Even when change is desired, it can be hard. Harder than we expect.

I often work with teams that see how other software teams or startups function, and believe that it’s what they, too, want for themselves. All the sticky notes and whiteboards and open space plans and puppies in the office look enticing. That’s how modern technology gets made, right?

When it comes the organizing a real shift into the direction of how we believe we want to function, orienting new practices around the humans that will do the practicing is tough. For starters, because of the human element, no one way of working fits every group.

One thing that I really enjoy that comes out of ThoughtWorks is the Tech Radar, where technologists track the new and next of all things tech. It even covers things that are shifting out of favor, so that it’s easy to see what is deliberately no longer a focus.

Sounds perfect for how to transition a team as well.

The idea is to organize things that you want to try, or are currently doing with your team from the standpoint of “how we get stuff done”, and place it in the following categories:

  • Adopt (things that work and want to keep around)
  • Trial (things parts of the team will test out, with intention of extending to the whole team)
  • Assess (things that you’re curious about, but need to figure out how it can fit)
  • Hold (things that decidedly are not right for the team… for now)

Lately, I’ve been tracking things we want to consider (cross-functional standup, burn ups charts, value stream maps, et al.) with a board that’s visible in the team space with the listed categories. Something simple like columns and stickies works great.