We normally post about community training and presentations that Kaleidocode is hosting or supporting. But a lot of knowledge sharing happens behind the scenes inside Kaleidocode as well. So, it being the season for sharing, we thought we would peel back the veil and let you know a little about what learning and knowledge sharing happens between Kaleidocoders.
As you may suspect a lot of knowledge sharing happens within the company, and one of those initiatives is our monthly knowledge sharing sessions. This year we expanded these monthly events to incorporate everybody in the company. Whether technical or business, developer or finance we invited everyone to come, listen, present and share on areas they are passionate about. This has been very successful and attendance has been phenomenal!
So how do we go about it? Well, everyone is invited to suggest topics, offer to present topics and to vote on which topics resonate the most. Then folks attend the sessions that appeal to them and come prepared with their thoughts and opinions.
As you can imagine that has lead to a wide variety of subjects and formats of sharing throughout the year. But here are a few that stood out and made us all think and learn:
1. Running better projects (how do we improve how we run our projects?).
In this early 2019 session we uncovered elements like risk mitigation, improved client communications, and showing visual project progress earlier and more often.
2. More effective Scrums & Sprint Planning sessions (how can we improve and make them more effective?).
This sharing session focused on Story Points, Design Sprints and how we run Retros. It was such an awesome session, that included so many ideas that we ran out of time and had to make our next session a Part 2 ….
3. More effective Scrums & Sprint Planning sessions Part 2.
In this follow up to the first efficacy session we focused on Scrum in general. This was a big topic for everyone in the room! Lots of discussion, sharing and debate around issues we have with scrum and what ideas we had to improve it.
4. Mid-year Retrospective.
We held a general session that reflected on all the topics we had shared on thus far in 2019. We wanted to promote the most important learnings, whilst also introducing these concepts to staff who had missed some of the sessions. We decided that this meeting would be facilitated in a unique and fresh way. We used a format called the “Fishbowl”. It turned out to be very popular, and really got people talking and sharing. The Fishbowl activity is great for keeping a focused conversation, while having a large group of people. At any time, only a few people have a conversation (the fish in the fishbowl). The remaining people are listeners (the ones watching the fishbowl). The caveat is that the listeners can join the discussion at any moment. Lots of fun.
5. What is an Agile Consultant?
The Fishbowl method was used again for this session. We discussed what it means to be a consultant, and whether or not we are leaning hard enough into being agile. This spawned many conversations about what it means to be truly agile. This took us back to the original agile manifesto with particular focus on the core 4 values and 12 principles of agile.
6. What is the purpose of UAT?
This was a robust team discussion on user acceptance testing, what it is, why we do it, and as always …how we could be more agile and effective in how we approach it. We covered live events, handovers, tester/user sessions and so much more. Who knew how heated we could get on one topic.
7. Changing the mindset of Agile Teams.
Agile is not about practicing Scrum, XP or Kanban. It is a mindset that one needs to cultivate. Agile can so easily become theoretical, a series of steps. This session challenged us to revisit why we need to think openly, focus on continuous improvement and remain aware of reflecting on how we have performed and how we can remove waste from our processes.
8. Story Points.
As much as estimation can be a thorny issues, agile estimation is a core part of measuring our traction. Drawing off excellent resources such as Matt Cohn's agile estimation thesis, we got to the core of how we measure complexity, what are story points, and what is their purpose in terms of driving team communication and functional decomposition. Not an easy session, but certainly thought provoking and likely to be revisited.
Suffice it to say monthly company wide knowledge sharing sessions have become a popular vehicle for safely sharing and learning for everyone in the company in 2019. We are excited about what 2020 will bring in this space. More sharing and more learning? Definitely!
Kaleidocoders dressed up in their finery to celebrate 2019 and to bestow awards on their peers, then formalities over, they entered into the spirit of the day with gusto! A fantastic day was had by all, a big thank you to this year’s Social committee who pulled off yet another wonderful event!
The venue was quintessentially Durban taking in views of the harbour. Part of the festivities required some fancy footwork allowing folks to display their hidden talents in a lip sync battle team. We really appreciate our teams and their spirit of getting involved!
What is happening at Kaleidocode?