Category Archives: A leader ships

Accessibility Poker – Nothing is fixed

This is a friendly reminder, that all stories with George are fiction.

The story so far

In the previous episode Polly asked George for help with tickets from blind persons. The solution was Accessibility Poker using Planning Poker cards.

The steps so far

“Hi George.”
“Hi Polly, how are things going?”

“In the meeting right after our last call, my team started to use Accessibility Poker. They added Accessibility Points to the accessibility tickets. Then tickets with the highest number of Accessibility Points were put on the top of the backlog.

During the  a table was made to assign the same number of Accessibility Points to tickets with similar problems for blind persons.

Also,  the team decided, that the new user stories could not have actions with more than 8 Accessibility Points.

A few months ago, most customers were fashion companies. At the moment a lot of households are buying the gloves. This means that more blind people are buying our product. It really helps them.”

“Polly, you did a great job.”
“My team is great.”

“So, this problem is solved?”
“There is something else.”

The results so far

“What bothers you, Polly?”
“The sales went up. We had to adjust the ordering process to ship the haptic gloves abroad. At the moment there are two actions with 8 Accessibility Points: select shipping and verifying that the user is a human being.”

“So, you solved the picture recognition problem for the blind people?”
“Yes. The financial team really needs this verification.”

In our last call I told you that 70 percent  of the orders were stopped at the last moment. This used to be 20 percent. After fixing the picture problem it dropped to 50 percent.

What did we miss?”

The results so strange

“Polly, I like to tell you a story. First I need some information from you. What is your hobby?”
“My husband and I like to run.”

“Let me think.

Imagine that the two of you are on holidays. You had a busy day. There is still enough energy left over for one and a half hour run.

There is a sign to a waterfall. 3 quarters of an hour to run to this place, take a short break, and run back. It is a nice way to end a tiresome day.”

The signs are easy to follow. they point to a small town. After a few crossings, you notice that there are no signs any more. Several times you ask directions and finally the two of you leave the town.

Luckily the signs to the waterfall are shown again. Then the sign points to a new town. You have run 1 hour. What do you do, Polly?”

“At that moment we have already run for 1 hour. We would walk back. This way I hope that we have enough energy to get back.”

“What is the difference between the first and second town?”
“Both towns seem to cost the same energy to run through, but the second one is just too much.”

The numbers so strange

“Polly,  the described towns are the page to select the shipping and the page to verify that you are a human being. Both pages have 8 Accessibility Points. According to your entry criteria this should not be a problem?”

“You mean that the verification page cost too much energy, but this is not supported by the numbers. Then the percentage of missed sales would be like 70 percent instead of 50 percent.

I talked about it with the team. And we could not figure out what happened.”

The numbers so moving

“That is a good observation. Let me continue with the story.
Would you try to run again to the waterfall the next day?”

“Yes, of course we could try it again?”
“This time it takes 3 quarters of an hour to run to the second town.
Are you entering this town?”
“No, this takes still too much time.”

“After 3 attempts, it took you 20 minutes to reach the second town.
Are you entering the town?
“I think so.

Wait. You are telling me, that blind people are memorising the shipping page until they have enough energy left over to fill in the verification page.

This means that the Accessibility Points of a page is not always 8.
It is not fixed.

Blind people do several attempts to buy our product. They really want to buy it. We don’t lose all customers after the first failed attempt.

The Accessibility Points mentioned in the tickets are actually Accessibility Points for the first attempt. It looks like we need to write down accessibility points for all attempts.

That is even more difficult to estimate. This is more administration than I wished for.”

The focus so moving

“Polly, what is the minimal administration for Accessibility Points?”
“I would say: one field”.

“If there is only one field for Accessibility Points, what else could be changed?”
“There is at most one action with 8 Accessibility Points in a user story. And now I can explain it!”

“It is 9 o’clock. I have to go, Polly.”
“Before you leave, thanks George.”
“You are welcome, Polly.”

“Goodbye George.”
“Goodbye Polly.”

The focus so difficult

“Hi, Polly, how was your call with George?”
“It was refreshing, John.”

“Did we use Accessibility Poker in the wrong way?”
“It is something different.”

To be continued.

Accessibility Poker – Walking away from the deal

This is a friendly reminder, that all stories with George are fiction.

Unexpected start

“Hi George, you can call me Polly.”
“Hi Polly.”
“Thanks for joining in remotely. I have meetings set up for the whole day. The first is at 9 o’clock.”

“Excuse me, but my next appointment is at 9.”
“But how can we solve my problems, George?”
“Norman told me that you have great leadership skills. And I help leaders.”

