Book

Doing It

I first learned about Ralph van Roosmalen and his work when I participated in a video chat about ”Exploration Days”, hosted by Jurgen Appelo. Ralph is passionate about Management 3.0, and now he has written a book about his learnings called ”Doing It – Management 3.0 Experiences”. The book has 157 pages, with foreword by Jurgen Appelo, and was released in 2017.

”Doing

Content

The book consists of 13 chapters, and I thought that I should give you a short description to each and one of them.

1. Management 3.0? Huh, what?

Ralph starts out with setting the arena and tells what Management 3.0 is. In short: ”Management 3.0 is about engaging people, improving everything, and delighting the customers.” This short and to the point introduction also have references for more information.

2. What is the role of a Manager?

Management 3.0 highlights six areas for you as a manager to focus on:

  1. Energizing people
  2. Empowering teams
  3. Aligning constraints
  4. Developing competence
  5. Growing structure
  6. Improving everything

3. Move your Motivators

This chapter introduces The Moving Motivators game. This is connected to the first management area: energizing people. It has ten motivators (the CHAMPFROGS model):

  1. Curiosity
  2. Honor
  3. Acceptance
  4. Mastery
  5. Power
  6. Freedom
  7. Relatedness
  8. Order
  9. Goal
  10. Status

4. Surprise your team during their next review?

When it’s time for the review meeting, the first question you ask your team member is, “How are you doing?” They respond, “Er … good…” Then you say, “Okay, why good?” “Just good, you know … good.” Does this sound familiar?

Do you recognise yourself in the quote above? Then this chapter can help you make the review meeting fun again.

5. Traditional HR combined with Management 3.0

Here you will learn more about Delegation Boards. ”In short, just think of them as a spreadsheet that vertically lists the decision areas that you want to delegate to others, while the horizontal axis sets the amount of independence a team lead has.”

6. Implementing Cudo Cards

Next up is an introduction to Cudo Cards, a peer-to-peer rewarding system.

7. Visualise values and name your team

To get a team together you need to find the team values and then visualise them. Here you find concrete tips on how to do that.

8. Team 1 and Team 2, boring

Let the team themselves decide on their team name. Even better let them find a symbol that they can associate with the team! For example Yoda from Star Wars to symbolise mastery.

9. Getting your guilds going

Don’t feel guilty if you haven’t tried it out yet, but guilds are the thing! 🙂 Guilds to nurse craftsmanship is a common practice within Agile.

10. Things I learned about Exploration Days

You want learning and innovation to take place within your company, right? In this chapter the concept of Exploration Days are described.

11. Giving feedback without fear

Are you upset with a colleague? Don’t give them a slap, instead prepare for them a delicate feedback wrap! 🙂

12. I don’t want to implement the Spotify model!

Don’t imitate, innovate! This chapter tells you not to just copy a successful model without tailoring it to your context and unique needs.

13. To finish up

Time to wrap up! 🙂 Some last words from Ralph on where to go next.

Recommendation

If you are new to Management 3.0, ”Doing It” is the perfect starting point! Read the well-written introduction texts, and then use the references to go further. Do you want to try Management 3.0 out? Perfect, use this book to guide you. I can truly recommend ”Doing It – Management 3.0 Experiences”! Best of all? You can download the book right here. Happy reading, and see you next time!

All the best,
 Tomas from TheAgileist

Switch

In an old episode of Seinfeld it’s discussed and concluded that ”the switch” can’t be made (in this case meaning to switch a girlfriend for her roommate). The book ”Switch” tells another story, about making changes that last. This book is written by two brothers named Chip and Dan Heath. The subtitle is ”How to Change Things When Change Is Hard” and was released 2010.

”Switch

”What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem” – Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Content

The book consists of 11 chapters, divided into three sections, and they are:

1. The Surprises About Change

DIRECT THE RIDER
2. Find the Bright Spots
3. Script the Critical Moves
4. Point to the Destination

MOTIVATE THE ELEPHANT
5. Find the Feeling
6. Shrink the Change
7. Grow Your People

SHAPE THE PATH
8. Tweak the Environment
9. Build Habits
10. Rally the Herd

11. Keep the Switch Going

The first chapter is describing change, and mentions that to change someone’s behaviour, you’ve got to change that person’s situation. Wisdom from psychology says that the brain has two independent systems at work all the time. First, it’s the emotional side (instinctive, makes you feel pain or pleasure). Second, it’s the rational side, also known as the reflective or conscious system. If you want to change things you have to appeal to both sides! To use the vocabulary of this book: You have to speak both to the Rider and the Elephant. One other advice about change is that you have to provide crystal-clear direction.

