have taken on is going pretty well and the tutors seem very happy with my Project Management and Custom coding. But, I still want to be doing better in the areas I’m presently weakest in, whether they are inherited problems or brand new.

The first things to learn was, “who is my customer?”, Because yes, my work affects the students too, I did wonder if they were my customer. However, nope. My work sits in a chain of support and my direct customer is the staff I deal with on a day to day basis.

Then we used a very useful model and excercise, the Kano Model. It splits and identifies different parts of your service from Basic, Satisfactory and WOW.

Kano_model_showing_transition_over_time

It turns out after doing the excercise, I identified loads of basics, but had trouble picking anything above that. Which is becuase, in a few ways the service isn’t even hitting the basics, so there’s no point offering WOWs. The analogy we were given was, “With a hotel, your basics are Bed, Clean room & Toilet. So if none of those basics are met, you wouldn’t be so overly happy with a WOW of champagne on arrival”.

So… to identify some of the basics within my control,

  1. Staff know when Moodle is going down for maintanence
  2. When marks are released, they stay released
  3. Course rollover will happen

So.. to identify some actions to help with those basics,

  1. Maintenance
  • Create a staff list / Sharepoint group for notifications
  • On receipt of Russell’s emails, share with the list

2. Marks released

  • Map the Moodle Show / Hide flow
  • Request a Show / Hide logger from Central
  • Dan Course to take on marks release for the rest of this term
  • Analyse the Service Now calls raised

3. Course rollover

  • Inform staff when this will happen

Women in Leadership, a simple write-up

I was fortunate enough to attend a Women in Leadership briefing at WMG today which was very interesting. It was a short, high-level run down from training two of our colleagues have attended.

From the outset, it’s clear there’s evidence showing some old ways of thinking and practices around! Some of them which will act to block or slow women gaining leadership roles. Also, some really classic actions of self promotion which generally men might naturally do, but women may find foreign.

The session wasn’t delivered from a “Man vs Woman” angle, but an expected person centric viewpoint of “Know Thyself”. In-fact, most of the tools or techniques seemed to be just slightly altered slants on a lot of training I’ve already been lucky to have myself with Inge at Polygot coaching or the Agile Bear training… Ironically though, the charts and diagrams were just in a more pastelly’ colour!

It’s important to acknowledge however that Women do face extra challenges in the workplace due to some pretty old draconian thinkings of those in leadership roles already. For example, Tim *unt two days before this briefing session said something pretty dum, (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/women-scientists-distract-men-fall-in-love-with-them-and-cry-when-criticised-says-nobel-prize-winner-10309125.html)

This however sparked a brilliantly British amusing response online, with women posting tweets of them crying into their lab goggles and showing off their flattering curves in a massive HASMAT suit.

Moving on from the old ways restrictive ways of thinking, another part of the training was around how you “expose” yourself! Focussing on evidence based research, it showed Exposure to the right people with your work rather than working hard is more likely to earn yourself a promotion. Here’s some tips that were shared,

Career success is not based on performance
* Performance 10%, Image 30%, Exposure 60%
* Strong authentic personal brand
* Represent your manger/tea, at meeting
* Find ways to be seen outside (committees)
* Be seen by the people who matter
* Contribute in meetings and conference calls
* Take opportunities for speaking
* Act with integrity at all times
* Be authentic – be assertive about what you believe is important
* Become a subject matter expert
* “Getting tech and people working”

Very interesting session indeed, , and glad I could attend and not feel like the male scapegoat in the room 🙂