Organization Mindset

Exploring the economics of decision making in SAFe® through gamification

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Economic thinking and principles

In the popular Scaled Agile Framework for Lean Enterprises (SAFe) we strive to “apply a comprehensive economic framework” through Principle #1: Take an Economic View. Certainly, part of how we deliver on this framework is through the natural decentralized decision making process that occurs when real Agile teams hypothesize their way through optimizing batch sizes, building quality in, and relentlessly improving. Breaking down work into slices of working software/deliverables/efforts that are potentially shippable (i.e. features) each iteration.

I believe that the dominant paradigm for managing product development is fundamentally wrong. Not just a little wrong, but wrong to its very core. It is as wrong as we were in manufacturing, before the Japanese unlocked the secret of lean manufacturing. I believe that a new paradigm is emerging, one that challenges the current orthodoxy of product development.

Reinertsen, Donald G.. The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development (p. 1). Celeritas Publishing. Kindle Edition.

At scale, we apply the same core thinking to how we invest in Epics and Features. Run experiments.

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DevSecOps Bungling

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Sometimes it is important to call out missteps even when there is good intent. Feedback is critical, and an important part of DevOps after all…

The authors, brilliant knowledge workers, amazing researchers, and well known marketers of the DevOps movement do not overload the already loaded term trying to capture acronyms for every element of the body of knowledge. Kim, Humble, Debois, and Willis did not call their book the “DevSecOps Handbook.” I wonder why? 

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Learning from the deep ocean of failure

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Well it’s Friday! Thank God! I get to go home to my family today!

Let’s talk about and share our failures. Not all of them, we don’t have that much time. BUT, everybody’s doing it! The ocean of failure is deep. I do more than my share to keep in full.

Yeah, I know some people never fail and will never admit it when they do. They will also likely not improve at a fast enough rate to stay competitive. My wife has helped me see this in myself over the past fifteen years. She is an amazing partner and mother to my four kids.

I’ll go first of course. The key here is to learn and improve. You don’t need to get personal, just enough to learn. And remember, praise in public, and critique in private. Let’s practice…

Recently I missed an important meeting because I didn’t pay enough attention to the time zone change (during my near constant travels). I feel horrible about it. It was an epic failure too. I was at the Verizon store transferring my phone service (crap — another story). I was distracted and thought I had two hours till the meeting. I completely bombed and forgot about the time change and dissed my VIP attendee.

Since then, I have improved and organized my various accounts and calendars to avoid this in the future. I also apologized profusely to my victim and offered repentance.

See that wasn’t so hard. I was lying. That was really, really hard. But we must learn in a world that shuns constructive feedback.

Now, how do you approach building this valuable pattern of openness, improvement, and empathy into and entire organization? Professional sports teams do it. Why are many enterprises stuck in perfection and failure is damaging to a career?

It all starts with individuals and interactions. At the tip of the spear we can begin to shape and build new behaviors. These new behaviors can be replicated in your team. Your team of teams (ART!), your division, group, and organization.

Start with a 1:1 working agreement with one of your coworkers to provide each other with completely transparent (a SAFe core value) feedback in the form of constructive criticism on a regular cadence. Choose someone that you interact with regularly. Agree to be respectful and honest. Create improvement items. Agree to keep your interactions completely discrete.

Grow from there to sharing your experience and growth with others on your team or organization. From there you can influence others to learn how to take criticism and feedback in a positive way.

How do you know if your Consultant/Coach has an Agile mindset? | LinkedIn

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Interesting topic. What do you do with “Agile” coaches who are incapable of displaying the values of Agile?

Source: How do you know if your Consultant/Coach has an Agile mindset? | LinkedIn

DevOps, Automation, Batch Size, Swarming – Formula1 videos

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There are a few Formula1 videos around the web that we use to teach about the economics of batch sizes, particularly in the SAFe, where the teachings of Don Reinertsen are embedded in the body of knowledge. I found this new video on LinkedIn today and thought I would share them with the community.

Remember, we are trying to reduce the transaction cost of a batch. In these videos the older pit stop people, process and tooling resulted in a much higher transaction cost compared to the modern pit stop with automated tools and swarming. This can be done through automation, architecture, tools, kaizen of process, and through new ways of thinking and working, and even new ways of feeling. We must pay particular attention to the relationship between tools, people, and process as optimizing one without tuning the others may not improve anything (systems thinking).

Don Reinertsen, Principles of Product Development Flow
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Take a Tour of the Rimac Factory With the Man Himself & Pace of Change

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What is an acceptable pace of change for your organization? The root of all improvement lies in change. Should we go all out with unmanaged chaos, or manage change as part of a strategy through extensive controls? How does your enterprise identify and engage what the appropriate pace of change is? How do you balance change to affect positive business outcomes?

How fast does your company need to innovate to stay competitive?

Remember the wisdom of Jack Welch, “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”

The answer lies in the balance of new and/or improved thinking tools, ways of working, and even ways of feeling as an organization. Every organization is unique and therefore requires a unique approach to managing change. We can always start with existing ideas and tooling and fit to purpose. Choose wisely, and actively engage and match the pace of change to the needs of innovation.

I am particularly fascinated by Rimac and their explosive growth and ability to continuously and relentlessly improve and match the external markets demand for innovation.

“We need to change everything. The whole company changes pretty much every year. – Mate Rimac”

Company founder and CEO Mate Rimac takes you deeper behind the scenes than most journalists have ever been. And this is only the first episode of the four they’ve produced.

Source: Take a Tour of the Rimac Factory With the Man Himself

Representing the Customer – Scaling Frameworks

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Someone who claims expertise in and loves to play the agile game of thrones recently posted an article on Forbes.com about the Scaled Agile Framework for Lean Enterprises (SAFe). Of particular interest the author took the time to denigrate the SAFe by knocking it for not having a focus on the customer. In fact, the author, Denning, specifically states that he is worried because, “the customer is almost absent.” Denning even went through the effort to point out that the SAFe “only” has the customer represented by this little icon in the Large Solution space.

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