by: The CI&T Team
10 things you should know from our learnings by participating in Scrum Fest Osaka 2020
Scrum Fest Osaka is an annual conference where people gather to share and learn about Agile and Scrum practices, experiences, and passions. The event is open to anyone who is interested in Agile and Scrum practices, from scrum beginners to experts, from user companies to developers. It was their second time holding this conference, and it was also the second time for CI&T to join as a speaker (Links to conference reports of 2019 vol.1, vol.2, and vol.3). What was special about the event this year was that it was held online which allowed 19 local communities to be invited and the number of sessions expanded to about 100 this year, compared to about 25 sessions last year.
2 Speakers Chosen from CI&T
This year CI&T had two Agile experts to talk in sessions;
・Rose Hashinaga - Operation Manager at CI&T
・Hiroaki Kawabuchi (Bucci) - Customer Success Leader, Agile Japan Conference Committee member
Co-presenter: Ayana Chandler, Rochelle Kopp
Also, you can find other session slides from a participant’s blog here.
Check out our 10 key learnings from Scrum Fest Osaka 2020 that you also should know!
1. Listen to different points of view
We often feel uncomfortable when our opinions do not get agreed by others or when your team members do not proceed with projects the way you think it is right. Some people would try to control and command team members to make them proceed with things in their ways. But isn’t it time-consuming? It sure diminishes your team’s motivation as well. Also, this is certainly not a management model in the digital era.
If you want to transform to be an Agile organization, you need “collaborations” where anyone shares opinions and solves problems together. To work as a team, understanding the importance of diversity of thoughts is necessary, and a multidisciplinary team will surely help you to provide better products/services for the end consumer.
It is important, especially for leaders, to have an open mind to accept member’s opinions and take a risk of failures with the team, instead of telling them what to do. However, it does not mean that you should accept everything suggested when it goes astray. You should take enough time and explain with solid reasons until the person understands and, importantly, continues to work with motivation.
Here is a given suggestion to lead the team while keeping the autonomy of the team: give feedback to the result, and not to the processes.
2. Respect diversity
This is related to the topic above, and understanding other cultures is just as difficult and important as accepting the opinions of others. In the era of globalization, we often face cultural differences not only at work but also in our daily lives. To make it clear, “cultural difference” here is not just seen between different countries, it could happen between any people or organizations since we all have different backgrounds and beliefs.
Here, we need to realize the benefits of actively embracing diversity within the company. Having multicultural employees brings more ideas and opinions to a team. Also, we cannot be experts in all fields but it is possible to build multidisciplinary teams gathering people that have different experiences and professions to provide the quality of solutions. That helps not only to satisfy our clients but also to foster a company to grow fast by giving a stock of ideas and solutions. Committing to diversity and inclusion as a company opens consumers’ hearts and makes them feel closer to the company. There is no worthless talent or opinions, so why don’t we include them and take in more ideas?
“Every time I run into cultural barriers with team members or clients, I seek ways to solve them and this seems like a never-ending challenge, especially for a company like CI&T which has cross-cultural employees and aims to transform ourselves and our clients’ cultures. What I found in my journey is the importance of communication, understanding others, and trusted relationships, and the scrum framework helped me build them with my team members. I am very proud of CI&T Japan has been successfully working on this as a team, and I am looking forward to seeing more in the future!”
Hiroaki Kawabichi, Customer Success Leader at CI&T Japan
3. Feedbacks are gifts
Feedbacks are gifts because they provide you tools to improve your performance next time for free. In the Agile process, we get feedback from PO or user companies at the end of every sprint, and it sometimes could be painful when they did not like the result.
However, instead of feeling fearful of this event, you should use this opportunity as a treasure hunt. Different people have different perspectives, as we mentioned above, and those arguments did not come out without working with that client. Even if their opinion did not make sense to you, it could transform to be a great solution in the future. Do not throw it away just because it looks irrelevant, keep it, and find out how your team can make it shine like a treasure.
4. Fast Learning: see failures as knowledge
In many cases, people tend to see failures as just failures. It is very easy to just blame someone or feel down after finding them out.
However, there are so many things we can learn from failures, and we must take advantage of them. Just by analyzing the reason why it failed and discussing to seek better solutions/improvements to succeed next time, the team can gain so much to move on to the next level. It also means that you will never fail again in the same situation. Failures are the key to continuous improvement! Taking credits from them is the equation to keep growing and moving fast.
