Rally and other Announcements

I have a few announcements so I thought I’d group them together into a single post.

  1. Firstly, I’m really excited that I’m going to be joining the Rally team in the UK. I’ve had a good couple of years with Conchango / EMC Consulting, but its time to move on, and I believe Rally are doing some great things in the Lean and Kanban space, especially with the recent acquisition of AgileZen. I’m really looking forward to working with Ryan Martens, Jean Tabaka and the rest of the Agile Coaching team.
  2. Next, I’m going to be at Agile2010 and will be running a workshop Exploring the Kanban Multiverse with Xavier Quesada Allue. Its an evolution of Xavier’s Visual Management workshop from last year’s conference, with some updates that have been used at XP Day London and the Orlando Scrum Gathering. I’m also going to helping out with the bag packing on the Sunday before the conference. This is a repeat of something we did last year where we applied Lean and Kanban thinking to bag packing process and learned a load and had lots of fun in the process. If you’re around the hotel, come and find us and join in!
  3. Finally, the LeanSSC 2010 UK conference was a success and the materials and videos can be found on the Limited WIP Society.

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CfP: LESS2010 – International Conference on Lean Enterprise Software and Systems

This is a belated announcement about LESS2010, whose Call for Papers for LESS2010 closes tomorrow – June 15th.

LESS2010 is the International Conference on Lean Enterprise Software and Systems, in collaboration with the Lean Software and Systems Consortium (LeanSSC), to be held October 17-20, Helsinki, Finland. CfP details can be found at http://less2010.leanssc.org/call_for_papers/ with submission details at http://less2010.leanssc.org/submit/.

Note that we have clarified the submission requirements. The instructions should be used as a guide. However, content is more important than style initially, so submit whatever is best to give us a good idea of your proposal. Any accepted submissions will need to eventually be expanded and conform to Springer’s LNBIP format for publication.

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Did I Mention The LeanSSC?

I’ve just posted an entry on the LeanSSC blog, introducing myself, and talking about my involvement with the group. Its the first of what I hope will be a series of posts introducing a number of the founder members of the Lean Software & Systems Consortium. The goal is to create some more visibility and transparency of who the LeanSSC is and what we are trying to achieve. In addition we have created a public Yahoo! Group where we hope that we can more openly discuss the ideas advocated by the LeanSSC.

While I’m talking about the LeanSSC, I should highlight that if you’re thinking of going to the Atlanta conference and haven’t booked yet, the price gores up again in April. Book now while you can at $995. And if you’re not thinking of going, why not?!? The program looks excellent, and having just begun piecing together my talk, I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll be bringing together some ideas on visual management kanban board techniques which I’m calling the Kanban Multiverse.

An added benefit of coming to t he conference is that the Technical Advisory Board is also meeting at the same venue on April 20th (Tuesday) and is open to all conference attendees. To attend all you need to do is to show up a day earlier, and to register for the conference and collect your badge on Tuesday. The registration desk volunteers will direct you to the room for the TAB meeting.

I hope to see you there!

http://atlanta2010.leanssc.org/
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Scrum Gathering Musings

I came away from the Scrum Gathering last week feeling surprisingly positive about the future of the Scrum Alliance. All in all it was a very enjoyable conference, and my overall impression was of a community which is more open and inclusive than I have perceived it to be for a long time. Talking to Tobias Mayer at the end he put it quite nicely – the Scrum Alliance is about transforming the world of work, and not about defining Scrum.

My Kanban Deep Dive seemed to be well received. I had a great group who were very engaged and willing to enter into the spirit of lively debate, including Jean Tabaka, Lasse Koskela and Jurgen Appelo. My goal was not to “teach” Kanban, but to explore some of the key elements, and how they compare to Scrum. After some inspection and adaptation, the discussions centred around “how will these ideas change the way I work?” It was interesting to hear some diverse opinions and discover how people would take away what we covered. I also came up with a new format inspired by Kanban – the Kanban Konversation – a pull-based variation of the Goldfish Bowl. I’ve blog about this separately.

Other sessions I went to included a couple on Lean Thinking and Scrum, including a great summary of Statistical Control Charts by Mark Strange – something I never thought I would see discussed openly within the Scrum Community! Mike Cottmeyer also hosted a useful OpenSpace session on Scaling Agile in which we explored his ideas about using a Kanban approach to co-ordinate Agile Enterprises.

