Speaking at Agile2014

Agile 2014

I’m going to be at Agile2014 in Orlando this year – the first time for a few years – and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with lots of people I haven’t seen for a very long time. If you see me, make sure you say “hi!”.

This post is to highlight a couple of things I’ll be doing there, or at least one thing I hope to be doing, and one I’ll definitely be!

First the hope. I’ve submitted a Pecha Kucha on Heuristics for Kanban Thinking, with which I want to introduce the questions asked on the Kanban Canvas. Here’s the description:

This talk will explore how heuristics can be used to frame Kanban Thinking and enable a problem solving capability. I will introduce a set questions which can be used to encourage creative thinking from multiple perspectives, from understanding the problems, to imagining the desired impacts and then designing potential interventions.

Please vote this up to help it get chosen. Otherwise I’ll just have to find another way of talking about the canvas (although I’ll probably run an Open Jam session anyway!).

Secondly, the definite. I’m running a workshop on the Enterprise Agile stage with my friend and former Rally colleague Rachel Weston Rowell. (Its on Tuesday Jul 29, 14:00-15.15 in Osceola A). The topic is Getting the X-Factor: Corporate Planning for the Agile Business. Here’s the description:

The pace of change is accelerating as technology advances, the economy becomes more global and markets become increasingly disruptive. As a result organisations are surviving for dramatically shorter periods of times. For example the average lifespan of organisations on the Standard and Poors 500 index has reduced by over 50 years on the last century, from 67 to 15 years. To survive, businesses need to change the way they operate at a corporate level, as well as becoming more Agile in their delivery capability. This involves moving to a model of co-creating and deploying an evolving corporate strategy, rather than centrally selecting and defining its rigid implementation, in order to create clear alignment, transparency and adaptability.

Join Karl and Rachel as they share the latest learnings from Rally Software’s journey of evolving their quarterly planning and steering. They will introduce one tool they have recently discovered and had positive experiences with, the X-matrix, through which strategy deployment can be achieved. This is a simple, single A3 page format, which visualises the correlations and contributions between strategies, tactics, improvements, results and departments. In this session you will work through completing an X-matrix for an example organisation.

Please come along! We ran this at RallyON, got great feedback, and had a lot of fun.


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2013 Year in Blogging

I  received my WordPress 2013 Annual Report a few days ago and there are a couple interesting things I noticed in it.

First, the top 3 most popular posts are all from three years ago, or older. In particular, the most popular post continues to both surprise and please me. Its the “Kanban, Flow and Cadence” post where I first really started to flesh out my thinking on Kanban, and while many of the ideas have moved on significantly since then, I can still find the roots of the current Kanban Thinking model in there. The other two posts, “What is Cadence” and “Fidelity – The Lost Dimension of the Iron Triangle” just surprise me. I’d love to discover what it is about those two posts that keeps bringing people back to them.

Second, I only wrote 12 new posts last year. That’s significantly fewer than I would have liked. Especially as one of them was  a post like this one talking about my 2012 report. In fact, going back and looking at that report I see I wrote 30 posts last year, so very roughly, my writing output has dropped by half. That’s very disappointing and something that I hope to address in 2014. One way I intend to do that is by starting to use 750words.com to help get the writing habit (or even addiction). In fact this post is taken from my first 750words entry. The other way is to get focussed back on my Kanban Thinking book. I’m confident that I’m in a much better position to be able to do that this year and its more than just another wishful hope. I have a method!

Thanks for reading this blog – especially if you are a regular reader! I hope everyone has a successful 2014. Here’s to more blogging over the next 12 months.

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The LSS Reactor Conference – Tell Us Your Stories

Lean Systems Society Reactor Conference

The Lean Systems Society is hosting a conference in Boulder in September, and as part of the event we are capturing stories about people’s experiences with Lean-Systems. This post is to give some more details on what its all about.

First, who are the Lean Systems Society?