5. Servant leadership (Supportive leadership)
A team requires members' skills and ideas to maximize their opportunities to improve and succeed. In order to do so, the environment where people can casually talk about their thoughts and ideas to team members is necessary. To make this kind of environment, we need to work building trusted relationships with all the team members.
Servant leadership, which is showing leadership in a supportive manner, is gold here. When working on a project, a supportive leader works with the team. After explaining the guidelines on how to achieve a goal, she or he proceeds by listening to members’ suggestions and recommendations, providing necessary resources and feedback when needed. Showing respect to the team takes out the wall against members and fosters good relationships. An open team is capable of generating a number of ideas with lively discussions and trying spirit.
6. Make the purpose and the goal clear
During the discussion, we noticed some people raised this as a problem. There are some cases when leaders just give them a goal without telling the purpose of projects. Without knowing the purpose, how can one keep motivated on that project? How do we align as a team and work in the same direction?
Working as a team, we believe that the purpose is more important than the goal. To move fast, the first step is to share the scope and be understood by members. We can only be fast when all team members are working in the same direction together.
7. Collaborative leadership
When the team was built for a project, it should take time for all the members to draw their visions and share with the rest of the team. In this way, members can understand others' idealistic views before working together. Also, by knowing it, the team can seek a way to maximize members’ ideals which maintains their motivation in high and generates a better result.
At CI&T, all the team members are expected to join a discussion to build the strategy together and leaders would support to make sure the team is keeping the right track and everyone is happy. Leaders are not for making decisions or command and control, but for collaborating and supporting the team to bring their best performance.
8. Fair evaluation is an accelerator
In any work environment, there is always a “give and take” situation. Occasionally, you might become both giver and taker but it is almost impossible for everyone to be 50/50 on each role. Some people tend to go for the giver side compared to the others, and the opposite happens as well. You must show your appreciation when someone gives something to you, and be aware that most of the work is harder than it looks.
Given that, making a fair evaluation for everyone’s work becomes complicated. It is important, especially for leaders, to observe all the members’ efforts, even the ones you cannot visually see, and praise, to generate an environment where all become happy and confident. Those who do not always generate a big impact to the team might be the one who always gives, works for other members, and contributes the most for the team's success.
Also, at CI&T, we have a system called “360 evaluation” to collect perspectives about someone’s work not only from the direct leader but also from colleagues. This way, the evaluation does not depend on a few people and executives can find the true attitude and achievements of each employee.
9. Leadership by example: point out good behaviors
When someone does a good job, praise him/her with all your might. Everyone knows this without being mentioned but only a few actually practice this on a regular basis. Praising works better than scrolling because what they were praised for remains more clearly on their memories. Also, when you do this, try to be as specific as possible about “what you are impressed,” and make sure to tell the person directly.
And it should not just end here. You should use “praising” as a tool. In order to do so, you should tell the person what you are expecting as his/her next step so that the person would feel like they are recognized for their work, and it stimulates the motivation and the desire to improve. A team that is capable of repeatedly doing this can grow fast and keep accelerating. Having periodic sessions to introduce members’ good behaviors might work great as well.
10. People first: develop our people first before developing software
Overall, we became even more confident about our “people first” mindset after participating in Scrum Fest Osaka 2020. Good work always comes from our people, and it will never change. Instead of raising arguments to each other, we should create a culture to respect and praise others. Appreciate the multiculturality and try to look at strong points of the person. By cultivating everyone’s strength, the team can generate better results.
Decentralization of power is also important to build trust and it allows everyone to participate to consider and solve problems together. “Accomplishing something together as a team” becomes stimulant for one’s future career, improves skills, and, more than anything, remains in his/her heart as a good memory. Do not forget to be responsible and enjoy working at the same time!
“I was grateful to have this opportunity to share the story of the transformation within CI&T and myself as well as our “people first” culture. Scrum Fest Osaka always reminds me of the delights of Agile development and the importance of people in any company and its transformation. I have personally experienced the growth of CI&T due to the “people first” mindset and believing that this will continuously keep us pushing towards a bright future. Now, I am more than excited to spread our mindset, skills, and Lean-Agile culture in Japan.”
Rose Hashinaga, Operation Manager at CI&T Japan