The OpenSpace itself was hosted by Harrison Owen, creator of the format, and it was insightful to hear him talk about its origins, and how he typically uses it. I liked the more fluid way of creating the market place. Proposers were limited to stating the problem they wanted to discuss, and their name – no rambling descriptions or explanations. The market place itself was had no explicit schedule – proposers just added a post-it with a time and location to their problem. The schedule seemed to self-organise into more of a structure later on. One thought I had was that OpenSpace as used by the Agile community may itself be overkill for how we use it. I’ve never been to an Agile OpenSpace in which we needed to solve a specific problem by yesterday. Rather they are forum for open conversations on a variety of topics relevant to the conference and community. Much like the conversations I generally find mysefl involved in over a beer (or Mohito this time) in the evening. I wonder what would happen if we simple hired a bar for a couple of evening and people came along for a drink and a chat? Oh wait, that’s XTC!

To sum up my thoughts after the Scrum Gathering, it seems to me that the Scrum Community is now seeing itself as part of the picture, and not he whole picture, which can only be a good thing.

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LeanSSC Atlanta 2010 and other Conferences

I’ve just updated my Calendar page with where I’m speaking this year so far (or hoping to), and thought it would be worth adding some more details in a post.

Atlanta 2010 SpeakerThe conference I’m most looking forward to is the inaugural LeanSSC Conference in Atlanta in April (21-23) which is the place to find out about “the next wave of process innovation”: Lean, Pull Systems and Kanban.

If you are interested in applying Lean concepts to software and systems development then this is the conference to attend. It will have the best people in Lean and Kanban, and the best and largest quantity of Lean content. A significant number of the speakers are not part of the regular Agile community so this is your chance to see them. Here’s some other reasons why you might want to go:

  • Learn lean development approaches with a focus on scientific, model based solutions.
  • See how to tailor lean methods to your unique work situation.
  • Find proven approaches that let development and management work together on a system design level.
  • Get pragmatic, actionable advice, delivered by people with field experience presenting metrics and data.

I’ll be giving a new talk on “A Kanban Multiverse”. Here’s the abstract:

Wikipedia defines a Multiverse as the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes that together comprise everything that physically exists: the entirety of space and time, all forms of matter, energy and momentum, and the physical laws and constants that govern them. A Kanban Multiverse can be defined as the hypothetical set of multiple possible Kanban Boards that together comprise everything that physically could be visualised: the entirety of scope and time, all forms of work type, status and flow, and the organisational laws and constants that govern them. This talk will explore how a single Kanban Board might visualise these multiple aspects in a limited and constrained space.

The other exciting conference for me is going to be the Scrum Gathering in Orlando next month (match 8-10). I’m really honoured to have invited to run a deep dive workshop on Kanban. Its going to be structured round what I refer to as the Five Primary Practices (see here and here), with exercises and discussion to explore how Kanban Systems are compatible with Scrum.

The other two confirmed conferences are ACCU 2010 and SPA 2010 where I’ll be talking about Five Steps to Kanban and running a Kanban Game respectively.

Finally, its the Agile2010 submission process at the moment. I have two submissions in, and am a panel member on a third. If you have a user account (why wouldn’t you? :)) please give them feedback to help them get accepted!

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Lean Software & Systems Conference 2010 Atlanta

The first Lean Software & Systems Conference will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA between April 21st and 23rd 2010.

Registration and the Call for Papers is now open at atlanta2010.leanssc.org

The first 50 registrants enjoy a super early discount rate of $800 plus entry to the exclusive speaker luncheon and a special limited edition Ltd WIP Society t-shirt, sponsored by David J. Anderson & Associates.

The Call for papers closes on December 14th.

Use the Twitter search tag #lssc10 to filter tweets about the event. Follow @lssc10 on Twitter for news from the organizing team.

If you are speaking or attending the conference you might like to tell people about it by adding these buttons to your web site design. If you want to use these assets on your site just paste the HTML code provided straight into your web source code or content management system.