The ”magic formula for change” boils down to the following:

  • Direct the Rider – What can look like resistance is often lack of clarity (give crystal-clear direction).
  • Motivate the Elephant – What looks like laziness is often exhaustion. You have to engage the emotional side.
  • Shape the path – The situation (including the surrounding environment) is called ”the path”.

How to find the bright-spots? Use the following question: ”What’s working and how can we do more of it”. One other tip is to use destination postcards, they do double duty: The show the Rider where you are heading, and they show the Elephant why the journey is worthwhile. They can be incredibly inspiring!

When it comes to shaping the path two strategies are described:

  1. Tweaking the environment
  2. Building habits.

Recommendation

I can recommend this book, it presents a simple formula for making change. The challenge is of course to tailor and implement it for your specific needs. I have not tried out this yet.

All the best,
 Tomas from TheAgileist

Värdefokuserande teamarbetssätt / Value focused team working

I first got in contact with Joakim Holm and Jagannath Tammeleth (the authors of the book I’m about to review) at Agila Sverige (Agile Sweden). Actually, this year the conference was kickstarted by Joakim, dressed up as a punk rocker talking about ”Agile is not dead – It only smells a little”. Via Twitter I found out that the book with the Swedish title ”Värdefokuserande teamarbetssätt” was released. That roughly translates to ”Value focused team working”, the subtitle is ”A guide in eight steps for teams that wants to master the basics in agile system development”.

This is actually the second time I do a review on a book written in Swedish, my native language. I realize that many of you will never get a opportunity to read the book, but according to my blog statistics Sweden is in third place when it comes to visitors (after USA & UK). The book has 154 pages and was released in 2016.

”Value

“Agile is ordering tapas til you’re full ‒ not ordering a 10-course meal.”  ‒ Neil Killick

Content

The team ways of working selected for the book are (each covered in a chapter):

  1. Small batch sizes
  2. Maintaining a backlog
  3. Common planning
  4. Agreed guidelines
  5. Visual guidance
  6. Sync meeting
  7. Demonstrate the result
  8. Continous improvements

Does those ways of working make a good representation for a team? Yes, I think so. I can’t come up with anything that should have been added to the list. Each chapter has sections for: purpose, description (i.e., more details), learnings from the reality and references to further reading. All topped up with recommendations and tips!

Small batch sizes are fundamental in agile. And the ambition to go from large batch sizes (enormous waterfall projects that are doomed to fail) to small batches (handling customer deliveries in a continuous flow). Large batch sizes gives delays that in turn hid process problems that never will surface. On the other hand it’s not easy to shift to this way of working if you are coming from waterfall.

The backlog is something very familiar for an agile team. To produce a backlog is not a one time job (you do it and then you are finished). The backlog needs to be looked after all the time. A way for the team to understand what is important is to have a common planning.

It may not come as a big surprise that visual guidance is my absolute favorite thing about agile. It’s said that ”a picture says more than thousand words” and it’s really true. What you ”see”, you can do something about. What you don’t ”see”, well, there is nothing you can do then.

The sync meeting is usually the first ”aha moment” and most valuable thing, when starting with agile ways of working (being a team using Scrum and Kanban). Starting off the days by sorting out what is most important, who needs help, etc., has been done before but with agile it has really got high-lighted.

When first starting with agile ways of working (being a team using Scrum and Kanban) the first ”aha moment” and most valuable thing is the sync meeting. Starting off the days by sorting out what is most important, who needs help etc. has been done before, but with agile it has really got high-lighted.

The get feedback on your work, one good way is to demonstrate the result to others. I think the demo is a good thing, but sometimes it represents a too long feedback loop (to get input on your work when you are done, not when you are doing it).

