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30 October 2011

#Lean case studies... Stand on the shoulders of giants

Here is six case studies presented so you can learn lessons from others. two sets of three cases.

Part 1
  • Build It and They Will Come - David Joyce
  • Scheduling work in Kanban - Sami Honkonen
  • Pitfalls of a large kanban implementation - Jasper Sonnevelt 

Case Studies from AGILEMinds on Vimeo.

Part 2

  • Kanban at Cisco - Ken Power 
  • Transitioning from Traditional to Agile in a Small ISV Setting - Mahesh Singh - Sudipta Lahiri 
  • Ericsson Finland Agile and Lean Transformation, Experiences and Learnings - Henri Kivioja

Case Studies from AGILEMinds on Vimeo.

29 October 2011

David Anderson considering what #Kanban is appropriate

David Anderson - Kanban - when is it not appropriate? from AGILEMinds on Vimeo.

Jim Benson on Why #Kanban works

I think this was my favourite session for the series.  The win for me is in seeing a simple message (aka meme) about why this stuff works.  What do you think?

Jim Benson - The Psychology of Kanban from AGILEMinds on Vimeo.

28 October 2011

John Seddon shares his thoughts on #SystemsThinking in the #lean and #kanban world

We all know who John Seddon is. What is interesting is hearing these ideas in the context of some of the other presenters such as Karl Scotland, Don Reinerstein and Dave Snowden. Hear what he had to say.

John Seddon - It’s the system stupid! from AGILEMinds on Vimeo.

Don Reinerstein on Challenging Deming's thinking in #Kanban and #Lean for software

I always like a sceptic.

Don Reinertsen - Is It Time to Rethink Deming? from AGILEMinds on Vimeo.

27 October 2011

Karl Scotland on #Lean, #science and #ChangeManagement

The best compliment ever paid to me in the workplace was "Working for you is like being a rat in a lab; I never know what next week's experiment is going to be."

Gather data, for hypotheses and test them.  You can also look backwards at past successes and use regression analysis to work out your strengths and weaknesses.  Maybe you'll come up with the next big thing.

Anyway, hear Karl's ideas about leveraging science to make good decisions.

Karl Scotland - The Science of Kanban from AGILEMinds on Vimeo.

26 October 2011

Alan Shalloway shares his thoughts on people

A lot of what I read about Lean and Kanban is about workflow management. It's all familiar stuff from the days I worked with call centres and very mathematical.  But what I hear when I talk with people in the Lean/Kanban  community is always about people.  Hear what Alan Shalloway has to say on the topic.  Alan's particular interest is in Enterprise Agile.

Alan Shalloway - Lean-Kanban Is About People from AGILEMinds on Vimeo.

Thomas Lissajoux - A #lean approach to portfolio management

As I work on our 2012 budget this sings to me.  If only we were there now...

Thomas Lissajoux - A lean approach to portfolio management from AGILEMinds on Vimeo.

25 October 2011

Matthias Bohlen on integrating the value stream in a #lean #kanban context

Make things explicit. This is a challenge I have been grappling with over recent weeks. How do you go about this challenge? I believe that being explicit acceptance criteria at each step of the value chain are the means to this ends. See what Mathais thinks.

Matthias Bohlen - A team and their contracts with partners in the stream from AGILEMinds on Vimeo.

Dave Snowden challenges assumptions #Lean #CAS Theory

Dave is in Melbourne (and other pats of Australia) next week. this is worth watching. For me an appealing point is his suggesting systems thinking is a modern day Taylorism.

This is also particularly useful for some of our Business Analyst readers, as he has some techniques mentioned for managing requirements in complex and changing environments.


Dave Snowden - Practice without sound theory will not scale from AGILEMinds on Vimeo.
Agile methods in general have arise from a mixture of sound practice and good principles, but they lack an over all theory. Complexity Science, coupled with insights from the Cognitive Sciences challenges the basic assumptions of systems thinking and idealist uses of "self-organisation" alike. This presentation will provide an overview of CAS, and more specifically the Cynefin framework which has been widely adopted within the AGILE Community. It will examine the critical role that constraints play in allowing evolution to take place in systems and the implications for team formation, requirements capture and project monitoring. Fundamentally it will challenge a purely engineering approach to systems involving human agency. It will focus on effectiveness, not efficiency and resilience not robustness.

