Fluid Agile and Ceremony

52285185_sFluid Agile describes behaviors expected of agile participants primarily in terms of ceremony. A ceremony in fluid agile is a structured interaction involving two or more individuals with well-defined responsibilities, interactions, and outcomes. Ceremonies are always time-boxed. Fluid seeks to eliminate most meetings and replace them with ceremony.

Ceremony, created properly and executed well, turns quality into habit.

Since Fluid agile challenges us to regularly identify and create ceremony it is only fair to provide guidance in recognizing good vs. bad ceremony. Fortunately, there is one primary characteristic that identifies good ceremony on the social side, that is, good ceremony provides the participants with positive emotional energy. You know you have positive emotional energy if the participants actually desire to have the experience again. Other characteristics of good ceremony include:

  • Good ceremony is social  The ceremony always involves two or more participants and it focuses their energy and drives them to actually think, not simply observe or react.
  • Good ceremony closes feedback loops  We should be able to identify anywhere from five to twenty-five feedback loops being closed in each and every ceremony.
  • Good ceremony focuses attention  The structure of the ceremony should focus attention on the item being worked.
  • Good ceremony encourages conscious thinking  Most human thinking is subconscious. Good ceremony encourages participants to move to conscious thinking, not simply observing or reacting. This is frequently achieved by forcing participants to identify multiple solutions and actively choose between them.
  • Good ceremony has rhythm  The ceremony itself has a rhythm and cadence that drives the team forward to producing a result.
  • Good ceremony has structure  The ceremony is so formally structured that it is obvious to all participants after attending the ceremony a few times if the ceremony is being executed incorrectly.
  • Good ceremony is sensory immersive  The ceremony encourage using multiple senses to more actively engage the brain: sight, sound, touch, and movement are all frequently included in one ceremony. Ceremonies frequently involve sorting and moving items, physical movement of participants during the ceremony, and physically standing over work. Good ceremony pays attention to status postures and other cognitive phenomena that may affect how people interact with the work (i.e. looking up at a projected task list vs. looking down at a set of physical representations of work packages).
  • Good ceremony incorporate totems  Ceremony frequently incorporates totems. A totem is an object or symbol that serves as an emblem of a group. The totem itself over time should be able to impart emotional energy to participants.
  • Good ceremony exists naturally in a chain  The ceremony achieves additional power from the context of the other ceremonies the tribe is executing and from previous executions of this ceremony.

If participants perform and repeat a ceremony enough they should begin to seek it out naturally.

By Tom (Thomas) Meloche – www.TomMeloche.com

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