Source: <a href=”http://atlanta2010.leanssc.org/”><img alt=”Atlanta 2010 Attendee” src=”http://www.agilemanagement.net/lssc10/Atlanta2010Attendee.png” border=”0? /></a>

Atlanta 2010 Attendee

Source: <a href=”http://atlanta2010.leanssc.org/”><img alt=”Atlanta 2010 Speaker” src=”http://www.agilemanagement.net/lssc10/Atlanta2010Speaker.png” border=”0? /></a>

Atlanta 2010 Speaker

Conference Chair: David J. Anderson

Track Chairs: Alan Shalloway, Joshua Kerievsky, James Sutton, Eric Willeke, Chris Shinkle, Richard Turner & David Anderson

Event Planner: Kelly Wilson
Organizing Sponsor: Software Engineering Professionals (SEP)
Event Team: Dennis Stevens, Janice Linden-Reed, Aaron Sanders, Eric Landes

Sponsorship opportunities email info@leanssc.org

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Skills Matter Lean and Kanban Exchange

I’m going to be speaking as part of the Skills Matter Lean and Kanban Exchange on December 1st. From their website:

The aim of the Lean & Kanban eXchange is to promote awareness and adoption of Lean and Kanban ideas and techniques. With David J. Anderson providing the conference keynote and two Parkbench sessions, the programme is structured to encourage discussion and bring together the leading thinkers and passionate members of the UK Agile, Lean & Kanban community. With a maximum number of 125 delegates, we aim to provide an informal and intimate environment where you can share experience, demonstrate new ideas and techniques, talk to the experts and generally have lots of fun.

There are still a few places left. If you’re in or around London, I’ll hopefully see you there.

Lean Kanban Exchange

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#lkuk09 – A Tweetrospective

I ended up making notes at the Lean & Kanban UK Conference with good old fashioned pen an paper. Rather than try and write up those notes into something coherent and meaningful, I have decided to write them up in the style of a twitter stream. These are the things I would have tweeted if I’d been on my laptop. The quantity of “tweets” in no way represents the quality of the presentations. I also make no promises that all of the following “tweets” are actually <= 140 chars!

Monday

Mary Poppendieck – The The Tyranny of the Plan

  • Plans – what did construction do before computers?
  • Eliminate design loops by consulting experts early
  • Design for decoupling workflow
  • Cash Flow Thinking – Cost of Delay
  • Design based on constraints of situation
  • Establish a reliable workflow 1st
  • Schedule is orthogonal to workflow
  • Build schedules based on experience, not wishful thinking
  • Variance from plan is a learning opportunity, not a performance failure
  • Reliable workflow – output, pathway, connection, method, improvement – Steven Spears, Chasing the Rabbit
  • Polaris Success – Quality of Leadership, Focus on deployment, Decentralised Competitive Org, Emphasis on Reliability, Esprit de Corps

Alan Shalloway – Creating a Model to Understand Product (and Software) Development

  • 3 types of value: Discover what a customer needs, Discover how to build it, Build it

Jeff Patton – Lean Product Discovery

  • There is a difference between Delivery & Discovery
  • Undelivered software is a solution hypothesis (usually incorrect)
  • Include discovery in the VSM
  • Market demand = pull (but is post delivery)
  • “Lets go to marble”
  • Discovery Kanban + Delivery Kanban
  • Visualisation creates collaboration
  • Storyotype 1: Bare Necessity – minimally demo-able
  • Storyotype 2: Capability + Flexibility – options-
  • Storyotype 3: Safety – invisible
  • Storyotype 4: Usability, Appeal, Performance – differentiating
  • Chess analogy – Opening Game, Mid Game, End Game
  • Use options when cost of iteration and failure is high

John Seddon – Re-thinking Lean Service

  • If you manage costs, costs go up
  • Failure demand is a signal
  • Incentivising workers get less work done
  • Predictable failure demand is preventable
  • Lean is getting a bad brand
  • The only plan is to get knowledge
  • Improve flow – walk the flow
  • Pull the help, keep the work
  • Do “productivity” tools improve productivity?
  • Make them curious

Tuesday

Don Reinertsen – Second Generation Lean Product Development: From Cargo Cult to Science

  • Understand causal relationships and salient phenomena
  • Scientific v Faith (Science Free) based approaches
  • Faith based = Cargo Cult
  • Every system has Push / Pull interfaces
  • No bad tools, only wrong times to use them
  • In Product Development, Requirements are a degree of freedom
  • Inventory is information and invisible (physically and financially)
  • Agile practitioners are going a better job at LPD than LM practitioners
  • In engineering we are making economical (Profit + Loss) decisions and we have no clue what we are doing
  • Quality = Process x People – If either drops to 0, the quality of the result will drop to 0
  • Don’t tolerate initiative – demand it
  • Chief Engineer doesn’t know better than the customer

