Lean Thinking

23 December 2016

Happy Holidays

Written by Published in Blog

It's supposed to be jolly, with mistletoe and holly... and other things ending in olly.

Terry Pratchett - The Hogfather

Hi Folks

Just a quick note to wish you all a very happy holiday season. Whatever you celebrate be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Festivus, or indeed Hogswatch, have a very happy and safe one. With plenty of things ending in olly. 

I'm taking my usual few weeks off from writing so I'll see you all again in February 2017.

Cheers

Dave

Written by Published in Agile

Last time we looked at how to transform large organisations by building capability internally rather than buying capability externally. There are a lot of benefits to this approach. It's faster. It's cheaper. It's more effective. But it does fundamentally change the way an organisation sees its agile transformation program.

Most of the time, a traditional coach-led transformation program is set up to minimise the disruption to staff. Apart from some training and a new way of working (and maybe a slight blurring of strict job titles), the organisation sees its staff doing pretty much exactly the same thing they were doing before the change. Developers develop, testers test, they just do it in a new, agile way. With an internally-led transformation, this is not the case. A significant number of staff will be involved in this program for a long time. This will impact their day jobs. So the first rule of internally-led transformations is - give people time.

Written by Published in Agile

If you work for a large organisation and you want to transform the way you work to be more agile, what's the first thing you do? Chances are it's hiring a coach or two. That's not a bad way to start. Experienced people to guide the transformation make things much easier. But what do you do once the first pilot is done, you have proven that it works and demand is growing? More and more people are wanting agility. Your current coaches can't handle the load. What do you do?

What most organisations do is here some more coaches. And some more coaches, and more coaches and more as demand continues to grow. Now, as an agile coach, this has kept me in work for many years so I may be shooting myself in the foot a little when I say that this is a really lousy way to do an agile transformation. Yes, that's right. You heard it. An agile coach says that hiring a bunch of agile coaches is not a good way to transform an organisation. Let's look at why and then look at how we can do things better.

Written by Published in Agile

Ever been in a standup and heard something like this - "I could complete this task but I'd like to re-factor the code one more time"? What about this one - "All the acceptance criteria are met so I could move this story to done, but I won't because there are a couple of additional cases I think it should handle as well... So I'll add a couple of extra tasks and work on them today"? What about this - "The feature is complete but we can't put it in production yet... It really needs to be bundled with that other feature to make an impact in the market" ? Or this - "The MVP is done but we have decided to hold off on releasing it to market because it's not the complete, fully featured solution our customers would expect"? Or this - "We have decided to delay the release by another couple of sprints to add in some additional features that will enhance the customer experience some more"?

One description of agile is "the art of getting things done". Done is a great thing to aim for. Done means delivering value, making a difference, achievement. Unfortunately, a lot of the time we are pretty bad at it. Done has a mortal enemy that tries to prevent us from ever reaching Done. It continually moves Done further and further away from us. We take one step towards Done and its mortal enemy moves Done two steps further away. The name of this mortal enemy? Perfection.

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