Category: Organization Mindset

Learning from the deep ocean of failure

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.

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

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

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

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

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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Hertz hits Accenture with $32 million lawsuit over failed website redesign – TechSpot

This is a case where leadership completely failed in two major organizations. Some argue for completely flat (eg #gameofnothrones) organizations bereft of a true leadership team. We can’t have it both ways as “agilists.” Leadership is a function necessary in complex organizations. The key in de-scaling is Lean and Systems Thinking, not eliminating critical functions.

The lawsuit states that in early 2016, Hertz began an ambitious project to transform its digital identity. Lacking the internal expertise and resources to carry out the work itself, Hertz picked Accenture from a list of potential candidates to design,…

Source: Hertz hits Accenture with $32 million lawsuit over failed website redesign – TechSpot

Team building patterns for SAFe®

Here are some patterns to think about the next time you are planning an Agile Release Train (ART) launch. The ART launch should be preceded by a successful value stream identification workshop. Even still, old mental models may prevail that are deeply embedded in the culture of the organization.

Mechanical Scrum

Mechanical Scrum is bad for everyone.

You cannot force or assign shared ownership. Management must learn to trust her people and the system. An appropriate quote follows.

Edward Lorenz’s original metaphor for a chaotic system—the world’s weather where the nonlinear nature of forces potentially makes it possible for a butterfly in Beijing to affect the weather a few days later in New York—managers today seem to be living in fear of butterflies.

A potential misstep in launching an ART is allowing management to “assign” team members to teams based off of an overly simplistic view of the value stream or a set of unmanaged assumptions. If the knowledge workers know the work best, then leadership and management should allow the team to be part of the conversation and part of the decision-making process (SAFe Principle #9) for organizing and aligning the ART to the value stream.

This involves a process of self-organization. It is more than just a sequence of steps. If an organizations creation is facilitated mechanically through process steps, then the result will be uncommitted teams and forced misalignment.

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