10 Lessons from 20 Years in Agile: Lean Management

This podcast is part of a series, The 10 most important things I have learned from 20 years in Agile (June 3, 2019)

In this series, Al Shalloway shares some of the most important insights he’s had over this time and how they relate to each other.

This episode is about Lean Management. Continue reading “10 Lessons from 20 Years in Agile: Lean Management”

A Metaphor for Lean Management

The Agile Manifesto ignores management – not mentioning it once. Management has slowly been acknowledged by Agilists as being important – but almost always with the phrase “servant leader.”

This is only partially accurate. Servant implies someone is being served and this is often understood to mean their teams. But managers are not really serving their teams directly. They are serving the business. Their job is to make sure their teams have the right environment to get their job done, to help grow their teams and to give them acknowledgement.

I think a good metaphor for Lean management is curling. Curling is the sport where a person pushes a ‘stone’ with a handle on it trying to get to a specific spot. Two sweepers go in front of the stone to both clear the path and slightly melt the ice with their brooms. Think of these as the managers. Continue reading “A Metaphor for Lean Management”

Let’s stop trying to get leadership/management to ‘be’ Agile

I’m often hearing how Agile is failing because leadership and management won’t adopt Agile values & principles. I would much rather they just keep some basic agreements:

Let’s stop for a minute and ask ourselves, do we want them to ‘be’ Agile or to do the following:
1-create clarity on what the most important work to do is
2-define these as a sequence of small increments for which we can realize value. Have each of these increments include technology &any other groups needed to realize value
3-provide technology clear acceptance criteria on these items
4-provide guidance across business units as to which are most important based on cost of delay
5-allow technology to self-organize & pull the work to be done in the sequence of greatest importance when technology has capacity
6-have an agreement with technology on how to handle emergencies
7-provide feedback when needed

We have come up with the following agreements we call the guardrails:
* Focus on realizing value
* Collaborate with each other in order to maximize the realization of value
* Make all work visible
* Sustain or increase predictability.
* Keep the work within capacitythroughout the value stream
* Encourage everyone to strive for continuous improvement.

For more information on the guardrails, go here.

To see guardrails tailored for leadership and management, go here.

This blog is an excerpt from my upcoming book –Achieving Business Agility at All Scales