Piret Brett: Agile explained through building Sand Castles

15 nov. 19
The 6 pillars of Management 3.0

I wanted to showcase Piret in Agile&Innovation People series of inspirational articles, because we have so many things in common: (too) many hats (& roles), both Corporate & entrepreneurial, interesting learning journeys in management roles and, of course, Management 3.0. Piret will soon be my mentor for my Management 3.0 workshop experience in Tallinn and I really look forward to bring back home new skills and ideas for the local innovation community.

Who is Piret? What would you like your audience know about you? What about your clients?

Most of us do have more than one role to fill out. So do I!

On my private life I am mother of three daughters; I am also dog lover  (I have 4 year old Airedalise terrier) and I absolutely adore all kind of dog competitions. With my terrier we compete in dog agility, obedience and go to dog shows in different countries.

I am also freelance graphic designer and Management 3.0 certified trainer. Management 3.0 I discovered thanks to my professional career: for years I have been manager for many great IT teams. All of them passionate about their jobs and driven by curiosity and mission.

Piret Brett

If you were to describe Agile to a 3 year old or to your grandmother, how would you do it?

Let’s imagine you and 3 friends of yours want to build a sand-castle. And you want this castle to make other kids to say: wow! Hence first thing what you do is you dream with your friends about how this castle could possibly look alike. And you also think of what parts this castle MUST have. In example you and your friends agree that one tower is must to have (two is better and three is absolutely cool ); you also discuss that castle must have one door (however two will make it cooler!); and that you want to have two windows (however four would be kick-ass); stables would be nice to have;  you also dream that garden with nice trees would be nice. And you discuss the possible size of the castle.

You may find it useful to draw on the paper what you have imagined. It is called “spike”. It is helpful for team members to double check that we all have more-less similar understanding what kind of castle we gonna build. And besides- you can use that spike to show to other kids to get the reactions (remember you wanted them to say: wow!).

And already in parallel you and your friends can start building that castle. I am sure that at the beginning you will have lots of things to learn. As this will be very first time you are building it from the sand. In example you will find out that sand does not hold together… so your castle-team needs to come up with solutions. Perhaps some water is needed? Or/and maybe to mix sand with some clay so it will be more stable? So you may need to try several ways of. At some point you will have some first castle built. And it does not look at all how you imagined and discussed. But still you already do have something. You may want to show it to other kids (lets call them customers)- just to show you are progressing.

But by now you are already very familiar with the building material- sand. You know how to make it hold together and you have also learned many building-tricks.  Hence when you start growing your castle and adding parts it starts looking more and more alike you and your friends have imagined.

And then rain comes… and part of your hard work is ruined. Damn, you did not expect that! However, you want this castle to be standing there latest next day afternoon. Hence you need to figure out how to speed up. But then one more unexpected event hits you:  mother of your friend tells him to come home and do his schoolwork. Hence it will be now one less team member building this castle.  And you realise that you will not have time to do all nice stuff you dreamed. You will have time for parts that are MUST.

Your team is not a quitter! You all work hard. And voila- next afternoon you have castle standing! Not exactly the one you really wanted. But it is castle. Other kids (customers) say it is already sort of cool. You are sooo proud of.  

So shortly:  agile is first of all about team-work, having great vision, being engaged, proud and happy. It is courage to try out new things and willingness to learn. It is about not giving up and being ready to adopt when things happen (when rain comes, or team-mate is forced to leave the playground).

 Was there a trigger to send you on this journey related to Agile? How did you get to be here?

Years ago together with colleagues from the teams we decided we are so done with waterfallish approach. I saw lots of frustration within IT teams and as well on business side. Hence change was a must! We adopted Agile mindset, created cross-functional teams, started using Scrum and many other great practices.
When teams go Agile, management must adopt new practices too! I was so happy to discover Jürgen Appelo and his Management 3.0.  

Do you have a recent or important project that you want to showcase?

Together with some great fellows from Estonia we have just founded community for managers. Community where people passionate about modern style of management and leadership can share and learn.

Why does Agile fail? Are there any caveats, advice, tips or tools you might want to share for people that are just starting this bumpy road?

To me Agile is a lot about self-organising. And self-organising is hard. It is not walk in the park. And management plays most important role in Agile succeeding.

If you were to be a Lego character, how would you look like?

I would be simple yellow block! Due to those are so multi-functional. Using just a simple blocks one can create so many cool and different things.

Courtesy Flickr.com https://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinpoulton/

If there is anything else you want to add, please feel free.

I am convinced that future belongs to the Teal-companies (if you do not know what Teal-company means, I suggest you read book “Reinventing organisations” by Frederic Laloux).

All rights Atelierul de Idei Train-IC SRL, CUI 40741119
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