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.

FLEX as a Pattern Framework

A pattern is a solution to a recurring problem in a context. Christopher Alexander, who created the concept, says :
“Each pattern describes a problem which occurs over and over again in our environment and then describes the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice.”

In FLEX’s case, the context is achieving business agility – the quick realization of value predictably, sustainably and with high quality. This, of course, requires solving several problems with each of these problems being solved in a different manner. FLEX groups these patterns those patterns that solve the same conceptual problem. Hence it consists of pattern groups with each group consisting of a set of patterns that solve the problem associated with the group. The primary groups are:

  1. Value stream management
  2. Strategies, & initiatives
  3. Portfolio management
  4. Product management
  5. Intake process
  6. Planning
  7. Development
  8. Release
  9. Realization

Patterns must include their purpose, the forces they deal with and their proposed solution(s). Patterns are also named in order to be able to identify them. This has the added value of improved communication.

Announcing The Net Objectives FLEX Training Program

I’m in the process of defining our FLEX Train-the-Trainer and FLEX Training program

I’m starting it out on LinkedIn in order to get feedback. There are two levels of certification and two levels of accreditation. I distinguish between ‘certification’ and ‘accreditation’ by having certification mean people are actually competent in what they are certified in while accreditation means they’ve taken a course so are being accredited with knowledge that the course taught. I am not a believer in meaningless certification one gets by merely taking a course and passing an exam (e.g., Scrum Master, SPC).

Why Net Objectives has created this program

Net Objectives has been on the forefront of Agile at scale for over a decade. Almost all methods are based on values and practices. Few are truly based on Lean-Thinking incorporating the theory of Flow as presented by Don Reinertsen. The challenge with basing an approach on practices is that workshops tend to focus on preset solutions or require too much thinking by participants. FLEX is an approach based on patterns of solution incorporating the following areas: Continue reading “Announcing The Net Objectives FLEX Training Program”

Issues with using preset training materials

It’s exciting to see how the competency of internal change agents is going up – many well above the average consultant. They don’t help in what to do as much of it being an issue of the time to do it

Turning to set training materials is often their only option. But using set materials without change is almost certainly not ideal for the organization. This makes it hard to adapt the method to the organization and avoid a “one-size fits-all” approach. While this may benefit the people selling the materials it is certainly not a benefit to the change agent

This is why FLEX has two courses:
1) FLEX for Change Agents. This is a 3 day course intended for people who will teach FLEX internally. Its high level agenda is:
Day 1: 1/2 day on FLEX, and a 1/2 day on doing an assessment to determine their organization’s challenges
Day 2: Full day on FLEX
Day 3: 1/2 day on how to use FLEX to create a starting framework that will work for their org, and a 1/2 day on how to teach FLEX

They then take a 2-day online workshop that provides the optional practices they need

At this point they can teach the 2nd FLEX course – Adopting FLEX. This is a 2-day course they teach to their organization that they’ve tailored themselves

Agile needs to be flexible

FLEX: A Pattern Language for Achieving Business Agility

Patterns are solutions to recurring problems within a context. A pattern language is a set of patterns that when combined solve a large problem. FLEX is a system that explicitly describes the process experts use to help an organization achieve business agility. These patterns include: Continue reading “FLEX: A Pattern Language for Achieving Business Agility”

The Minimum Business Increment (MBI) Template

MBIs represent both the smallest amount of value that can be implemented and realized while also containing all of what’s needed for this realization. In other words, MBIs are small but sufficient. If it’s bigger than necessary, you will make flow harder to achieve. If it is insufficient, product may be built but it won’t be effectively realized.

Here is what an MBI must contain. Continue reading “The Minimum Business Increment (MBI) Template”

FLEX: FLow for Enterprise Transformation

Goal: Achieve business agility: The quick realization of business value predictably, sustainably and with high quality

Why: The purpose of an organization is to provide value to the customers and a great working environment so that their employees can manifest a sense of purpose and be acknowledged for that

What: Achieve flow in the organization using Flow and Lean-Thinking, culture, organizational development, human behavior, laws of software development, effective leadership and management

How: Provide a starting framework to an organization that has been tuned for the organization and a method to improve it on an ongoing basis

Continue reading “FLEX: FLow for Enterprise Transformation”