Kenji Hiranabe – Learning Kaizen from Toyota

  • Balance process control and process improvement
  • Management fosters human potential
  • Go to the gemba != PowerPoint
  • To know and to understand are different
  • Think within your constraint

Hal Macomber – Lessons from Target Value Design

  • Meld planning with execution + control
  • What signals do we pay attention to?
  • Articulate + activate the network of commitment
  • Only start work when it is in the condition to be finished.
  • Embrace the contradictions of Lean
  • Focus on tool users, not the tools
  • PDSA – Study, don’t Check
  • Creating constraints creates innovations
  • Create constraints so that we can do our work
  • Don’t open the trenches until you know you can fill them

Marc Baker – Lean Thinking: what is distinctive about it and where it is going?

  • Pull means take the payment first
  • Visual controls mean that nothing is hidden
  • Standardised tasks are the foundation of employee autonomy
  • Go see, ask why, show respect
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Balanced Software Development

Agile2009 provided me with 3 sources of ideas which all complemented each other, and which I think make an important point that I want to repeat.

Firstly, on the flight over, I read John Shook’s blog post about his work with Starbucks. In it, he responds to the suggestion that by advising Starbucks on using Lean methods, he is transforming them into a robotic fast food joint like McDonalds. That suggestion sounds similarly like the common claim that Kanban transforms software development back into a robotic process. The piece that stood out for me was this:

Toyota combined old IE Scientific Management principles and techniques with social dimensions appropriate for the modern world. Even workers who do “manual labor” with their hands are knowledge workers. Front-line employees become the scientists.
By redefining roles, Toyota changed the answer to the question of who is the scientist in scientific management.

In other words, Scientific Management is still relevant for knowledge work, when the workers are the scientists. That keeps the balance between the Process and the People.

Secondly, Alistair Cockburn talked about three pillars of Effective Software Development in the 21st Century in his Agile2009 keynote. The 3 pillars are:

  • Cooperative Game
  • Craft
  • Lean Processes

Again, this to me demonstrated the need for a balance between the People and Process focussed elements.

Finally, I attended Jon Dahl’s talk on Aristotle and the Art of Software Development. This focussed on the differing ethical philosophies of Kant, and Mill and Aristotle:

  • Kant looked at the Acts, known as Deontology. This can be equated to looking at Process.
  • Mill looked at the Effect, known as Utilitarianism. This can be equated to looking at Outcome.
  • Aristotle looked a the Actor, known as Virtue. This can be equated to looking at the Participant.

Chatting with Matt Wynne after the talk, we both had the same thought. While individuals will probably sway to one form of these philosophies, there is room for all of them, and again, a balance is good. I would even go so far as mapping the three philosophies on to Alistair’s three pillars.

  • Deontology is Lean Processes
  • Utilitarianism is Craft
  • Virtue is the Cooperative Game

In many of the recent discussion I have seen and been involved in on Lean and Agile, and Kanban in particular, it seems to me that most of the debate is because the various participants are talking from the perspective of one of these pillars or philosophies. We should remember that they are all important, and that achieving the right balance is what is going to help us be successful in delivering valuable software.

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Reflections on #Agile2009

I’m just about recovered from Agile 2009, and about to disappear off the grid for a much needed break in the sun. Before I do so, I wanted to jot down my immediate reflections on the conference while they were still fresh.

The conversations in between sessions are always great at the Agile conferences, but this year, I think these conversations were the main highlights for me. I met lots of new people who I’d only previously known online, as well as re-acquainting myself with people who I usually only see once a year. My top 3 highlights were:

  1. Discussing team maturity and explicit and implicit Kanban WIP limits with Alistair Cockburn.
  2. Splitting hairs on the finer points of Lean (Kanban) and Theory of Constraints (Drum Buffer Rope) with Mike Cottmeyer (apparently it was a highlight for Mike as well)
  3. Debating all sorts of ideas around Kanban with Arlo Belshee and Bonnie Aumann – including drawing on beer mats and using beer glasses and other implements to aid visual representation.

As far as scheduled sessions went, Mary Poppendieck gave a good talk on Workflow and Scheduling in which she nicely transitioned from a time-boxed schedule to a kanban work-flow using a form of cumulative flow diagram. Jon Dahl also gave a thought provoking talk on Aristotle and the Art of Software Development, which for me tied in nicely with Alistair Cockburn’s keynote, and some other thoughts I’ve recently had. I’m planning on blogging more on both these topics more when I get back off holiday. See you then…

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