Time Box: 30 minutes
Materials: stickies, markers, big writing surface
My new favorite activity to quickly get it all out on the table and rapidly visualize skill silos and gaps is the Team Spectrograph. I learned about this one in Beaver’s Scrum Gathering session. I’ve run it with a few teams already and we were instantly able to see the issues and make a plan, all in about 30 minutes!
You start by handing the team a few pads of stickies and have them start writing out all the skills needed to get product increments from start to finish during the sprint. Draw a graph and plot those on the X-axis. Then, tick the Y-axis from 0-10. Each team member will grab a different color marker, write their name so we have a legend, and rate themselves from 0-10 in each of those skills. You will quickly start seeing skill specialists and identifying gaps.
The team then determined the riskiest ones and made a pairing rule: “When that type of work comes in, you don’t work alone.” They plan to revisit this activity every two months to see how they are tracking towards real cross-functionality. It’s recommended to transition the data into a spreadsheet program to plot the data on a line graph as whiteboards can be risky to just leave around waiting to get bumped into accidentally and erased.
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