Earlier this year – after a large, stressful release – a group of Agile Coaches facilitated a retrospective involving people from over a dozen dev teams. In order to address the retro takeaways and make the progress visible, a Continuous Improvement Board was created.
The goal of the Continuous Improvement Board was to provide a forum for people to promote and champion ideas to bring positive change to the organization. We wanted to empower people who had identified areas of improvement so they could make their ideas visible and find others who were interested in solving a problem or moving an idea forward.
The Continuous Improvement Board is in a centrally located area that receives a lot of foot traffic. Initially, people just jotted down ideas and added them to the board. After some time, we adjusted the process so that people needed to write user stories for the ideas. We thought this would encourage people to give their ideas more thought and not just throw any random idea on the board in hopes that someone else would do the work for them.
Some Continuous Improvement Board examples:
- The creation of an Engineering Handbook to document coding standards and how to be a responsible engineer, which can be used during new hire orientation
- The creation and implementation of team health surveys to get a pulse on how the team thinks they’re doing based on various categories (which also shows interesting trends across the organization)
- The creation of Empowerment Surveys for various groups (PO, Engineering Managers, etc) to identify what can be improved
- Seemingly minor things such as people would like to have beef jerky added to the snack supply
Overall, the Continuous Improvement Board has been an interesting experiment that has provided opportunities for collaboration, creative thinking and learning.
How do you and your organization focus on continuous improvement?