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.Read the rest of this entry »
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?Read the rest of this entry »
the experiments are complete… blogagility.com fails.
Hello everyone! I have made a decision after much thought and quite a few experiments over the past few years. I am setting the blog to free mode and will no longer be posting content on a regular basis. I may still post if there is a topic that is of particular interest or that I’m passionate about. Emphasis on may post. I’ve found LinkedIn to provide access to a bigger audience so I’ll probably post there if anywhere.
It has been an interesting set of experiments over the years trying different things to drive product development of the blog. It seems that the primary driver of users are either really good content, or just highly controversial topics. Good content takes time to build and deploy. Controversy is easy and drives lots of discussion but has the negative aspect of also bringing out the very worst in people. I have no interest supporting anything negative or controversy. At this time in my life I also cannot justify all of the extra time and effort away from my family producing good content for free.
The business plan renewal for blogagility.com is coming up in September. The sunk cost in services every year is around $400 which isn’t much at all. It’s the time involved in maintenance and production of content that is very expensive. Figure $20,000-$30,000 per year.
From a product development perspective the desired outcome of this blog was more engagement from the Lean-Agile community (in context) that would enable more learning and opportunity for everyone. From my perspective, this was a dismal failure. Engagement on the blog and linked articles from social media has been very poor for the most part for the past five years (since 2014). As you can see from the charts there are around 1,500 regular unique visitors to the blog every month. The spikes were either content or controversial content generated. ALL of the bigger spikes in engagement were controversial context related. Which is really sad.
Last year I sent out a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey via article and numerous repostings on social media. The final result was only 10 respondents and an NPS of -30. That is not good.
Thank you to blog supporters
There have been some positive outcomes from the blog. I did send out a few t-shirts and there were a few supporters who provided content and others who sent money. For all blogagility.com supporters, I thank you sincerely!
Pivot or Persevere
Pivot is the clear choice. I am going to invest my time and energy in other ways of engaging with the community. I will still be on LinkedIn and the SAFe Communities, and I will be ramping up my support of various Lean-Agile Meetups across the US.
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.
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).Read the rest of this entry »
There is a bunch of Apple hype recently coming out of the most recent WWDC event, or perhaps all of them?. Like the new $6,000 cheese grater (super, sigh). I’m a bit of an Apple ecosystem fan so I noticed something in an article that we can use as an example for that common question SPC’s get from teams and Product Managers. How do I write a SMART PI Objective?Read the rest of this entry »
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.Read the rest of this entry »