9 Things Frameworks Should Do But Most Don’t

  1. Take a scientific approach and make the hypothesis that they are the best way to do what they are attempting to do. This encourages frameworks to evolve and improve and avoids dogma
  2. Provide a way to make reasonably accurate predictions whether a change will be beneficial.
  3. Be architected so they can accommodate the next three points
  4. Create a well-defined, customized starting point since no one size fits all.

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How do people react to change?

This begins a new blog series called FLEX Coaches Corner.  I have just started Adopting FLEX online. Each lesson has a ‘coaches corner’ where I present coaching tips for participants.  Each week I’ll put one of these out on Net Objectives Thoughts and collect them as Coaches Clinic.

 

We are told people always resist it, but this is an over-simplification. Consider this excerpt from A Simpler Way. Margaret Wheatley & Myron Kellner-Rogers

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Refactoring SAFe to FLEX part 1 of 2

Frameworks should be architected in the same way that software systems are. Both need to be able to evolve without adding complexity, be robust and be clear in how their different components interact. Few frameworks, other than FLEX, however, have what could be called an architecture. Most are collections of value and practices loosely overlaying some principles (which, often enough the framework itself doesn’t follow well).

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The Foundations of FLEX

When I started writing up Net Objectives’ 14 years of experience in Agile at scale that has now become FLEX I came from a foundation of the following:

  1. FLEX itself is an hypothesis of the best way for an organization to have a customer realize value. As an hypothesis, it should be continuously tested, validated and improved.
  2. How people react to FLEX must be considered to be part of FLEX (this is a basic tenet of systems thinking, albeit often ignored by most frameworks)
  3. FLEX must both attend to how to provide a well-defined start and how to extend the start
  4. It must be based on the value stream so that it doesn’t inadvertently do sub-optimization
  5. Technical skills must be included in the system and should be considered when deciding on a starting point
  6. Although users will extend FLEX you never transcend it in the sense that what it’s based on is always valid. People will just come up with more innovative methods to use known principles

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Scrum for Software Development

In my earlier post I explained why we needed this. In this one I’ll describe some principles and practices that should be in it

Use some degree of test-first. At a minimum, anytime a request is made the question “how will I know I’ve done that” should be asked

An understanding that delays in feedback, workflow and between getting and using information causes unplanned work

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Why we need a Scrum for Software Development Teams

Scrum proponents take pride in the fact that Scrum can work anywhere, in any domain. But keeping it in its generic form leaves big gaps in the practices people should be using.

The result of this is often that people have to reinvent things and don’t have ready access to concepts that would guide their adoption. These challenges are exacerbated when the immutable aspects of Scrum need to be modified a little. What often happens is people try to follow Scrum, often referring to the Scrum Guide and what they learned in their CSM class. They should be using Scrum as an open framework as it’s intended.

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FLEX’s launch this week is a harbinger of the next wave of Agile

The Adopting FLEX online workshop gets into full gear next week. I believe this is the start of the next wave of Agile on many levels

Since ’05 I’ve been working on overcoming several challenges:

  1. people need a specific start but there is no one-size fits all
  2. expanding an approach tends to add complexity to it
  3. on-experts often can’t tell if a change is good or not but need this ability in order to be able to improve on their own
  4. providing optional practices so people don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but do this without causing confusion
  5. provide a simple model for Agile product management that aligns both business stakeholders and development groups
  6. provide training in an economical way that doesn’t stop people doing their day jobs and actually enables more interaction while learning

FLEX solves these challenges by incorporating approaches various Net Objectives consultants have done over the last 20 years. FLEX is an expert system that guides consultants in how to help an organization improve by both providing guidance and creating a shorter workshop tailored for the organization that will implement FLEX.

I am excited to have a group of people working with me on taking this into the future.

Learn more here

What If?

What if a leader in Scrum, Kanban, Lean, Flow, SAFe, design patterns, ATDD, …

… when he saw a challenge with a framework he worked on overcoming it

… was focused on results not on creating a unique framework

… didn’t agree with others that there were limitations on what could be done

… didn’t think simple to understand meant difficult to implement

… attended to the dilemmas in creating approaches that were straightforward to start and guided you in improvement

… respected people’s knowledge and didn’t think they should trust consultant’s recommendations but trust themselves after a little guidance

… believed consultants should work themselves out of a job as soon as possible

… thought the attention should be on the work, not the framework

… argued for what worked, not defended frameworks

… put together a framework that incorporated the good that was learned while avoiding the limitations that had been accepted

After 20 years of working on this, there is, and the result is a new kind of framework. One based on patterns thinking that provides a tailored start and includes how to learn to improve. It’s based on laws of development, not my opinion. The first online workshop (with me guiding you) starts this week.

Please let me know if you’re interested.

How does your approach help you start and learn?

Note: This post is one of a series in the post Questions to ask about your approach.

Frameworks should provide a quick start while helping organizations continue to improve. Here are a few different approaches taken.

I. Provide a preset framework that has you do what it says until you learn to adjust (Scrum). The challenge with this is that the preset practices may not fit. This may have them lose faith in the entire transition. In addition, there is nothing in the framework that tells them how to transcend the starting practices. People may eventually feel locked in and just try new things with little guidance.

II. Provide some theory with preset practices (SAFe). This has somewhat the same challenges as I. above with the additional challenge of putting people into cognitive overload which results in few principles being remembered.

Both I & II focus on learning the framework with no training provided to transcend it.

III. Provide great detail in principles and let them figure out the practices. This does ground people in principles, but most want an answer to “what do I do?”

IV. Provide principles, a starting set of practices with options and a roadmap on how to select the practices that work for you. This gets people started on something that works for them while providing a way to improve. Yes, this is FLEX.