What a difference a year makes!

Here’s what the Mind Settlers platform looked like in December 2017:
We’d spent 6 months validating our idea and bringing it to life. You could:
  1. Find actionable ideas from about a dozen authors
  2. Tick off progress, step by step-like a recipe
  3. Organize them into collections
We’d validated the enthusiasm for a platform to help connect individuals to actionable ideas in the agile world. This was (and is) our first step towards building agility in organizations, bottom up: access ideas from thought leaders, framework pioneers, and peers in one place, in actionable forms. But very few people wanted to track their activity using our prototype app - they weren’t ready to tick off steps when they found a good idea, and in any case, they wanted to adapt and adjust everything to their situation. It rarely made sense to execute as we’d envisioned, and there weren’t any rewards for doing so. We hadn’t put enough life into our idea. And it was ‘kermit’ green!

A year later, Mind Settlers has transformed into this:

(You’re welcome to see it in action here or get the Android app to try it out.)

Here are the major changes:

  1. We expanded beyond finding ideas to supporting the entire agile improvement cycle.
  2. We overhauled options for ‘activity’ tracking, focusing on value instead of merely completion.
  3. We introduced gamified action plans and rewards (tracks, journeys. badges).
  4. We expanded the actionable ideas ‘library’ to over 100 authors and ~47 organizations.
  5. We introduced context — tags as the foundation to search, recommendations, and future AI.
It’s exciting to take our idea to a state where we see massive potential for trainers, coaches, agile changemakers, organizations. Traction is increasing.

What’s next?

Click here to learn more about our 3-month focus and product roadmap. We’re increasing the level of transparency on progress and sharing metrics regularly.

Join these agile changemakers.

Our current agile funding round is underway. Consider joining 400+ shareholders from 46 countries supporting our endeavor.

What a difference a year makes! was originally published in Agility Scales on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

7 Activities to Help Deal with Change and Uncertainty

In our Mind Settlers app, there is plenty of agile content, ready for teams to play with. I especially like the actionable ideas around change and uncertainty, since being agile requires being ready and willing to experience -and respond to- both change and uncertainty! Here are some of the ideas in our platform. Click to view them online.* *If you have the Mind Settlers Android app you can go much farther: collect or share ideas you like, create a track with one of the practices or guides below, and share your journey with the player community.

Critical Uncertainties — by Liberating Structures, Keith McCandless and Henri Lipmanowicz

This practice by Liberating Structures is excellent for setting strategy as a group. It focuses on building resilience within your team and prepares each member to be ready to take responsibility at times of uncertainty. It guides the team to set scenarios, identify potential rewards and traps, as well as clarify differing purposes.

8 Strategies on Leading in a Crisis — by Community Author, Lynne Cazaly

These strategies provide a checklist for leaders who want to be prepared when a crisis hits their company. It may be useful to share them with the full team and support them while preparing their strategies for being ready and calmer during uncertainty.
Explore many more through the Mind Settlers app

Fuzzy Goals — by Gamestorming, Dave Gray

The Fuzzy Goals game is a fun and engaging way of bringing your team together to come up with an “optimal level of fuzziness” when you need to set goals, but they cannot be set in stone. This approach allows you to keep the team on track toward a goal without narrowing their options.

Change Options Canvas — by Lean Change Management, Jason Little

How do you know the change tactics you’re executing are the right ones? Use this Change Options board to quickly prioritize and classify the types of activities to work on.

Deliberate Change — by Community Author, Peter Lee

Using an approach to deliberately target effective organizational change across the entire ecosystem can accelerate the pace of change, as well as ensure different areas are all able to shift the organization in the same direction. This practice guides you through a step-by-step process of how to do so.

Freedom: Draw Want-to vs. Have-to — by The Responsibility Process, Christopher Avery

This guide is an excellent tool to clarify what your team members believe they have to accomplish and move towards identifying what they actually want to complete in their work. It’s an empowering shift that increases Freedom.

Fluxx: The Change Game — by Agile Toybox, Emilia Breton-Lake

Fluxx is the card game with ever-changing rules that often leave the game teetering on the edge of chaos, which makes it the perfect fun analog for an agile project. How comfortable are team members when the rules change?

What do you think? Let us know if some of these are useful to you.

By the way, you can join me as an investor in Agility Scales. Help us crowdsource business advice and grow agile mindsets.

