Why the difference between “necessary” and “sufficient” is even more important in complex systems

First, let’s get clear. All organizations are complex. So if you’re doing software dev you are in a complex system. Aspects of it also have the possibility for chaotic events (for example, Martian Lander disaster).

But let’s consider something necessary to consider in even simple situations. Take 2 min to watch “Lucy in the Chocolate Factory” https://lnkd.in/gYSN-eZ

This is a simple situation. Too much work causes problems. Managing work levels is something _necessary_ to do the job.

Is it sufficient to get quality? Maybe in this situation. But if you take the idea of managing WIP into a complex situation, it’s still necessary but no longer sufficient. The point is, while complexity tells us we can’t see everything, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t necessary things to see.

What are you aligning around?

Alignment is critical for Agile. The more you have the more autonomy people can have. It’s what teamwork is really about. At the team level people align around the team’s backlog. But what do people align around at scale?

I like Don Reinertsen suggestion “There is more value created with overall alignment than with local excellence.” Continue reading “What are you aligning around?”

The purpose of tools in mid to large scale transformations

Many Agile folks think of tools as a necessary evil. But they have a definite purpose and done well are essential.

Any Lean-Agile approach should start with getting an understanding of where the company is. Mapping the value streams of an organization is usually a good start. Identifying challenges in workflow and team structure is another. Only then should an adoption of a new workflow or company re-structuring take place. While it is often tempting to take solutions off the shelf it must be kept in mind that no one-size-fits all. Continue reading “The purpose of tools in mid to large scale transformations”

The missing piece of Lean Portfolio Management

I am often asked how to do Lean Portfolio Management. Let’s consider what’s needed to do this effectively. The real issue is when different programs require the same limited capabilities. How do you decide which one is more important? Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) is commonly used. But ‘business value’, a  key component of WSJF, means different things to different groups.

How can we decide what the business value is when people in different divisions have different views? Continue reading “The missing piece of Lean Portfolio Management”

An open invitation for a discussion

After being at Agile 2018 I see more hope for people learning how to become more effective in a more effective manner. People were asking questions and fewer were looking for quick, rote, solutions. Of course, my sample was incredibly unscientific and is anecdotal. But I am an optimist.

I know I have a reputation for seeing the negative in things. But my path has always been: Continue reading “An open invitation for a discussion”

A missing piece in SAFe product management

Lean suggests that we work with small batches, be able to deliver value quickly and to drive from a business perspective (typically through delivering value to the customer). ‘Deliver value’ means not just to deploy something but to ensure that value can be realized by the intended customer. In other words, we need a definition for the smallest increment of value that delivers value from a business perspective. In other words, it can’t be too small (we may not want to be delivering all the time) but it has to be sufficient (have all the components (e.g., marketing) required to realize value. In other words, minimum yet sufficient. It also must have measurable value from a business perspective. Continue reading “A missing piece in SAFe product management”