24 October 2011

Mike Burrows on Classes of Service & Service Levels #Lean #agile

Mike Burrows tries to take the drama out of scheduling projects.

Mike Burrows - Level demand, balance workload and manage schedule risk with Classes of Service from AGILEMinds on Vimeo.

Yves Hanoulle on the Agile Mindset #Lean #Agile

The second presentation from Lean Central Europe 2011 is Yves Hanoulle on the mindset behind agile methods.

I have a post on values coming up in the next few weeks.  Enjoy.

Yves Hanoulle - Agile Mindset from AGILEMinds on Vimeo.

23 October 2011

Bob Marshall on #Rightshifting at the #Lean conference

Bob (aka @flowchainsensei) had a double header session at the conference.  It's about organisational growth.  You might need to accompany this one with a whiskey or two.

Part 1; What is Right Shifting?

Bob Marshall - Grant Rule - Understanding Effectiveness: Rightshifting and the Marshall Model from AGILEMinds on Vimeo.

Part 2; Applying the ideas
Grant Rule - Bob Marshall - Realizing Value: How to apply Rightshifting from AGILEMinds on Vimeo.

And bonus track; the three minute summary

Jason Yip on IT Operations #Kanban #Lean

The Lean / Central Europe / conference was held last week.  A number of presentations have been published to the web.  To help you keep up, and digest what went on I a going to help out by publishing a bunch of presentations - one per day for the rest of this week

The first I'll bring to your attention is Jason Yip of Sydney on IT operations.

Jason Yip - Kanban for IT Operations from AGILEMinds on Vimeo.

The major problem that IT Ops teams face is the one that Kanban is well-designed to solve: No one can see (and therefore don't understand) the work that they do. Because of this lack of visibility, teams are overloaded, priorities are questionable and/or unclear, and most activity is non-strategic firefighting.

I will show how to use Kanban for better management of IT Operations as well as setup the conditions necessary for continuous improvement.

18 October 2011

User Story training

I am offering another round of my "Introduction to User Stories" course.

The first round received very good feedback from the pilot participants.  As a result I am making a few minor changes, but essentially it remains the same.  The next course is available to sign on here (for the bargain price of $45.)

I feel I have to explain the relatively cheap price.  My motivation is to share knowledge and cover my costs.  This rate will almost cover the cost of the time I put in to monitor the course and provide feedback to the activities embedded in the modules.  I want it to be as cheap as possible because I want people to have access to good quality information.

The content, if delivered face to face would go for about a day and would be a course worth about $600 per head, so frankly it is a bargain.

If you are in Australia I can deliver this as a one day session - just give me a call or email.

14 October 2011

What did you learn this week?

Personally I am overloaded with lessons from this week.  Dozens of great stories and learning experiences.  I think I need some quiet time to reflect on them all.

What was your learning highlight?

11 October 2011

Cumulative flow and Requirements traceability

Tonight I did a talk to the local agile community on cumulative flow diagrams, requirements traceability and scope management.  I recycled the PMOZ slide deck (below) but added in the above diagram.  Thanks people for the good conversation afterwards.

The four CFD charts come from four really great blog posts.  If you want to learn more about how cumulative flow, or lean or kanban or cycle and lead time these blogs will be a good step in your learning.

5 October 2011

Free User Story online training session

I am trying my hand at online training.  To kick the process off I have a free pilot of a User Story course starting next week.

Details on the course are here.

Given that you are a regular reader, I thought you might like to sign in and test drive it.  All free, except your time.  It starts on Monday next week.

At the end I want to collect your feedback so I can improve it before trying to sell it.

4 October 2011

Value driven work practices

We ran a lunchtime session talking about values and how they underpin the way we work.  The session closed out with a whiteboard exercise which is described on the last page of this deck.

If you use this I'd appreciate your sharing your experiences and feedback via the comments or by email.

Agile values
View more presentations from Craig Brown

3 October 2011

Melbourne #Agile meet-up

Over the course of the last several months a couple of Melbourne meet-up groups have established an ongoing community.  I have been lucky enough to be a part of this process.