7 Activities to Help Deal with Change and Uncertainty was originally published in Agility Scales on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

2 Special Offers for Investors

Two Special Offers for Investors

As of today, we have €284K pledged by potential investors, which is a great start to our first agile crowdfunding round! This is greater than our target. We have two special offers for investors as thank yous for joining our quest to deliver business agility from the bottom-up.

Free-for-Life Standard License Draw

Invest at least 2,500 as part of our crowdfunding campaign starting November 1st, 2018, and you will automatically participate in a draw of 50 Free-For-Life Standard Licenses per quarter.
  • You have a chance of winning a Free-For-Life Standard license for each 2,500 that you invest. In other words, if you invest 10K, you have a 4x higher chance of winning.
  • Each investor (no matter if it’s an individual or an organization) can win only one Free-For-Life license per crowdfunding campaign.
  • The Free-For-Life licenses are all Standard user licenses, which is a license that other users have to pay for.
  • Free-For-Life means that we support the license until the user stops making use of it, or until the Mind Settlers platform ceases its operations.
  • The draw of the Free-For-Life license will be performed after the end of each funding quarter and winners will be informed accordingly. The first funding quarter starts on 1st November 2018 and the first winners will, therefore, be drawn in February 2019.
  • This offer will continue quarter-by-quarter until further notice or until a maximum of 200 Free-For-Life licenses have been distributed.

One-hour Talk by Jurgen Appelo

Invest 7,500 or more as part of our crowdfunding campaign starting November 1st, 2018. The first 10 investors who do so will be awarded a One-hour Talk by Jurgen Appelo.
  • Each investor (no matter if it’s an individual or an organization) can be awarded only one One-hour Talk.
  • The details of the talk, e.g. date, subject, etc. will be mutually agreed upon between the successful investor and Jurgen Appelo.
  • The award of the one-hour talk will be performed after the end of each funding quarter and successful investors will be informed accordingly.
  • This offer will continue quarter-by-quarter until further notice or until a maximum of 10 One-hour Talks have been awarded.
  • The free One-hour Talk must take place within one year after being awarded.
  • Travel expenses for in-person One-hour Talks are not included.

Investment Details

If you’d like to know more, register your interest at www.agilityscales.com/invest. We will email you a link where you can view the full Pitch Deck and access the Investor Resources folder on Google Drive (includes official documents, downloadable pitch deck, architecture documentation, letter to potential investors, and a bit more).
And if you’ve made the decision to invest, click right here. Once we have signed agreements equal in value to our target, we’ll close this funding round, so best to get in early.
2 Special Offers for Investors was originally published in Agility Scales on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Product Roadmap and Public Metrics

Here’s how we’re going to stay publicly accountable for reaching our goals.

Delivering Value in Stages

Before I show you our product roadmap and public metrics, it’s important for you to know the strategy behind how we are delivering customer value. Optimizing a platform to gamify and grow agile feedback cycles takes time and has many moving parts! We’ve built the foundational elements and are now focused on optimizing in stages to maximize the value we deliver to our users. We’ve organized our platform around 5 main areas of value for our initial users (agile coaches, scrum masters, and others focused on solving problems and removing impediments at work):
  • Finding ideas There is value in exploring multiple actionable ideas from many sources and getting inspiration you can apply at work.
  • Take Steps There is value when you go beyond learning and take action to solve problems and achieve outcomes
  • Tracking Value There is value in measuring/tracking your work in terms of its impact instead of simply time or effort
  • Share Learnings There is value in collecting new actionable ideas and/or iterations and making them available to the community
It’s not a coincidence that these first four areas align with our value compass — illustrating the agile feedback cycle:
The compass applies to individuals AND/OR teams.
And lastly, this is the fifth area:
  • Improve Together There is value in supporting teams, peers, mentors — to grow agile mindsets and take action together
You’ll see this one in our app as an onboarding adventure, by the way. It’s all tied together…
Working on 4 onboarding adventures in the Mind Settlers app
Our adventure theme and gamification elements apply across all value areas.

3-month focus

The focus of our team through January 2018 is improved discovery of great content, team management features, and content creation by users.
  • Making it easier for people to find great ideas they can use. (value area 1).
  • Making it easy and fast to contribute your own content will ensure a continual flow of new ideas (Value area 4).
  • Expanding team functionality will help coaches and scrum masters with their top priority: growing agile mindsets in the teams they support. (Value areas 5.)
We believe optimizing these areas will deliver enough value to agile coaches and scrum masters that we will see increased usage, retention, and user satisfaction. We’ll build on this in later stages and continue optimizing the rest of the value areas above.

