Tag Archives: report

Event Report: Root Cause Analysis and A3 thinking

The session started with an explanation of the 5 Whys, which Carlo likened to an annoying toddler. I had never thought of it that way – but it is very accurate!

In our groups we picked between 2 techniques: 5 whys and cause & effect diagrams, and applied them to an exercise – 3mile island. Reading about 3 mile island – you couldn’t help but be shocked and amused at the number of things that had to go wrong for disaster to occur – and how quickly they had happened.


During the exercise the parts that stuck out the most for me were:

  • Break the problem down to the human level, if you’re still at a machine level – dig deeper.
  • Each step can have action items, but you should expend most of your energy at the root level.
  • How you phrase your question is important, try various questions and see where their path leads you.
  • Try not to find THE root cause. There are usually many. Don’t worry if you don’t have clear 5 steps, most of us had tree’s.

Think of 5 whys and Cause & Effect diagrams as training wheels. Use them to practice the skill and discipline of asking questions and delving deeper into the problem. Another technique is a fishbone diagram – but I have no idea how that works.

We then looked at the A3 template: http://www.crisp.se/lean/a3-template. This is a techniques to force you to do more than just analyze the problem. Each A3 has both an owner and a mentor.

You look at the current condition, and explain the background – why is this important?

Root Cause analysis is one part of an A3 and should be done with the group closest to the problem – those involved.

Carlo mentioned some books to read for those interested:

Thank you to our sponsor, Alacrity for the snacks and drinks 🙂

December SUGSA event – Pecha Kucha

First of all, the fact that I am only blogging about last months event, a mere two hours from the start of this months event, is definite grounds for an apology! Better late than never they say?

The first Thursday in December. Four confident looking presenters got themselves geared up. No walk in the park this. Each presenter had only 6 minutes to get their message across. Each slide had to be no longer than 20 seconds. What I didn’t know, until that evening, was that each slide had to automatically be set to transition after 20 seconds. No pressure!

First up was Sheetal Gordhan. Scrum is not for the faint hearted was her topic!

I’m looking at my notes now, and I see the Ken Schwaber quote: “Scrum is hard”. And right next to that I have Sheetal paraphase: “This kak is hard”. I like Sheetal’s version 🙂 I remember us all having a good chuckle, leaned back in our seats and took in a nice big gulp on our drinks. Our evening was set, we were here to have some fun!

Sheetal’s presentation reminded us that only a small percentage of teams are actually successful in Scrum. It’s really not easy and we need to prepare ourselves when we embark on this journey. Even though there are 1,000’s of articles online, it’s still not enough to prepare us for what lies ahead.

I can honestly say that I, in 6 minutes, had learned more about what a newbie organisation to Scrum should expect than I have in any course attended or article read.

My favourite slide of Sheetal’s. Hmmm, this is a tough one, there are so many. I liked the Google statistics of how many results one can expect when searching for Scrum information. But one that really stood out for me was the All Blacks doing the haka. Titled ‘Scrum Rituals’.( Remember, this event was in early December, only a few weeks after the All Blacks were crowned World Champs!). What are your development teams rituals? The usual stand-up and retrospective, or do you have something unique?

Next up was Meloné van Heerden, with her presentation entitled, What makes a great leader. Meloné had recently attended a course on this subject, and used the opportunity to apply her learning’s into the software development, in particular, Scrum, environment. One could see that the learning’s had a big impact of her, as her talk was passionate and energetic.

The subject of an ‘authentic leader’. What is an authentic leader? Or rather, what makes a leader authentic? Mel took us through the 6 step of process of discovering the authentic ‘you’. A necessary self-awareness process. A look at intrinsic and extrinsic motivators.

My favourite slide of Meloné’s. I personally liked the way in which she modelled the need to effectively set a leadership example, with well-known figures. Nelson Mandela and Barrack Obama featured, with Obama’s family an example of how important it is to build a support network. But my favourite would have to be a slide which represented who we sometimes don’t change. Any guess who features? Have a look at the photo below.

Next up, the good man David Campey. David had an interesting approach. Each of his slides represented a photo he had taken of his agile working environment. We got to meet his team. His manager. His Product Owner.

It told a story of a project. Starting from a photo of his Product Owner, looking very visionary in a room with blue-sky type walls, through to photo’s of his team hard at planning, and ending with his team out on a boat trip 🙂

I’ve always found it fascinating to see how other organisations work. How they approach their Scrum repertoire. Especially local companies.

David’s presentation was recorded, so please have a look for yourself. I’ve already sent this out to my development teams. Motivational stuff!

And finally, Karen Greaves, who needed little introduction off course! Her talk was titled: “Agile Management: How to create a culture to help your team succeed.” It was awesome! Need I say more. Who thought a talk about management could be fun 🙂

Thank you to everyone that attended. And a big thank you to our four brave presenters. You were all superstars!

Event Report: World Cafe conversations

The coffee shop or cafe scene was set with mood-lighting and flowers on the tables; the only missing element was coffee, but the crowd made do with other assorted drinks.
We had a practical session using the World Cafe technique to discuss a light-hearted question – “How can SUGSA be more?”. It turned out that the question was important enough to the extent that we spent two 20-minute sessions on it. A number of extremely useful suggestions and pertinent points of view emerged regarding the Scrum User Group of SA! The findings can certainly be carried forward as action points for the SUGSA committee. All of the ideas and thoughts were recorded on tablecloths by the groups of four at a coffee table.
The graphic recorder was Warren Maroon from the Ruth Prowse School of Art – many thanks Warren!
Click on the web album below to view pictures of the evening; the tablecloths, discussion groups and the graphic recording, cartoon-style.
Post a comment if you remember that one important thing you still wanted to say… or if you just want to give us your impressions of the event.

SUGSA – World Cafe

SGZA Presentations and videos

Below you will find the contacts for speakers, their presentations and where they exist, the videos. We will continue to add to this as the presentations become available





Andrew Coote et al Agile – The Jazz Manifesto
Annu Augustine A product owners guide to saying ‘No’ Video Link
Aslam Khan The Product Owner
Aslam Khan Live your principles or stay in bed
Boris Gloger An effective ScrumMaster is the key
Boris Gloger Scrum for Leaders Video Link
Brent Blake Agile adoption success Video Link
Cara Turner Motivation++ – Building motivated teams with great facilitation
Cara Turner Setting achievable goals Video Link
Carlo Kruger Inspecting & Adapting your product
Carlo Kruger Your Sprint Review Sux! Video Link
David Campey Agile Contracting Video Link
Fadi Stephan Daily Stand-up Anti-patterns and Heuristics
Fadi Stephan Software Craftsmanship – Imperative or Hype
Kevin Trethewey See code differently
Manoj Vadakkan It’s the culture, Stupid! – Why Scrum is more than just a few ceremonies, roles, and artifacts?
Maritza van den Heuvel & Sam Laing Can PO teams solve the PO Problem?
Mitch Lacey Keynote address Video Link
Patrick Vine Fixed Price Scrum – an experience Video Link
Rian van der Merwe An Introduction to User Experience Design
Richard Bailey Help me, the hippies have taken my team to play games
Sam Laing & Karen Greaves Agile Games Video Link
Sharna Sammy Scrum within Publishing Video Link
Siegfried Kaltenecker The elephant is dead. Leadership in the agile world
Siegfried Kaltenecker The Big 5. Leadership as a team sport in the agile world
Simon Bennett Lean vs. Agile
Simon Bennett Beyond Kano: Using the Cynefin Framework for Backlog Management
Thorsten O Kalnin Agile Serious Play