Finally the fundament in lean, the continuous improvements (also known as kaizen). I’ve heard a story about an agile coach that was hired to ”implement agile” within a company. He started out with implementing just one practice, the retrospective meeting. With that in place he could steer continuous improvements to set the other principles and practices in place.

Recommendation

I really enjoyed reading this book! It is short, well structured, and to the point. The illustrations are awesome! I also really liked the fact that it took the standpoint from the team’s view, when describing good agile ways of working. If you can read Swedish and want to have value focused team working, you should definitely check it out!

All the best,
 Tomas from TheAgileist

Essential Kanban Condensed

Six years have passed since the ”blue book” was released (the book about Kanban, written by David J Anderson in 2010). To meet up with the competition, Scrum has its own ”Scrum Guide” available for download, I assume that David and Andy Carmichael (the co-author) wanted to release a guide for Kanban as well. That is ”Essential Kanban Condensed”. The book has 100 pages and was released in 2016.

”Essential

Content

The book consists of 9 chapters starting with ”What is Kanban?” (a method for services that deliver knowledge work) to more advanced topics as ”Forecasting and Metrics”. Instead of going through the book chapter for chapter, I will give you the essentials condensed (pun intended) :).

Kanban Values

Kanban have nine values and they are: transparency, balance, collaboration, customer focus, flow, leadership, understanding, agreement & respect.

Kanban Agendas

There are three agendas:

  • The Sustainability Agenda
  • The Service Orientation Agenda
  • The Survivability Agenda.

The Foundational Principles of Kanban

There are six foundational principles of Kanban, divided into two groups.

Change Management Principles:

  1. Start with what you do now
  2. Agree to pursue improvement through evolutionary change
  3. Encourage acts of leadership at every level.

Service Delivery Principles:

  1. Understand and focus on your customers’ needs and expectations
  2. Manage the work; let people self-organize around it
  3. Evolve policies to improve customer and business outcomes.

The General Practices of Kanban

There are six practices:

  1. Visualize
  2. Limit work in progress
  3. Manage flow
  4. Make policies explicit
  5. Implement feedback loops
  6. Improve collaboratively, evolve experimentally.

Implement Feedback loops

To implement feedback loops seven cadences are suggested for a typical enterprise or multiple-service context:

  1. Strategy Review
  2. Operations Review
  3. Risk Review
  4. Service Delivery Review
  5. Replenishment Meeting
  6. The Kanban Meeting
  7. Delivery Planning Meeting.

Kanban Roles

Kanban is and remains to be the ”start with what you do now” method, however in later years two roles have emerged:

  • Service Request Manager
  • Service Delivery Manager.

Recommendation

You should definitely read ”Essential Kanban Condensed” if you want to get up to speed in what Kanban stands for and represents today (as of 2016). Do you want to read it right now even? Currently, it is being offered as a free eBook at this web site.

All the best,
 Tomas from TheAgileist

Lean Software Development

At work we have a book circle. Now we have completed reading “The Nature of Software Development” by Ron Jeffries that I have talked (a lot) about. Now I was on the hunt for a new book to start reading after the summer (almost everybody takes vacation during the summer in Sweden).

Searching

I started to look here, at my existing book reviews. I scanned book stores on the Interwebz, I started to walk around in the office sneak peeking at what books that were lying around. I ended up in the “relaxation room” (“vilrum” in Swedish, which every company about a certain size must have).

In there, I found this little gem!

””Cover

“Lean Software Development” is written by Mary and Tom Poppendieck and was published 2003. I sent out a tweet to ask if it still was worth reading (taking in the fact that 13 years have passed since it was published). The answer was “Yes!”, so I started browsing.

It turned out that there is a lot of good stuff in here that are still very valid!

Seven simple rules or principles for software development

  1. Eliminate waste: Spend time only on what adds real customer value.
  2. Amplify learning: When you have tough problems, increase feedback.
  3. Decide as late as possible: Keep your options open as long as practical, but no longer.
  4. Deliver as fast as possible: Deliver value to customers as soon as they ask for it.
  5. Empower the team: Let the people who add value use their full potential.
  6. Build integrity in: Don’t try to tack on integrity after the fact – build it in.
  7. See the whole: Beware of the temptation to optimize parts at the expense of the whole.