Product Roadmap

Instead of trying to map out 12–18 months’ worth of deliverables (as we did last December), we’re detailing out our product goals for the next 3 months.
All blocks prioritize improving the user experience, increasing usage, delivering value sooner. Here’s an explanation of the four areas: App — the Mind Settlers app (where you find ideas, take action and track value) Web — www.mindsettlers.com where anyone can access content + where content contributors can soon submit new tracks or practices. Learn — this row shows areas where we’re doing high-level discovery for Next and Later items Foundation — this row shows major ‘behind the scenes’ work supporting both app and web.

Monthly Public Metrics

To support our 3-month focus, we’ve agreed on metrics that we’ll measure and share with you. We will report on progress monthly, to give investors and the community transparency what’s working, and even what’s not. Here are the first set of baseline metrics for October 2018:
Green = business metrics. It’s worth noting that for Mind Settlers app users, we ask for payment after 30 days as a way to measure if we’re delivering enough value. We welcome anyone interested with an Android device, and measure how many stick around. Orange = usage metrics. We’re tracking how active the app users are. Purple = content. We’re tracking how much content we’re adding to the platform on a monthly basis. We’ll add November’s numbers to this public metrics sheet early next month.

Agile Crowdfunding

Our product roadmap and public metrics are 2 parts of our switch to a more agile approach of investing, with shorter runways, quarterly goals, full transparency, and continuous funding. Do you want to own a piece of the future of agile transformations? We already have 300+ crowd investors and we add more each week. Investors who step in now can get a free lifetime license to use the Mind Settlers app, and even a free keynote from yours truly! Learn more about funding Agility Scales

Product Roadmap and Public Metrics was originally published in Agility Scales on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Finding Ideas: for Teams

I’m pretty happy with the variety and quality of team-related actionable ideas on our Mind Settlers platform — if you don’t have our adventure app (Android), here are some of my favorites for you to consider.

Team Formation

Setting up new teams is well covered by tracks (gamified action plans) provided by agile coaches. They each provide a series of actionable ideas for you to use directly or as inspiration to create something uniquely your own. Launch a Scrum Team Marijn van der Zee has shared a very valuable series of activities here. I like the way he’s focused most activities around answering a particular question for the team.
Remote Team Working Pedro Medas (my colleague!) set up this track to help new remote teams establish practices to help them thrive. We use almost all of these activities regularly at Agility Scales — though truth be told, we haven’t done Meeting Microscope in a while. (Hmmm, maybe it’s time for a meeting renewal session…) New Team Formation Thomas Kuryura’s track focuses on some essential key activities for a new team to do together.

Roles and Responsibilities

This is one of my favorite areas to explore in Mind Settlers (along with games, retros, scaling, personal productivity if I’m honest!). There are so many ways to tackle the clashes-misunderstandings-confusion that originate from unclear roles or responsibilities. We’ve got heaps of practices, sourced from thought leaders, framework pioneers and agile practitioners, but let me list out a few of note:
Who’s Role is it Anyway?, by Community author— Heidi Araya This interactive session can be customized to co-located or distributed teams. Role Playing Matrix, by Community author — Thomas Kuryura Use this with new teams to identify any disconnects in role expectations Pod Exercise, by Community author — Sara Baca This interactive session gets the team itself to generate and then clarify responsibilities in small role-based groups. Meddler’s Game, by Management 3.0 — Jurgen Appelo This game lets you work together as a team to determine your own roles as you’re managing change within your organization. Define Job Titles & Descriptions the Teal Way , by Teal Organizations — Frederic Laloux In Teal organizations, people do not have a single job with a generic description; they fill a unique combination of roles — try defining roles by need rather than warm body… Understand the Scrum Team, from the Scrum Guide — Sutherland and Schwaber Review the official role definitions associated with Scrum if that’s your foundation. RACI Matrix (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed), by Gamestorming — Dave Gray Generate and agree RACI matrix as a group to tackle responsibility problems. The Roles We Play , by Fun Retrospectives — Paulo Caroli This is a team-building activity that brings to light all the roles people play in their lives. (I thought I’d throw this one in for some fun.)

What do you think? Let me know if some of these are useful to you.

*If you have the Android app you can go much farther: collect the ideas you like, start a journey on one of the tracks above, or share with the player community! By the way , our funding campaign will start on November 1, 2018.

You can join the experiment here.


Finding Ideas: for Teams was originally published in Agility Scales on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.