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What to do when it's not you

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There is too much focus on teams in most agile transformations. The best team still delivers poorly in an inefficient environment. My talk is about how to know when the problems you’re facing are outside of the team’s control and I’ll share a set of options for dealing with them, both for senior management and for the team. For senior management, I’ll recommend about half a dozen ideas for systemic improvements. For team members, I’ll share over a dozen ways I’ve found to hack a broken system in order to squeeze the most value out of it.

The talk opens with a very brief introduction to systems thinking, followed by three causes of systemic failure and how to recognize them. Finally, I go through a list of interventions (both for senior leadership and delivery teams) to address upstream, in process, and downstream delays and variability. I sum up with a hopeful message for team members who think they’ve hit the wall of “this is as good as it gets around here.”

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What to do when it's not you

  1. 1. DÉJÀVU
  2. 2. STOCKS AND FLOWS Number of Eggs Number of Chickens Hatching Laying+ + Fatal Road Crossings + - Reinforcing Loop unsustainable virtuous/vicious cycle Balancing Loop stabilises
  3. 3. Crises Heroics Improvement of the system + + B B Expediting + + R Rewards Dependence on heroics for sense of accomplishment - + + R - - Delay Time and attention to system improvements - + R
  4. 4. WHEN DOINGTHE SAME THING BETTER WON’T HELP • Fat-tail lead time distributions • Long average lead time relative to deadlines • High volatility in staff liquidity Because all of these things mean your system is exposed to extreme random events which invalidate your attempts to forecast. In these cases, the solution requires an act of leadership. I learned this from Alexei Zheglov
  5. 5. LEADTIME DISTRIBUTION 75 99 85% FatTail (Weibull k value<1) 2 24 50% Long average
  6. 6. VOLATILE STAFF LIQUIDITY
  7. 7. THE POWERTO DRIVE CHANGE Individuals Teams Executives Single digits Triple digitsDouble digits
  8. 8. IFYOU CAN’T FIX IT, GAME IT
  9. 9. UPSTREAM DELAYS Conduct Strategy Reviews Align strategy and capability Set replenishment points Define acceptance criteria Visualize failure demand Demand shaping policies
  10. 10. UPSTREAM DELAYS SET REPLENISHMENT POINTS Conduct Strategy Reviews Align strategy and capability Set replenishment points Define acceptance criteria Visualize failure demand Demand shaping policies
  11. 11. Conduct Strategy Reviews Align strategy and capability Set replenishment points Define acceptance criteria Visualize failure demand Demand shaping policies UPSTREAM DELAYS DEFINE ACCEPTANCE CRITERIA
  12. 12. Conduct Strategy Reviews Align strategy and capability Set replenishment points Define acceptance criteria Visualize failure demand Demand shaping policies UPSTREAM DELAYS VISUALIZE FAILURE DEMAND
  13. 13. Conduct Strategy Reviews Align strategy and capability Set replenishment points Define acceptance criteria Visualize failure demand Demand shaping policies UPSTREAM DELAYS DEMAND SHAPING POLICIES
  14. 14. Conduct Strategy Reviews Align strategy and capability Set replenishment points Define acceptance criteria Visualize failure demand Demand shaping policies UPSTREAM DELAYS CONDUCT STRATEGY REVIEWS Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels
  15. 15. IN PROCESS DELAYS Measure and predict blockers Raise placeholder tickets Cross-train Make friends - a virtual team Request SLAs WIP limit on parking lot Limit upstream work Customer acceptance criteria More frequent replenishment Floating talent pool Shared services enablement Co-locate Embed More frequent replenishment Customer-centric metrics
  16. 16. IN PROCESS DELAYS MEASURE AND PREDICT BLOCKERS Measure and predict blockers Raise placeholder tickets Cross-train Make friends - a virtual team Request SLAs WIP limit on parking lot Limit upstream work Customer acceptance criteria Floating talent pool Shared services enablement Co-locate Embed More frequent replenishment Customer-centric metrics
  17. 17. IN PROCESS DELAYS MEASURE AND PREDICT BLOCKERS Measure and predict blockers Raise placeholder tickets Cross-train Make friends - a virtual team Request SLAs WIP limit on parking lot Limit upstream work Customer acceptance criteria Floating talent pool Shared services enablement Co-locate Embed More frequent replenishment Customer-centric metrics
  18. 18. IN PROCESS DELAYS RAISE PLACEHOLDER TICKETS Measure and predict blockers Raise placeholder tickets Cross-train Make friends - a virtual team Request SLAs WIP limit on parking lot Limit upstream work Customer acceptance criteria Floating talent pool Shared services enablement Co-locate Embed More frequent replenishment Customer-centric metrics