Bam! 100% agile thinking cranked inside those seven simple rules (focus on value, feedback loops, options, fast delivery for knowledge, empowerment of the team, quality and no sub optimization)!

22 tools

Throughout the book, 22 tools are presented. They are:

  • Tool  1: Seeing waste – The seven wastes of SW development: Partially done work, Extra processes, Extra features, Task switching, Waiting, Motion (eg. hand-overs) & Defects.
  • Tool  2: Value stream mapping
  • Tool  3: Feedback
  • Tool  4: Iterations
  • Tool  5: Synchronization
  • Tool  6: Set-based development
  • Tool  7: Options thinking
  • Tool  8: The last responsible moment
  • Tool  9: Making decisions
  • Tool 10: Pull systems
  • Tool 11: Queuing theory
  • Tool 12: Cost of delay
  • Tool 13: Self-determination
  • Tool 14: Motivation
  • Tool 15: Leadership
  • Tool 16: Expertise
  • Tool 17: Perceived integrity
  • Tool 18: Conceptual integrity
  • Tool 19: Refactoring
  • Tool 20: Testing
  • Tool 21: Measurements
  • Tool 22: Contracts

Which tools in the list above are you using? We use some of them for sure in one form or another. Set-based development and Options thinking are not something we do, but seems very interesting.

Summary

Have you read ”Lean Software Development – An Agile Toolkit”? What do you think about it? I think that we may have found the next one for our book circle! 🙂

All the best,
 Tomas from TheAgileist

Toyota Kata (part II)

I’ve written about Toyota Kata earlier, that was before I read the book (also named ”Toyota Kata”). Now I have done that. The author is Mike Rother and the subtitle ”Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness, and Superior Result”. The book was released in 2009, and have 306 pages.

”Toyota

Content

The book consists of 9 chapters divided into five parts. The different parts are:

  • Part I – The Situation
  • Part II – Know yourself
  • Part III – The Improvement Kata: How Toyota Continuously Improves
  • Part IV – The Coaching Kata: How Toyota Teaches the Improvement Kata
  • Part V – Replication What About Other Companies?

The book starts by talking about the current situation. The scenario:
We are here -> Unclear territory -> Where we want to be

We first need to know where we are, before we can move in any direction. If the way to where we want to be is clear, it’s pure implementation to get there (this is not very likely).

”However, it is generally not possible simply to maintain a level of process performance. A process will tend to erode no matter what, even if a standard is defined, explained to everyone, and posted. This is not because of poor discipline by workers (as many of us may believe), but due to interaction effects and entropy, which says than any organized process naturally tends to decline to a chaotic state if we leave it alone.” – Mike Rother

One tool to ”know yourself” (i.e., your business) is to do a Value-Stream Mapping. At Toyota the daily management and continuous process improvements are the same (and not two separate as in most other companies). There is a saying: ”The shop floor is a reflection of management”. The thinking is long-term, a vision can expand beyond one working lifetime. Toyotas long-term vision (that they have been pursuing for decades) consists of:

  • Zero defects
  • 100 percent value added
  • One-piece flow, in sequence, on demand
  • Security for people.

A vision serves primarily as a direction giver. A target condition is more detailed and specific and tells where to go next.

Part III & IV of the book is the heart as they describe The Improvement Kata and The Coaching Kata. This is how the Improvement Kata works:

”Briefly put, the continuously repeating routine of Toyota’s improvement kata goes like this: (1) in consideration of a vision, direction, or target, and (2) with a firsthand grasp of the current situation, (3) a next target condition on the way forward to the vision is defined. When we then (4) strive to move step by step toward the target condition, we encounter obstacles that define what we need to work on, and from which we learn.” – Mike Rother

The ”step by step”-moving is controlled by using PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act).

The Five Questions is a summary of Toyota’s approach for moving toward a target condition and they are highly effective in practice.

  1. What is the target condition? (The challenge)
  2. What is the actual condition now?
  3. What obstacles are now preventing you from reaching the target condition? Which ones are you addressing now?
  4. What is your next step? (Start of next PDCA cycle)
  5. When can we go and see what we have learned from taking that step?

The purpose of the coaching kata is to teach the organization the improvement kata. It is about leaders as teachers, in a system with mentors and mentees. The purpose of A3 documents is to support the mentor/mentee dialogue.

