Tag: Featured

Retrospectives @Scale within SAFe® portfolio context

Did you know that the value of facilitating retrospectives is also valuable at scale? In other words, facilitating cross-organizational retrospectives. Improvement is necessary to create better business outcomes. Relentless improvement should be a prime directive in every Lean-Agile organization.

In particular, if you are working within a Lean-Agile SAFe® portfolio you may be familiar with some of the following retrospectives. Others may not be so obvious. The point of which is that we should retro our performance for significant activities/ceremonies. When there are obvious bottlenecks in the system, do a retro, and use wisdom when this is not the case. And remember the easiest way to fail at a retrospective is to neglect to create improvement stories that make their way into the backlog. Continue reading “Retrospectives @Scale within SAFe® portfolio context”


AOS Group Coaching – Week 10 – Marshall Guillory

An extended discussion about the importance of specific leadership & executive support (Deming – knowing the way) of organization transformations from the ongoing Agile Online Summit.


Blogagility Learns: Feedback Loop Markers – Org Mindset Enterprise Coach Class Panel

Prosperity has its benefits. I was blessed with the opportunity to visit beautiful Boulder, CO last week to learn about the Org Mindset body of knowledge from my vlog buddy Alex Yakyma. I promised a few folks I would create a vlog review of the course. I will pull that story in my next iteration. First, I have to pass the exam by next Tuesday! Continue reading “Blogagility Learns: Feedback Loop Markers – Org Mindset Enterprise Coach Class Panel”

vlog #6 – A discussion on Lean Portfolio Management (LPfM) with Alex Yakyma

Big Lake Software sponsored a video log on the topic of Lean Portfolio Management with Alex Yakyma, Founder of Org Mindset, author of “The Rollout”, and Marshall Guillory, Principal Consultant, Enterprise Agility Coach and author at blogagility.com.

This vlog is longer than the normal 2-3 minutes for hard hitting, short timebox coaching videos. The discussion covers quite a bit of ground on five primary topics within LPfM at a fair depth for a little over 32 minutes.

Part 1 Topics:

  1. Define what LPfM is first, in the context of a Lean-Agile transformation or an org mostly demonstrating Lean behavior / Agile behavior 
    1. Is it necessary for every impl. / organization
    2. What size fits? Enterprise? Startups?
  2. Understanding a business’s portfolio(s) relationship between strategy and value streams / mapping
  3. Impediments to implementing LPfM”? 
  4. How to get in front of forecasting with the portfolio coupled with the idea of exploration and validated learning at the highest level in the org.
  5. Options thinking and embracing variability and uncertainty at the portfolio level; exploiting economic opportunities.

2017 Agile Online Summit vlog

This is my (Marshall Guillory) vlog interview and discussion with Tom Henricksen for the 2017 Agile Online Summit – The virtual agile conference. Tom is a very generous gentleman and I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to share my ideas and thoughts with the AOS community. Thank you Tom, we all owe you a debt of gratitude for your efforts!


Also, keep an eye out for my vlog with Alex Yakyma, the author of “The Rollout”, all around nice guy, founder of Org Mindset, and thought leader in the Lean-Agile space.

SAFe® Business Value (BV) & Reflection

I encourage all readers to check out the SAFe® guidance article on the subject before
reading this article. SAFe® and Scaled Agile Framework® are registered trademarks of 
Scaled Agile Inc. Last Updated: Saturday, September 22, 2018

An aside about Business Value & Reflection

Some SAFe® acronyms defined:
Epic Owner (EO), Business Owner (BO), Product Owner (PO), Product Manager(PM), Lean Portfolio Management (LPfM), Scrum master (SM), Release/Solution Train Engineer (RTE/STE), Solution Management (SMg), Business Value (BV), Story Points (SP)

Introduction of Business Value in a SAFe Implementation

We have to understand what business value is before we can explore the nuances of PI Planning and Program Execution in the SAFe. This is important because I have observed anti-patterns of gaming the system. The concept and body of knowledge are sound, but the mental models’ teams adapt when using business value are defective in a way that shows a misunderstanding of intent.

If I had to describe Business Value in SAFe with just one word, I would choose the word ‘trust.’ If we were to further explore ways to understand “business value” we could use words like ‘alignment‘ and ‘collaboration.’ We could easily argue to include all of the core values of SAFe and the Agile Manifesto, but for argument’s sake let us stick with the three points. The Agile Release Train (ART), or team of teams, hypothesizes business value in the form of objectives at PI Planning by collaborating to build alignment in the team of teams. The effectiveness of the business outcome of our collaboration and alignment either builds trust, or it destroys it. This is what the SAFe refers to as ‘predictability.’ An indicator of in or out of control development. But is predictability a strong or deep enough way to describe the intent?

The way in which we objectively communicate the results of our experience (as an ART) in terms of business outcomes is business value and Program Predictability Measure (PPM). In other words, at the Inspect & Adapt event at the end of the PI boundary the teams and more importantly, the ART, are essentially given a Trust Score. Trust is critically important in the value systems we use in SAFe, the Agile Manifesto, and Lean thinking. Without trust, teams (or organizations) never achieve a high-performance state. Trust itself describes a previous outcome, not an input.

In psychology, trust is believing that the person who is trusted will do what is expected. – wikipedia

I believe that thinking about the business outcomes of an ART in terms of trust bears more fruit than thinking in terms of value. I believe there is a tendency of human factors to equate value with monetary or score value. This is the wrong thinking and coaching should drive trustworthy behavior rather than the achievement of a monetary award or winning a game. Continue reading “SAFe® Business Value (BV) & Reflection”