4 workshops to destroy Silos: 1/4 – The Lightning Session

Wow, 4 months already! Quite a lot has happened since my last post on this blog:

  • There’s the pandemic which is not quite behind us yet and might never really be
  • We’ve lived a confinement and lots of people had to experience a whole new way of interacting for work and/or in their personal life
  • Companies around the world had to adapt to sudden high constraints really fast to be able to keep working and survive
  • This good boy here who is now working from home too 🐶

Yeah, 4 months is a lot and to be completely honest I’ve just been lazy and couldn’t get myself to write 🤷‍♂️ But hey, I’ve got stuff I wanted to talk to you about, so buckle your seatbelt and let’s go 😎

We’re definitely doing better!

It’s been a little bit more than a year now since I joined Vestiaire Collective as an Agile Coach. At the beginning there were 3 of us, then 2 (one of us switched to a Product Owner position), then 6 and now we’re looking for a seventh to join us. Much has changed since I arrived and I have to admit we are getting better at a lot of things like planning an iteration, managing dependencies, taking actions to achieve our goals, challenging status quo, looking for solutions…and there is one topic that has been (and still is) particularly challenging: create a better cooperation between the different departments of the company.

We’ve come a long way, from a classic Business Owner decides, Product specifies, IT implements to something a little more efficient. Here is what it looks like today:

  1. Business think about new stuff they want to add that are usually based on something our CEO wants
  2. Product Owners brainwash them with questions like “ok but what do you really need, what are you trying to solve, what are your KPIs?”
  3. Business & Product work together to define an alternative that they believe is stronger, targeting not several but 1 specific KPI
  4. POs create the PRD (Product Requirement Document) and start working on the backlog items
  5. POs present it to the development teams during refinement sessions, answer questions and together they update the backlog items as needed
  6. The developers split the items into technical tasks and estimate the complexity

That doesn’t look so bad right? We still have room for improvement but hey, it’s good to take a step back, look at the big picture and be able to say “Isn’t that nice!” 🤩

Now we’ve tried a few things to get there and I want to share a little feedback on 4 workshops we used, I’ve name them The Silos Breakers ⚒️

As always I don’t want to take too much of your time at once so I’ll split it in 4. Today we’re going to talk about the Lightning Session ⚡😯

Sorry, lightning what?

Great question! Lightning sessions are short talks (hence the name Lightning) during which Business Owners will present:

  • Which problem do we want to address and why is it so important
  • What are the KPIs and expected Key Results and by when
  • What are the solutions used by our competitors on this topic (if any)

It is also the moment for everyone to ask questions, give insights and challenge the initiative.

We took this idea directly from Google’s Lightning Talks. We had two objectives:

  1. Give a clear vision to all the people involved of the expected impacts
  2. Create alignement by involving everyone from the beginning

Pretty straightforward right? It really is that simple, not much more to say actually…although we did manage to do it wrong the first time so I’ll give you 2 advices that would have helped us be better at it.

Don’t prepare too much

Ok yeah, obviously you do have to collect a little bit of information (see list above) and make sure it’s clear. But don’t spend too much time on it. The important part is to explain what is the problem we want to solve and why. Prepare a few slides if you want (those would actually be great for KPIs and Key Results, maybe a few exemples of the impacts of the problem right now) but keep it to a minimum, the rest should just be a discussion, you know what the topic is and if you got this far I’m pretty sure you already spent quite some time analyzing it, you got this 😉

Don’t forget to keep it short!

That’s a big one because the balance is not always easy to find between avoiding a long discussion that is going too much into details on one hand and on the other hand taking enough time to go through questions and observations as needed. Google says the lightning talks should not exceed 10 to 15 minutes and it sounds great but from my point of view up to 30 minutes is still ok. I might not be the best reference as I do like to talk 🤷‍♂️ but if no one has any question something might be wrong. People didn’t get the point or do not care, regardless of which one it is as a facilitator make sure to push the participants a little bit, ask them what they think, if they have any reaction, inputs, doubts, anything.

We are still experiencing

We’ve done it a few times and as I said some were great, some not so much and some waaaaaaaay too long! But the results are still interesting and we managed to get people involved. Anyway, this is the first step, next workshop after that is the Event Storming 🌪️ But that’s for another post.

And what about you, do you have some kind of similar workshop to get everyone onboard on a new initiative? I’d really like to hear about it 😉

Did you like this article? Show it

Leave a comment, like on LinkedIn 👍 and share! Your help and feedback is important, it helps me learn and keep improving, thank you 😀

One thought on “4 workshops to destroy Silos: 1/4 – The Lightning Session

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: