📬 The Backlog

📬 The Backlog is Thomas van Zuijlen's weekly newsletter on practical agility, with annotated articles on Scrum, facilitation, collaboration, and (product) development.

22 August 2022

📬 The Backlog #190

Give your onboarding colleagues the finger(s), but don’t let your async distributed workplace get toxic, and learn all there is about feature flags from Hodgson.

  1. Back in 2019, I was in Mischief Makers’ facilitation training programme, and one of the many cool formats and tools they used with my cohort, was a High Five exercise for introducing yourself.

    You’d have to tell one themed thing about yourself for each finger. (And yes, the middle finger would represent a thing that annoys you.)

    The Misses Chief have now turned this onboarding exercise into a template on the Miroverse: High Five Me Tool, for your online use. It’s almost as fun and certainly as easy as the real thing. Bookmark away!

  2. Over on the Async Agile blog, Sumeet Moghe warns: Don’t let your virtual workplace become toxic. His article is about the various ways in which behavioural patterns can emerge - just as easily in online/async as in IRL/synchronous contexts - and how it is essential to treat them with intent.

    Towards the end of his article, Moghe raises a meta concern that I find important because I am a proponent of distributed working. Moghe: “Since remote work is newer in comparison to office bound ways of working, every anti-pattern in a remote workplace will face a disproportionate amount of scrutiny as compared to the office. So, teams and leaders that want to protect their new work culture will need to be vigilant and pre-empt […] toxic anti-patterns.”

    Strike the right balance in how/when/why to operate asynchronously, and remember to keep inspecting and adapting your collaboration.

  3. I like bringing up feature flags to teams that feel they have a hard time releasing software. The concept of a toggle won’t solve their issues, but can bring them to the surface, because seriously considering feature flags will get them thinking about the prerequisites of using them (which usually aren’t in place; part of their problems).

    Anyway, I can only go so far in explaining the ins and outs of functionality toggles, and luckily there’s Pete Hodgson’s beautiful in-depth article on Martin Fowler’s site to take it from there. This piece from 20217 includes both conceptual diagrams and code snippets. Bookmark and use with your own teams: Feature Toggles (aka Feature Flags).

Have an interesting week and Scrum on,
Thomas van Zuijlen