Viral Creativity: Source of Fun and Growing Teams

Growing a team and developing people is a primary agile coach duty. Such of thing ain't happen easy. Take time and lots of actions to archive it. The main issue could be being part of a company that don't have the agile team culture and mindsets, so when you fight against bad mindsets you must be very persistent and make the right moves to make things happens.

Agile practices from scrum and XP will help you BUT sometimes they are not enough, dealing with different people culture indeed its a big challenge. I don't see you promoting change only by changing the practices or the tools, I do see the changing slowly happening when you evolve people and let they be part of the change.

Change is something people said they want but often they don't want do it. I talk by my self when I said that, I known how something are important and even that sometimes I don't do it, because I really don't care deep inside ? NO, because to follow agile practices and culture you must have discipline and believe this is hard. It's hard because discipline is something related with continuous doing, IMHO there is no way to grow an agile team without discipline.


There is no change without Chaos


Going from one status quo to another one means you gonna face chaos no matter you want or not it will happen. Besides changing the system step by step or applying a shock therapy people have different reactions on changes some better others wost.


Some people are really innovators and early adopters this guys you don't need focus too much, you need help the early majority and the late majority to join the change. There are several things that you can do from small acts to big changes like sending mails with articles and videos about your changing target or even inviting people to go to seminars, webinars and events. Others folks are data driven , they need see number and cases and industry data proofing that you're on the right stop.

IMHO making people see value on your change target is one of the best ways to evolve people and let they help you performing the change that you want. This is hard, people have different notions of value, because people have different styles or believes.

This generate resistance, you can fight resistance only with more fights, this often make people struggle and cousins or not this could lead to sabotage.

This is also teched in the Switch book by Health brothers. You promote change by changing the mindsets, the book shows that sometimes you just need change whats work and get stick to that, we often link change to big things but the book shows how small things could driven your change by simple acts.

There are several cases in the book how change small mindsets lead us to bigger changes, in one particular case they show how focusing in the right spot make the difference, for instance rather than educate people how diseases works and how the should approach they get other way getting really piratical teaching womans how to cook and cook effectively. This get the root cause of the diseases and it works  not only because they change they cooking mindsets but because they get that and spread to the village, in other words, plant many seeds.

Viral spread in one crucial aspect of the right spot on change, if it works must be viral. Perhaps you're wondering whats the relation of change and growing team? In order to grow a team you must change people view of how teams are important and  how the teams should approach technical excellence and software development.








 Growing a team though changing mindsets


People care about social aspects, because they want feel part of something, indeed society driven people behavior for decades pointing whats good and acceptable or not. This leads us to social proof, a powerful factoring to driven change.

We are living more and more social contexts, social media(twitter, facebook, linkedIN, slideshare,bloggers, etc.. are sources of that) the success of the social media is just one more raw proof of the social proof influence. 

When you empower people and let they use they're creativity's on the bright spot, magical things happens, what do you want, often is:
  1. Grow a team
  2. Create Technical Excellence Trough Testing, Refactoring and Pair Programming
  3. Open and Collaborative working environment trough Retrospectives
  4. Deliver value to your customer and build strong relationships  
On the right side you see some agile techniques to archive the goals you shouldn't stuck only with that ones. That ones are suggestions BUT depends on your environments to see watch works or not. Money may really work against you if used in the sense of reward. (Look the video bellow)


BUT money could be interesting in the sense of caring and sharing, let me share some piratical experience that I made some time ago and what are the results now.

My goal was improve technical excellence and help to grow a team, so I din't gave a whole training teaching people how much technical excellence are important and how dramatically have a team will be a game chaining attitude. SO I decided change people mindsets, basically I ands my team create a set of rules  to enforce technical excellence like caring about tests and build, etc. The main idea was if you broke the rule you pay some symbolical tax like R$ 1.00.  The deal was in the end of some sprints we gonna get the money to pay beers and food for the team in the retrospective.

People need a symbol, remember Batman and V for vendetta movies. SO I just bought a little sheep bank to put the money inside, was around R$ 70.00 now I see how much it worth :D AND I just let the sheep why the team, what happens ?



People start looking this as something fun, like a sheep being a technical guardian, so people look this not as a finger point funny way but indeed as something funny but yet serious.  People start putting Gambettinha(The sheep has a name for God sake :D) in they're table to show that they are doing code suspicious code or even to make fun with other guys when they feel that folks are doing workarounds stead off good code. 

One day I get really surprised when one of my team mate create a twitter account to Gambettinha. So the thing become viral, Gambettinha tweets to folks when they broke the rules and folks are more and more following the rules, in the end of the day, I not sure if I will get the some engagement of the team in technical matters with out the sheep.


What happens ? The Customer begin care and talk about technical excellence even when they don't realize they are doing that. We really protected my company and customer information not tweeting names and information that can create damage to people or organization. Folks really enjoy Gambettinha and they really change even if they don't realize it. I'm not telling that the sheep driven the technical excellence BUT I do telling that help team grow as a team and she delivered fun and help a lot to create care about code.  

After some time, things get bigger than I could possible tough. This spread through projects inside my company and folks slowly start realizing how fun and cool CODE could be!


This is just a proof how much creativity grows bigger and evolve people on changing mindsets. Maybe my company end up with a zoo of *tinnhas BUT what really matters Its see people engaged, happy, having fun and promoting team culture and caring about code and technical excellence. Things get more and more viral, this is nothing BUT a good viral, remember to spread the good stuff(putting several seeds). 

Cheers,
Diego Pacheco

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