I am curious of examples of metaphors and countermeasures that others have utilized as Agile practitioners.

A metaphor is used to create understanding per successive approximation through story telling.  
  • An example is use of LEGO SERIOUS PLAY methodology – the stories are told about the build which can be a metaphor for something the person or team is experiencing.  
  • Want to pick a metaphor that the client or team can relate to e.g. ask the team, what happens if there is no 1/2 time in a football game? The players have no opportunity to re-fuel (get water), to rest and to strategize.
  • Another example is the grasshopper and ant i.e. the ant works steadily in small increments day after day collecting food for the winter (agile) vs the grasshopper who does nothing and waits till winter nears to collect food (waterfall).
  • Speedboat used in retrospectives
  • Tactile e.g. LEGO FOR SERIOUS PLAY, post it notes
  • virtual meeting – use mindmap or electronic post it notes – relational, story telling and it anchor participants (i.e. provides a focus, makes the conversation visual).
  • Timeline – past, present, future
Countermeasure is something that is counter intuitive yet more effective than what we do.
  • An example is with predictive plans, when something goes wrong and not according to plan, our reaction is to control and control is not an effective countermeasure in complex, uncertain, creative environments like software product development.  In complex, uncertain, creative environments what we want is adaptive plans where there is experimentation and learning.  We want to create environments where it is safe-to-fail and are supported with coaching.
  • business part of organization is not agile – counter measures include dev/ops, learning boot camps, co-location, effective use of sprint 0, focus on value, hold up mirrors
  • scaling (i.e. we keep adding teams with more code for a product) – countermeasures evolve architecture & design, trip to Italy (i.e. conversation on what one would do on a trip to Italy such as establish why, what and then how with a roadmap (options to achieve the why and what) and allowing time to get from start to end.

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