Sharing Agile Best Practices

By: CriteoLabs / 22 Aug 2018

The Criteo Agile Practitioners, or CAP for short, are a group of people passionate about bringing more efficiency to their teams. Our goal is to provide a space where engineers can share best practices and brainstorm about improving their teams’ agility.

The community meets regularly and we have quite a few guests at each session, but we’ve been searching for a way to reach a larger audience with some of our ideas. The solution is simple and it was used before in Criteo. When you want to get a message across, there’s nothing like a captive audience. That’s why we decided to use indoor advertising (which is just an industry euphemism for ads in restrooms).

We therefore started writing short articles on the best practices we wanted to spread, printing them out and hanging them in the restrooms of our offices. We called this initiative THOT (for Team Health On the Toilet and also the Egyptian god of writing and science!)

Here’s an example of such an article that we wrote about daily stand-ups:


Get up, Stand up

Keen Kate is in a hurry. She does not want to be late for  her morning stand-up. She’s eager to share her progress with her team, there may be croissants and it’s Friday puppy stand-up. Grumpy Greg hates the stand-up. Such a waste of time for everyone. He’s not interested in what’s being discussed and his feet start to hurt after half an hour. His time would be better used just coding.

 

When done right, the daily stand-up can be a useful tool in synchronizing a team, but it can also easily become a burden. Some common complains we hear about the daily stand-up:

It’s too long

  • Time it. Use something discrete, like a clepsydra and avoid interrupting the speaker in the middle of the sentence.
  • Keep it concise. Stand-up should answer these 3 questions: What did I do yesterday? What will I do todayWhat blocks me? Speaker is deviating?…Time-out him. Agree to discuss it after stand-up with the interested persons
  • Prepare it. Write down your post-its beforehand or make a small note of the answer for the 3 key questions and / or update your JIRA board.

 

Everyone is speaking. It’s chaos.  

  • Take turns.Use poker planning cards, or puppy cards to decide on the order of speakers or simply pass a token, like a talking stick or an inflatable speaking parrot. 
  • Be respectful. Listen to the person speaking and wait for your turn. 

 

It’s booooring 

  • Make it fun.Hangman is a good incentive of keeping your tasks concise and a great source of croissants (a person not advancing a post-it during the stand-up gets a line added in his hangman. When the hangman is complete she has to bring croissants for the team). 
  • Have a physical board, use funny avatars, colored post-its, stamp tickets when done…just be creative.

 

I don’t care about half of the stuff discussed  

  • Are you sharing the same mission as the speaker?
    • Then maybe you should care.
    • If the team has several missions, consider splitting the stand-up in smaller ones.
  • Do not get into implementation detailsof your current task. Invite the persons interested in the topic to join you after for a coffee and provide them with the details.

 


 

If you’d like to use this article for indoor advertising too, you can download a printable version here.

 


Written by :

Aurel Ghioca
Staff Development Lead

  • CriteoLabs

    Our lovely Community Manager / Event Manager is updating you about what's happening at Criteo Labs.


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