”We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” – Peter Drucker

Recommendation

I let the author summarize: ”The goal of this book is to set you up to experiment and thereby develop your management system in accordance with the needs of your situation”. I can recommend this book if you want to know more about Toyota Kata, it will be your primary source!

All the best,
 Tomas from TheAgileist

The Scrumban [R]Evolution

What is Scrumban? Evolved Scrum? Applied Kanban? A combination of both? I needed to find out, therefore I read the book ”The Scrumban [R]Evolution” by Ajay Reddy. The subtitle is ”Getting the Most Out of Agile, Scrum, and Lean Kanban”. The book has 384 pages and was released in 2105.

”Scrumban”

Content

The book consist of 10 chapters divided into four parts. The chapters are:

  1. Manifestations: Scrumban Demystified
  2. The Matrix and the Mess: Where It All Begins
  3. The Mission: Clarifying the Relationship between Purpose, Values, and Performance
  4. Motivations: Why Scrumban Works
  5. Mobilize: Rolling Out Scrumban
  6. Method: Working under the Hood
  7. Measurements: Gaining Insights and Tracking Progress
  8. Management: Management Is Doing Things Right – Leadership Is Doing the Right Things
  9. Maturing: Like a Fine Vine, Scrumban Can Get Better with Age
  10. Modeling: To Baldly Go Where Few Have Gone Before

I will try to start with answering the first question, ”What is Scrumban?”. Corey Ladas introduced Scrumban in his book from 2008. He defined Scrumban as a transition method for moving software development teams from Scrum to a more evolved development framework. Some of Corey’s work is covered in the beginning of chapter 4 in this book, ”The Scrumban [R]Evolution”.

In the first chapter Ajay Reddy introduces Shu-Ha-Ri to understand Scrumban. It stands for:

  • Shu (Beginner) – The first stage of learning. The student seek to reproduce result by following a set of instructions.
  • Ha (Intermediate) – The student understand and live by basic practices, values and principles.  
  • Ri (Advanced) – The student has become a master.

I’ve also seen it explained something like this: Shu (”learn the rules”), Ha (”live by the rules”), Ri (”break the rules”).

Scrum has the following values: Focus, Courage, Openness, Commitment & Respect. Kanban the following: Understanding, Agreement, Respect, Leadership, Flow, Transparency, Balance, Collaboration & Customer Focus. Scrumban, as an independent framework, brings three additional values:

  • Empiricism – Empirical approaches are always favored over theories.
  • Humility – We must always be ready to challenge our understanding.
  • Constructive interaction – Constructive debate that improves understanding over blind acceptance.

When Scrumban core practices are mastered, other frameworks and models can be ”woven in” like:

  • A3 thinking
  • The Cynefin Framework
  • Real Options

Basically the whole book goes on like this. By referring and briefly describing everything that has been ”a hot topic” in the agile world during the later years. Delicate pieces, but small, like a smorgasbord. You want some more examples? Here are three of them.

Jason Yip has summarized patterns for a good stand-up (remembered as GIFTS):

  • Good start
  • Improvement
  • Focus
  • Team
  • Status

Bill Wake’s INVEST for work breakdown:

  • Independent
  • Negotiable
  • Valuable
  • Estimable
  • Small
  • Testable

Characteristics central to the role of a servant leader:

  1. Listening
  2. Empathy
  3. Self-awareness
  4. Responsibility
  5. Persuasion
  6. Conceptualization
  7. Foresight
  8. Coaching/mentoring
  9. Systems thinking
  10. Empirical decision making

Any many, many more. So how do you get started with Scrumban? That is covered in chapter 5 but an appendix holds a quick reference guide:

  • Step 1: Visualize your system
  • Step 2: Start Measuring Performance
  • Step 3: Stabilize Your System and Improve Focus with WIP Limits
  • Step 4: Improve Your Understanding and Management of Risk
  • Step 5: Continuously Improve

Recommendation

This book has good structure, well written texts and a lot of illustrating figures. However, I think the overall purpose, to explain Scrumban, gets lost when describing all the surrounding agile practices. Keeping it simple is a virtue.

All the best,
 Tomas from TheAgileist