The two groups are called Agile Business Analysts and the Melbourne Scrum User group.  I thought I would share my experiences working with this group over the year.

The Scrum group existed before I got to Melbourne.  I found it as a result of wanting to find some like minded folks and potentially network myself into some interesting work.  Unfortunately it had fallen dormant after the previous leader, Martin Kearns had become too busy to actively make stuff happen.

The first session I organised (via was held concurrently with the Limited WIP society at the local Thoughtworks office.  At that meeting I met David Joyce who was facilitating the Kanban/Lean discussion.  I grabbed the dozen folks interested in Scrum and thought we might create a backlog of things to talk about and do in the future.

At that session I also met Geoff Burns, a local ACS activist.  As an activist Geoff got active in helping me promote the scrum meet ups via ACS.  Geoff organised a corporate theatre and I pulled out a talk about 'agile project initiation.'  It pulled a largish crowd of about fifty, many of whom were recent university graduates participating in an ACS professional education scheme.  My talk went fine, although it was less conversational and more lecture style.  It also spent more time than planned on Scrum 101.  At the conclusion the crown signed their attendance sheets and cleared out.  I did get to briefly meet some of the Melbourne Agile personalities which was good.

I skipped the following session, which Geoff organised.  It was a presentation by Ralph Hughes on his BI and data warehousing book (Agile Data Warehousing: Delivering World-Class Business Intelligence Systems Using Scrum and XP).

The following month I asked Reg de Silva, a prominent BA in the agile space to come along and present some stuff on breaking down User Stories.  Like me he found the audience in search of the Scrum 101 stuff and regressed his presentation to basics around user stories. On the plus side we got more than 100 people coming along to the meet-ups.  On the down side there was very little interaction and all the sharing was coming from a committed few.

Around this time I was meeting with Geoff and talking about how we needed to expand the inner circle so that he and I didn't become the points of failure.  Communities that rely on one or two central figures can get the crowd to drink the kool-aid, but as we all know, that can lead to problems, including dogmatic followers to a blinkered view of the world, burnout and a lack of sustainability.  What could we do to relive ourselves of the burden, and to increase the value we would get from the interactions with this fledgeling community.

In response to our success we changed the format.  We held the next session at ACS headquarters, which were conference rooms rather than theatre/lecture rooms and we dropped the focused presentation led agenda.  Instead we held round table discussions.  The change in focus attracted a few more experienced practitioners who have stuck around, and over the following months created exactly what I was looking for in the beginning; a group of peers who come together and share knowledge and war stories.

We followed that session up with a similar session, but instead of me leading a facilitated discussion we got Brett Maytom in to do a session on User Stories, with the intent to follow up a brief presentation with a story writing workshop.  We ran out of time for the workshop, as Brett usually gets engaged in lively question and answer sessions.

While this was going on in one room Geoff and I were in the next room plotting out how we could amplify the attraction of experienced people into this community.  The numbers were still high, but now closer to 30 or 40 rather than the massive numbers earlier in the year.  And the bulk of people were still graduates seeking education points rather than practitioners.

So we booked the next event in a pub.  Yes, I admit it was ll me that took us to the pub.  I wanted the meet ups to be more social and I wanted to make the content more conversational.  So our next session was "lightning talks" and while they didn't really follow that form (they were a series of informal 15 minute experience talks) they really nailed what I was after.  And based on feedback, it is what others are after as well.

The next meetup was at the same pub where Geoff led us in a requirements game and we followed up with dinner and a beer.  And last week Andy Shaw led us in a communications and problem solving game followed by discussions around the Organisational Zoo model that he is involved with.  And the number seems to have settled art around 25-30 regular people.

It's probably about time to mess with the format again, but right now I am going to try to stand back and let others do the driving.  I'll just enjoy going along and participating.

One of the great things about this group is the depth of knowledge and diversity of experiences.  no matter how much you know there is someone here that can show you a different perspective.  Another great thing is that while many people are past or present scrum practitioners, it is less about scrum and more about sharing stories and knowledge.  And while advice is often related back to the principles behind the scrum model, there is no dogma.  It's a community that believes in many paths to improvement.

If you are in Melbourne, come and join us.  I'll share the story of the Agile BA meet-up later in the year.