Essentially we are a non-profit organisation trying to bring diverse Lean-Systems thinkers together, be a catalyst for new ideas, and then promote those ideas. A phrase we’ve been using recently to describe when we mean by Lean-Systems is “value first, people-based systems”. A key part of the Society is the Fellowship, a group of people we recognise as having done great work in this area.

Next, what is the Reactor Conference?

The idea is that this will not be a traditional “talking heads” conference but an opportunity for people to actively participate in working with the Fellows and other leaders in exploring or creating something new. The name Reactor comes form the idea that we want to create a container within which a reaction will happen to create new energy. Think “Nuclear Reactor” (but without any negative connotations!). We hope it will be a pretty unique event.

Finally, why the story capture?

One of the ways we are facilitating this is through Cognitive Edge’s SenseMaker technology, using it to capture stories of peoples experiences with Lean-Systems, and then explore the patterns from those stories. Thus, the stories will guide the conversations and work at the conference. The more we have, the better the conference will be, and the more likely we are to generate valuable outcomes.

Please register for the conference if you can, and tell us your stories even if you can’t attend the conference.

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Agile.FM Podcast: Agile Day NYC and Kanban Thinking

Podcast in Retro

Photo Credit: themaccraic-david

I recently met up with Joe Krebs in London and recorded a podcast with him. Joe is organising the Agile Day NYC conference which I will be speaking at in September (straight after RallyON). As well as the conference, we talked about Kanban Thinking, the subject of my talk there, and the Lean Systems Society Reactor Conference, which is also coming up in September.

Listen to the podcast, and hopefully I’ll see you at one of the event next month.

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3 Reasons Not To Miss RallyON Europe

RallyON Europe 2013

In September I’m going to be involved in the second RallyON Europe conference which we are running in London again. This year’s theme is “Scaling an Agile Organisation”, and I expect that it will be another great event. Here are 3 reasons I’m particularly looking forward to it.

Bjarte Bogsnes Keynote. I’ve known Bjarte for a few years now, and he’s a fellow LSS Fellow. Its a real coup to get him as our keynote. I’ve always found him to be an informative and entertaining speaker and I’m sure he’ll deliver once again. Beyond Budgeting, the topic of his talk, is an approach to management which is incredibly compatible with Lean and Agile approaches, and absolutely necessary to successfully scale an agile organisation.

A Guide to Achieving Flow. I’m going to be co-presenting this brand new session with Sallyann Freudenberg. This will be the first public airing of a new game we have co-created. Sal has taken a game I created years ago and spiced it up with Lego. Why would you not want to come and play with Lego while learning about flow?

People, Practice and Technology. Its a real pleasure at the moment to be part of an organisation which is focussing on helping to build agile businesses. The agenda is full of sessions which go beyond team agility to how the combination of people, practice and technology combine to scale an agile organisation. Come and find out more about topics such as the Agile Portfolio Management, the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Devops, Metrics and Agile Leadership.

There are also a number of training courses scheduled to follow the conference, with the some great prices that include the conference registration. And if you want to attend as a group there are also discounts available. And if you use the code SPEAKER50 you can get $50 off. Register today, and I hope to see you there.


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Agile Central Europe Keynote

I’m really honoured to have been asked to give the closing keynote at this year’s Agile Central Europe conference in Kraków, Poland, 15-16 April 2013. ACE has a strong Kanban theme this year and I am going to ask whether Kanban isn’t just commons sense?

