Tag Archives: kanban

LKCE2015 – Jim Benson on different kind of WIP’s

No worries – these LKCE2015 posts won’t be as long as the first one… the talks (videos) have been published online now so these posts will be about what I liked about the talks and how they resonated with me instead of summerizing them.

First off; Jim Benson – I say “limit WIP”, you say “Seriously?”. He was introduced as the stand-up comedian of the leankanban community so expectations for this talk were high on the entertainment scale (and yes – he delivered).

jimbenson-lkce2015Jim presented some very interesting stuff introducing several types of WIP and different ways of handling or management needed for each form. Very recognisable story (since I’m always the annoying guy telling people that working on 10 things for 10 differents people is the surest way of disappointing at least 9 of them). Limiting WIP is hard – and what kind of WIP are we actually talking about? Ah well… its a great talk – you’ll recognise a lot no matter what your role in the organisation is – so just go and see it! Really – just go… it’s ok and the rest of this text will be here until you get back 🙂

There were some fun (and great) takeaways from this talk; and one that resonated big time with me was his remark on the product owner (around 34:25 in the video):

“I said this before, but the product owner is actually the single worst invention in software development history”
Jim Benson during LKCE 2015

To be clear; this wasn’t the single core point made in his talk (not even close) – but it was one of the many things that clicked for me as it relates to the stuff I currently work on. Anyways – I was as “shocked” as the rest of the audience when he said this but this changed to relief on my side pretty to soon. The reasoning behind this statement was the question how it was ever considered a good idea to have one single person know and decide all for a systemen?

I realised that at my current client we actually ran into this and thought of a workable solution for this. What happened is that to allow the product owner to make meaningfull decisions (which actually affect his performance for his client) we ended up with product owners who have mandate over a complete chain of systems from and to the organisations clients. That’s a big scope so the downside to this is that it quickly gets to hard for the PO to know about every detail on everything in his scope. This organisation solved this by providing the PO a team with people who know about these systems and the proces they are adding value to. This team (called a business team) and the PO together act and do the PO job… it’s just the PO who has mandate once someone needs to make a decisions that turns out not to be easy (which I’m convinced won’t happen a lot when you actually think about the work, visualize or order it on a backlog). The business team and the PO do the backlog grooming and all the preparing work for the Delivery teams. Delivery teams which are btw dedicated to that PO and business team (so teams still don’t have more then one PO).

Anyways – don’t shoot me on not following some exact theory or method here, yes we do still run into problems with this setup as well – but main thing: for now it seems the be the best fitting way that works best for most of our teams 🙂

Ah and finally – did I mention this already? Go see the video! (and check him out on twitter as well – his twitter name is @ourfounder)

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Maturity matrix coaching tool

At the customer I’m currently working for I’m part of this team assigned with creating and implementing a organization wide Agile training and coaching program in support of their bigger organization change which includes a broad agile way of working. Exciting stuff, lots of pitfalls for sure, a source for interesting discussions, learning a lot and above all a whole lot of fun. What we as a team ran into during our work was the need for a tool to coach the different teams in a way to let them discover themselves how mature they were with the agile implementation and what they should focus on next.

Kanban - Depth of Kanban Implementation - InstructionsI remembered David Anderson presenting a radar chart as a way to plot the maturity of a Kanban implementation during the Kanban coaching masterclass I attended. Trying to re-discover some of that I ended up at Christophe Achouiantz website where he describes his approach for using the radar chart as a coaching tool – very cool and some really awesome other stuff on his website as well btw. I was already very enthusiastic about the radar chart approach the first time I heard it, Christophe provided some great hints and tips to add to that.

This same past week a colleague of mine and myself ended up at an Agile Holland meeting where we got talking with a consultant describing his visualization tool for the maturity of a scrum team. It turned out he used the somewhat same technique Xebia used within this organization for visualizing DevOps maturity which is matrix approach/presentation that somehow seems to resonate within the organization a lot better then the radar chart I liked so much 🙂

Anyways – we decided we’re gonna put together an Agile maturity matrix specific for this organization to help the teams measure their progress and plan their goals and as an fun exercise I started to transform David’s and Christophe’s radar charts to a Kanban Maturity Matrix. Kanban Maturity MatrixNothing to fancy – and I wholeheartedly believe that everyone should fill, edit, tweak and tune this to their own specific situation. I think this matrix view is a very powerful way of visualizing and representing a maturity level to a team you’re working with.

For full jpg click the image and the powerpoint (incl. empty matrix) is available here for download – feel free to grab, customize and enhance. It would be great if you would let me know if you do!

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