31.01.2018

Short, sweet and on your feet

1988.

Oasis’ ‘All Around the World’ was on the radio.  It was raining.  I was sitting in my cousin’s car looking up at the office building that I was about to enter.

Huge drops of rain pounded upon the roof in time with my beating heart. I was nervous.  I was heading into an interview with the owner of a small web design ‘factory’.

I had spent the previous week as a silent observer floating through the company like a ghost, shadowing the teams, observing their working practices.  I was to provide feedback to the owner on my observations.  It was the final part of the interview process.

The owner was a massive chap with hands like pizzas or rather – hands that liked pizza.  He was heavy.  He was also very proud of his office furniture and had spent the GDP of a small country on the office refurbishment.

My first recommendation was to get rid of all the Herman Miller chairs in his meeting rooms.

His face was a picture – it was full of colour, mostly red.

I explained that his staff spent a vast amount of time in meetings and that they were wasting a great deal of time. The meetings had no agenda, no actions and often they scheduled another meeting to decide what the result of the previous meeting was.

I introduced the concept of having short stand-up meetings, ten to fifteen minutes long, max.  Those in the meetings would discuss what they did since the last meeting.  They would say what they hoped to do before the next meeting and they would let people know if they were stuck and could not move forward.

The expensive chairs disappeared.  I was hired. We started the first of the daily stand-ups the very next day.

I thought about all of this last week.  It was not raining.  I was sitting in my office in Malta.  I was listening to that track from Oasis, ‘All Around the World’.

Our Agile transformation at Blexr is progressing well and I am looking forward to looking back at it in the future.  I wonder what music will trigger that memory? I doubt it will be Oasis.

Eduardo Remedios, head of product operations