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”

The first step in Lean Portfolio Management

Lean portfolio management is an important aspect of enterprise Agility. Organizations always have more options than capacity. One therefore needs to be able to understand what is the most important value to deliver. But what is value to one company may be waste to another. The first step in Lean Portfolio Management therefore, is determining what’s of value to the organization.

This, of course, is typically oriented around value to customers. or example, a financial company might focus on: Continue reading “The first step in Lean Portfolio Management”

Frameworks are just tools. Good ones are instances of Lean

I was asked if Scrum per the Scrum Guide was an instance of Kanban. The answer is no because of the differences in the mindset. Scrum (per SG) has immutable roles, artifacts, events, and rules. These guide you to actions that fit within them. Kanban has principles you look at to see what to do. There are other differences in the mindsets of Scrum and Kanban. Continue reading “Frameworks are just tools. Good ones are instances of Lean”

Why you should be a Lean coach regardless of the method you use

Two foundational tenets of Lean is leadership and systems thinking. Both relate to the fundamental philosophy that systems affect people significantly and that it is management’s responsibility to create the environment within which teams can work autonomously towards the goals of the company.

Scrum Masters somewhat already have a limited aspect of this role in that they are responsible for removing impediments to the team. This relates more to how the team interacts with those outside the team. But within the team, Agile team coaches also have the role of facilitating improvement of the system within which the team works.

Continue reading “Why you should be a Lean coach regardless of the method you use”