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Thursday, March 09, 2017

Personal Maps in a Kick of Meeting


I was in a KOM (Kick-off meeting) for a new Agile coaching project with some organization in Egypt. In my first day, first meeting, I planned a simple Agenda as following:

  • Know about the team
  • Know about the product
  • Know about the project
  • And build a list of problems and objectives for the project
So naturally, the first thing is to know about the team. I did not find anything better than exercising Jurgen Appelo Personal Maps. We were a small team and it was the first time to meet them. 

We were co-located, which gave us a better chance to make face to face conversations. I thought of using a white-board to have a big canvas for our personal maps, but the meeting room had no one. I asked one of the team members to bring a bunch of A3 printer papers and if he did not find any, to bring A3 papers. Almost no office does not have A4 printer papers, and sure he came back shortly with a bunch of papers. 

I started by describing the Personal Maps objectives and process. I worried that the team may find it a wasteful activity, but I continued per my plan.

I gave each team member one A4 blank paper and ran a timer for 3 minutes. All team members started drawing their personal maps. It was remarkable how much Mind Maps are popular and how fast they started being productive from the first minute.

After the timer expiration, everyone finished and we started to show each other our Personal Map paper. We agreed that no one will present his own map, and we will only answer questions related to it from other team members. We just shared the other's Mind-Map.

That was the first time I met with those members, and it was a very positive experience to know about each other as a human being. We found shared hobbies and shared experiences and sometimes remarkable things about individuals. The exercise succeeded not only as an introduction to each other but also as an ice breaker. Below is some of the maps done. It is not very fancy, but the discussions about them were.

Lessons Learned:
  • I plan next time to increase the time to 5 minutes, to have more time for bigger maps.
  • I will bring A3 papers to enable and encourage team members to write more details.
  • Let someone present others mind-maps fully and sure he will enable others to ask questions.
  • At the start, I will explain the importance of font clarity to make it easy for others to read it.
Here are some other mind-maps.