By October 2023, «SwissQ | part of Xebia» will become «Xebia Switzerland».

Agile Practices

Agile Practices

In our daily work as agile coaches we are using a multitude of different agile practices, methods and tools to address different situations or challenges. We use them in team development, facilitation, for fostering collaboration and communication, in agile product development, and in the context of agile transformations. We offer these practices in different formats: as trainings, workshops, or as part of our agile coaching assignments. We are happy to serve you and your teams providing ideas and specific proposals to improve collaboration and effectiveness.

The following practices are a short extract out of our practice toolbox:

Our services include:

  • Value Stream Analysis
  • Lean Coffee
  • Lego Serious Play
  • Planning Poker
  • Priority Poker
  • Design Thinking

Value Stream Analysis

Agile product development is designed to continuously deliver value to the customer. Improving time to market is one of the major goals in agile transformations. This is achieved by considering the whole flow from customer need to value delivery. However, many organisations are organised around functional silos, which often require handovers and result in waiting time and delays. To overcome this problem the development process can be organised around the value stream.

This results in:

  • Fewer handoffs, faster value delivery
  • Enhanced alignment between customer / business and product development
  • Optimisation of the system as a whole
  • The first step to organise around value, is the value stream analysis. Value stream analysis provides insights on how customer value is created across organisational hierarchies and what systems are required to support the value stream. It also helps identify which people or teams are needed to create the product or solution. Based on the identified value streams, additional value stream analysis may be performed to evaluate the improvement potentials in the value stream – delays, hand-offs, non-value adding work, etc. – helping to improve time to market and increase value delivered.

Our services include:

Starting with a value stream analysis workshop we help you

  • identify the value streams in your organisation
  • identify the supporting systems to deliver the value
  • identify the development teams to develop these systems
  • define the (virtual) solution development team to ideally support value creation in the value stream
  • analyse the value stream to identify improvement potentials

Lego Serious Play

LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP) is a facilitated process, that combines the advantages of the playful modelling of ideas using Lego bricks, with “serious” topics of the business world. LSP is meant to promote new ideas, enhance communication and speed up problem solving. In LSP workshops participants define strategies, systems or solution concepts under the guidance of a LSP facilitator. Advantages of LSP are:

  • Promote creativity and innovation by modelling using your hands
  • Improve communication by means of Lego models
  • Inclusion of the know-how and experiences of all the participants of a LSP workshop
  • Enhance common understanding of the topics elaborated

Our services include:

  • Planning and conducting of LSP workshops

Planning Poker

Planning Poker – Anybody here, who wants to do an estimation?

Image Poker

Planning Poker (also known as Scrum Poker, as it originates from Scrum) is a gamified technique to find a consensus in the estimation effort for an usually incremental software development.

In planning poker the team members are playing numbered cards face-down on the table. Due to this hidden first round an unbiased opinion from everyone involved is given. Once the cards are revealed the highest and lowest estimate will be discussed. This helps to develop a better understanding of the User Story within the team and also a knowledge transfer is being triggered. If the group is not able to find a consensus playing a few rounds of planning poker, the item should be deferred and the effort estimation of the next user story should be started.

To be able to play you need a set of cards. Usually the numbers on the cards are showing the Fibonacci sequence (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21). The numbers can either symbolize the effort or the complexity of a user story. Also special cards like a “coffee cup” to call for a break, or joker to show “I don’t have enough information for an estimation” or “This user story is way to huge or complex” are part of the deck and can be played at any time.

Each team member needs a set of cards. The goal is to have an effort estimation for each user story which is agreed on by all team members. Another goal is to have a common understanding of the User Stories.

Priority Poker

Tired of ever-changing priorities?

In many projects, both in agile and traditional development environments, correct prioritisation is key. Due to diverging interests and influences among the parties involved, establishing a consensus can sometimes be difficult, if not impossible.

Moreover, the known methods of setting priorities do not always accommodate the views and opinions of all relevant stakeholders, which can lead to misconceptions and delays in development. Endless discussions about priorities become a continuous effort and prioritisations once thought well established are often corrected on a regular/daily basis.

Do these issues sound familiar to you? With Priority Poker we would like to present you with a solution that may solve many of these problems, or not even let them occur at all. Motivated by a playful approach, experts from different fields and disciplines meet in a Priority Poker session. Participants of such a session ideally consist of all stakeholders and otherwise involved or affected people/parties. Through “gambling” with priorities, the attention and motivation of the participants is easily evoked.

The rules are simple (view details in the document „Introduction and Example“) and are related to the widely known Planning Poker.

Within a few rounds of estimation, a priority sequence based on the principle of relative weighting is established. This is supported by a clear graduation of the factors used:

Priority Poker

The simple rules facilitate a solution-oriented discussion about what is really important.

The priorities established through relations are evolving by taking into account the opinions and views of every stakeholder. The social component promises a joint implementation of the elaborated strategy and leads to successful prioritisations.