  19. 19. IN PROCESS DELAYS CROSS-TRAIN Measure and predict blockers Raise placeholder tickets Cross-train Make friends - a virtual team Request SLAs WIP limit on parking lot Limit upstream work Customer acceptance criteria Floating talent pool Shared services enablement Co-locate Embed More frequent replenishment Customer-centric metrics
  20. 20. IN PROCESS DELAYS MAKE FRIENDS AND BUILD A VIRTUAL TEAM Measure and predict blockers Raise placeholder tickets Cross-train Make friends - a virtual team Request SLAs WIP limit on parking lot Limit upstream work Customer acceptance criteria Floating talent pool Shared services enablement Co-locate Embed More frequent replenishment Customer-centric metrics
  21. 21. IN PROCESS DELAYS REQUEST SLAS Measure and predict blockers Raise placeholder tickets Cross-train Make friends - a virtual team Request SLAs WIP limit on parking lot Limit upstream work Customer acceptance criteria Floating talent pool Shared services enablement Co-locate Embed More frequent replenishment Customer-centric metrics
  22. 22. IN PROCESS DELAYS WIP LIMIT ON PARKING LOT Measure and predict blockers Raise placeholder tickets Cross-train Make friends - a virtual team Request SLAs WIP limit on parking lot Limit upstream work Customer acceptance criteria Floating talent pool Shared services enablement Co-locate Embed More frequent replenishment Customer-centric metrics
  23. 23. IN PROCESS DELAYS LIMIT UPSTREAM WORK Measure and predict blockers Raise placeholder tickets Cross-train Make friends - a virtual team Request SLAs WIP limit on parking lot Limit upstream work Customer acceptance criteria Floating talent pool Shared services enablement Co-locate Embed More frequent replenishment Customer-centric metrics
  24. 24. IN PROCESS DELAYS CUSTOMER ACCEPTANCE CRITERIA Measure and predict blockers Raise placeholder tickets Cross-train Make friends - a virtual team Request SLAs WIP limit on parking lot Limit upstream work Customer acceptance criteria Floating talent pool Shared services enablement Co-locate Embed More frequent replenishment Customer-centric metrics
  25. 25. IN PROCESS DELAYS MORE FREQUENT REPLENISHMENT Measure and predict blockers Raise placeholder tickets Cross-train Make friends - a virtual team Request SLAs WIP limit on parking lot Limit upstream work Customer acceptance criteria Floating talent pool Shared services enablement Co-locate Embed More frequent replenishment Customer-centric metrics Thanks to Michał Parkowła for the metaphore
  26. 26. IN PROCESS DELAYS Measure and predict blockers Raise placeholder tickets Cross-train Make friends - a virtual team Request SLAs WIP limit on parking lot Limit upstream work Customer acceptance criteria Floating talent pool Shared services enablement Co-locate Embed Customer-centric metrics
  27. 27. IN PROCESS DELAYS FLOATING TALENT POOL Measure and predict blockers Raise placeholder tickets Cross-train Make friends - a virtual team Request SLAs WIP limit on parking lot Limit upstream work Customer acceptance criteria Floating talent pool Shared services enablement Co-locate Embed More frequent replenishment Customer-centric metrics
  28. 28. IN PROCESS DELAYS SHARED SERVICES ENABLEMENT Measure and predict blockers Raise placeholder tickets Cross-train Make friends - a virtual team Request SLAs WIP limit on parking lot Limit upstream work Customer acceptance criteria Floating talent pool Shared services enablement Co-locate Embed More frequent replenishment Customer-centric metrics
  29. 29. IN PROCESS DELAYS CUSTOMER-CENTRIC METRICS Measure and predict blockers Raise placeholder tickets Cross-train Make friends - a virtual team Request SLAs WIP limit on parking lot Limit upstream work Customer acceptance criteria Floating talent pool Shared services enablement Co-locate Embed More frequent replenishment Customer-centric metrics
  30. 30. DOWNSTREAM DELAYS Devops Reconsider metrics Earn trust Keep an open window Deploy often
  31. 31. DOWNSTREAM DELAYS EARN TRUST Earn trust Keep an open window Deploy often Devops Reconsider metrics
  32. 32. DOWNSTREAM DELAYS KEEP AN OPEN WINDOW Earn trust Keep an open window Deploy often Devops Reconsider metrics
  33. 33. DOWNSTREAM DELAYS DEPLOY OFTEN Earn trust Keep an open window Deploy often Devops Reconsider metrics Thanks to Wiktor Żołnowski for the metaphor
  34. 34. DOWNSTREAM DELAYS DEVOPS Earn trust Keep an open window Deploy often Devops Reconsider metrics
  35. 35. DOWNSTREAM DELAYS RECONSIDER METRICS Earn trust Keep an open window Deploy often Devops Reconsider metrics
  36. 36. SO MANY OPTIONS! 2 24 75 99 50% 85% Improve coordination with a key shared service
  37. 37. SO MANY OPTIONS! 2 12 60 80 50% 85% Deploy daily
  38. 38. SO MANY OPTIONS! 2 12 52 80 50% 85% On-demand replenishment
  39. 39. SO MANY OPTIONS! 2 8 38 68 50% 85%
  40. 40. THANKYOU

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