Practice Spotting

Practice-spotting sessions can help you to discover the practices implicit in project stories, so you can make them explicit, and reveal behaviors that contribute to either sleepwalking or sparkle for individuals and teams.

Use Practice Spotting to look for, identify, and make sense of project stories. Practice-spotting sessions can help you to discover the practices implicit in project stories, so you can make them explicit, and reveal behaviors that contribute to either sleepwalking or sparkle for individuals and teams. Shall we try this?

Let’s look at an example story:

During a job interview, George decided to suggest one condition before accepting the position: that he would prefer not to do any programming and just focus on management.

He understood that the company was hiring people who both code and manage, but stated that, if they wanted him to join the company, he would prefer not to code. The company accepted George’s condition. George has now been with the company for several years.

As you listen to any story, you should be looking for keywords or statements that reflect a practice that is at play. You’ll usually find these keywords in actions, feelings, language, and conditions that are important to individuals and teams.

These keywords provide clues as you draft a list of possible practices, convert stories into practice cards, add titles to your practice cards, and identify the opportunities these practices represent to individuals and teams.

During a practice-spotting session, there are some example elements you should look for in project stories, which will later help you to draft a Practice Card.

These include the following:

  • storyteller’s behavior—which is important if the storyteller is a character in the story
  • characters in the story, including the storyteller if relevant
  • feelings and emotions at play
  • behaviours of people as they interact with each other during the story
  • how people in the story treat each other
  • where the story took place
  • environmental conditions in that place
  • influences on the people and emotions in the story
  • storyteller’s language and tone
  • outcomes of or actions in the story

In the example story, the keywords might lend themselves to creating Practice Cards for the following:

  • setting a condition or boundary
  • preferences in making choices

You might also infer some other possible Practice Cards, including the following:

  • preparing for a job interview
  • courage to communicate your needs
  • openness to suggestions

The behaviors present in the story are as follows:

  • From George’s perspective—He is setting a boundary for his work.
  • From the company’s perspective—They are open, adaptable, and flexible about bending their requirements to recruit the good team members they need.
  • Both parties are open to seeing things from each other’s perspective.
  • The company respects future employees.

These behaviors also imply themes that speak to team environments, in which trust, support, appreciation, care, purpose, and being vulnerable are welcome.

Note—We have completed only one practice-spotting session for just one example story. Imagine what you could discover by completing more practice-spotting sessions over time.