Unexpected business

“And Norman told me that you could help me. Let’s see what we can do before 9.

My company makes haptic gloves for virtual reality. Are you familiar with these terms?”
“So, your company makes gloves which enables me to move and feel objects in an imaginary world. Am I right?”
“You described it well.”

So, I have to help you with the gloves.”
“It’s something different.”

“For the fashion industry we made a low end or cheap version of the glove. You can only feel with the finger point of your index finger. You do feel the fabric like wool or silk.

One day a researcher asked whether we could make software to emulate braille. We said: “Sure. You can even develop it yourself. You can download the Software Development Kit from our website.””

“So, I have to help you with the software?”
“It’s something different.”

“The researcher made software and put it online. Then sales went out of the roof?”
“So, I have to help you with the product management?”
“It’s something different.”

Unexpected hurdle

“My marketing team looked at the numbers on a daily basis and noticed something strange. A lot of people did not order.”
“Is this not a common behaviour?”
“That was my first thought.

Then they showed me the patterns before the braille software was released. The percentage of people walking away from the deal was 70% instead of 20%.”
“That is a lot of money, Polly”

“It was worse. Customer service asked permission from a caller to share the call with colleagues. The same day I set up a short meeting for the whole web team. Then I played the recording of the talk.

A blind man really wanted to buy a glove, but he had to recognise pictures. This was needed to make sure that he was a human being. He could not see the pictures and the screen reader could not find any description of the pictures.

I asked the team not to help me. I asked them not to help the company, but to help this blind man.”

Unexpected work

“The web team did some research and found the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines. These guidelines provided tips to make a web site accessible for blind people.

With this information they solved the problem within a day.”

“Polly, you acted great,”
“George, I have a great team.

At the moment the backlog is overflowing with accessibility tickets. The Product Owner does not know how to prioritise the tickets.”

“Polly, if I understand the problem, your web team has more than enough work to do, but it does not know where to start.”

“Yes. You described it well.”

Unexpected effort

“Polly, you wanted to help the blind man. Let’s go back to the pictures problem. How much time or effort would a blind person need to recognise the pictures?”
“I cannot estimate this. It could be hours, weeks, or even ages.”

“How much time or effort would a blind person need to recognise the pictures at the moment?”
“It could be 5 minutes, but it might be still too long.”

“Does your team use any ways to estimate their work?
“They use Planning Poker.”

“Okay. What would you estimate the effort of a normal person to recognise the pictures?”
“That would be 5.”

“Okay. What would you estimate the effort of the blind man to recognise the pictures?”
“It is an 8.”

What number would you give to the situation of the pictures without the alternative texts?
“I would give it infinity.”

Unexpected technique

“Wait. You mean that the web team has to use Planning Poker cards to estimate the effort of a blind person to complete a step?

This can be quite fast. The web team members can show their numbers at the same time. Differences can be discussed in minutes. The number for accessibility should be agreed upon without lengthy meetings.

The tickets with the highest numbers will be put on the top of the backlog. I really like Accessibility Poker.”

“Polly, those are your words. You figured out the solution yourself.”

“You mean, that this is something new?”
“That’s right. I only asked questions.

It’s 9. Sorry, I have to go. Goodbye Polly”
“Goodbye George.

“Wait George. Too late. I know that you hung up and you cannot hear me.
Thank you, George.”

An expected end

“Hi Polly.”
“Hi John. Hi everyone.”

“I expected George. Is he preparing a workshop or brainstorm session?”
“It’s something different.”

To be continued.

House Rules For Rules

A few years ago my wife asked me to attach some tubes to the wall. I noticed that there was little room for a wrench. So I used a ratchet wrench as shown in the picture.

There is an unwritten rule to use a wrench for a nut and a bolt.

There is no rule for the type of wrench.

Proof in the pudding

In the kitchen one of my kids was stirring in a pan:
“30 seconds should be enough, but I think it is not enough.”

I stopped with my actions:
“Is that not long?”

“Last time it went all right.”
I tried to remember the taste, the structure, and the smell of the dish. But I had only positive thoughts.

I remarked:
“First you follow the rules. Then you must change them.”

“Must?” was the reaction.
“I mean: if you think it will make things better.”

“Your boss will not be happy.”, my kid remarked.

“If you stick to the rules, then you will not become better than your teacher.
Otherwise everything will remain the same.

Not all experiments will go right, so you need some room.

My boss is also experimenting:
“I have this product.”
Customers will give feedback:
“We would like to have another product.””