Kanban: Isn’t it Just Common Sense?
Many problems we are trying to solve in software and product development are complex, with no obvious solution. As a result it is not possible or appropriate to simply define and follow best or good practice. Instead me must think in terms of heuristics to discover contextual solutions. I will describe how we can use Kanban as a set of heuristics to learn what those solutions are.
If you can make it, please use the discount code “ACE!25KS” to get 25 EUR off the price. That’s a 10% discount if you book before April 8th. Then the price goes up from 250 EUR to 350 EUR. So register before April 8th to save 125 EUR!
I also have a free morning in Kraków on Wed April 17. If you know of any interesting organisations I could go and visit to share and learn, I’d love to know!
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Agile Toolkit Podcast on Visual Management

Last June I spent the week in Las Vegas at the Agile Development Practices and ended up hanging out with Bob Payne and doing a podcast with him where we talked about visual management techniques, including Visualisation TIPs.

Bob has just published that podcast. Enjoy!

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I’ll be at Agile India 2013

I’m really excited to be able to make my first visit to India to participate in the Agile India 2013 Conference, which is 27 Feb – 2 Mar in Bengaluru. I’ll be giving a talk on “5 Kanban Leverage Points: Making a Project Impact“, running a workshop on “Applied Kanban Thinking“, moderating a panel and giving a couple of Rally demos. Its going to be busy!

Its going to be a great event to learn about Kanban. As well as my 2 day workshop which will allow participants to practice Kanban Thinking to design a Kanban System, Masa Maeda is also running a 1 day workshop on “Kanban for Success” which will introduce the foundations of the Kanban Method. And what’s even better is they don’t clash, so it’s possible to attend both, learn the basics with Masa, and then apply what you’ve learned with me!

Here’s some more info about the conference:


At Asia’s largest & premier international conference on Agile and Lean Software Development methods. Starting Feb 26th 2013 in Bangalore

Agile India 2013 is a refreshing, yet intense 4-day conferences where you can:

  • Learn from experts like Craig Larman, Mary Poppendieck, Rebecca Parsons, Fred George, Jeff Patton, Jez Humble, Linda Rising, Naresh Jain, Neal Ford, Venkat Subramaniam and many other Agile Thought Leaders...
  • Network & share your knowledge and experience with over 1500 international delegates from literally every software company practicing or exploring Agile & Lean.
  • Explore diverse and interesting solutions and contribute to the future of Agile software development.

Full Conference Program: http://betterconf.com/agileindia2013/index.html (PDF)

Last few seats left, register at: http://booking.agilefaqs.com/view/index.php

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2012 Year In Blogging

As a WordPress, and Jetpack user, I had a 2012 annual report generated for me. A quick summary is:

  • 30 posts
  • 528 views on Feb 2nd.

The top 5 most-viewed posts were:

  1. Kanban, Flow and Cadence
  2. What is Cadence
  3. The Science of Kanban – Introduction
  4. Running the Ball Flow Game
  5. The Anatomy of an MMF
I find it interesting to see those older posts in the list. You can find the full report here, including other fascinating facts!
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Upcoming Rallying Adventures

As a coach with Rally Software, I get to work with an amazing group of people on a variety of projects. I’d like to highlight a few of those which I am particularly looking forward to at the moment.

RallyON Europe


RallyON is an event we have hosted in Boulder for the last few years, as a way of bringing together our customers and friends to share experiences and learn from each other. Its been hugely successful, not to mention fun, and I’m excited that we are able to host a version in Europe for our more local customers and friends. We’ll be in London, October 11th, and Dean Leffingwell is also attending as well as giving Scaled Agile Framework training the same week.

For more details, and to register, have a look at the event website.

Kanban System Design Training


At Rally, I’ve been able to work with a variety of organisations, while always applying Kanban Thinking.  My colleagues have too, and its been rewarding to be able to share our individual learnings and collectively come up with better ideas than I certainly could not come up with on my own. Typically, our Kanban specific work comes in the for Kanban System Design workshops, helping collaborative groups apply Kanban Thinking to their contexts. We are now ready to take a similar approach, but as a public training class, and the first one has just been scheduled which I’ll be teaching in Amsterdam, November 28th-29th.

For more details, and to register, have a look at the course page.

Agile for Business Book


I’ll say some more about this in another post tomorrow…

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