Category Archives: Events

NYC Salary History Ban – What Does it Mean?

On October 31st, 2017, the Mayor of NYC Bill de Blasio signed the new Law, prohibiting companies in New York City from asking, searching or verifying a job applicant’s salary history during the hiring process.  From now on, violation of this law, by any NYC-based employer, will be viewed as an “unlawful discriminatory practice.”
(Please, read more about the NYC Salary History Ban.)

Below are some potential, real-life consequences of this Law, as it applies to any employees-candidates and any NYC-based employing organizations:

  • If an individual has worked for a long time at the same company and, while there, has acquired a lot of practical experience/skill set, but unfortunately was not able to secure compensation that was a fair reflection of her capabilities/contribution, she may now seek an employment at another company with an increased self-confidence and without worrying that prior, unfairly low compensation, will be a low benchmark for her future offer.
  • If an individual is a self-starter/entrepreneur who has acquired a lot of knowledge/experience in ways, other than formal employment (e.g. self-paid study or research) and by doing so, has significantly increased her professional maturity, she may more confidently leverage these rightfully owned credentials , when negotiating a salary with her next employer.
  • If an individual’s goal has always been to remain as a hands-on contributor (she loved what she did, and did not want to lose her practical skills) and was never aspired to seek a promotional/managerial position – something that usually leads to higher compensation, she may do so more freely, without worrying that she will miss out on a “compensation-bargaining-chip”, at her next job interview.  This also means that employees will be more experience/knowledge-seeking and less promotion-seeking, as it is really an experience, not prior organizational position that define their true value.  (note: often, promotions are associated with loss of hands-on expertise, in favor of managerial/administrative responsibilities).
  • If an individual’s full compensation consists of base salary and discretionary bonus (the latter, often being too subjective, as it is based on individual performance appraisals, efficiency of which have been proven as ineffective for decades), with a bonus, representing a significant chunk of her full salary, she does not have to be concerned so much with her next employer, trying to count in only her base salary, as as a ‘benchmark’ , while making an offer.  This will also, hopefully, drive companies towards paying higher base salaries, and away from subjective bonuses.
  • Recruiting agencies and staffing firms will have fewer opportunities to ask unethical questions (“how much were/are you making at your prior/current job?”), something that is often delegated to them by companies’ HR departments, with the ladder not wanting to be directly associated with unethical behaviors.  Further, this may lead to more transparency and direct interaction between hiring managers and candidates.
  • Companies-employers would have to improve their vetting/interviewing/hiring approaches significantly, by incorporating validation methods and more reliable/objective assessments of candidates, to prevent under-qualified, low-skilled individuals (some of whom may have strong self-selling/negotiations skills and expertise with “talking the talk”) from slipping through companies’ doors and causing internal problems.  This may require conducting more practical tests, real-life simulations and hands-on exercises, administered directly by hiring areas and peers-coworkers. Further, this could also, reduce the amount of subjective/administrative, error-prone and often unnecessary screening processes, usually handled by companies’ departments that are least benefited from hiring high-quality candidates, and at the same time, most benefited from creating and administering actual processes.

In all the above situations, the main compensation-determining factors will be:

  • From an employee’s perspective: her professional competency, skill/mind set, ability to produce tangible results and deliver business value
  • From an employer’s perspective: ability to properly assess a candidate for what she is worth (not for what she was price-tagged in her past) AND clear understanding of how much an employer is willing to pay for a given job/to a given candidate

Lastly, does the new Law have any relevance to internal hiring situations (when employees move around a company)?  

According to the Employer Fact Sheet, the Law does not apply directly to internal re-employment (also, for most companies, employees’ compensation is transparent to hiring managers of the same company).

However….  There could be some indirect implication: NYC-based employers will probably realize that properly educated (know the Law) employees will have more confidence to ask for a more significant compensation increase, when they seek a new employment internally.  The new “compensation-bargaining chip” for employees will be their increased self-confidence and assurance that they will have a better chance of getting higher compensation elsewhere, irrespective of their current compensation, should their internal efforts not materialize.  As a result, to avoid losing good people to their competitors, employers will probably revisit their compensation increase standards, for internally transferred employees.

10/13 – LESS TALKS: MEETUP – Working LeSS Brings Great Results (Case Study)

Tonight -a  great presentation by Malik Graves-Pryor of Natoma Consulting, as he shared how his company leveraged LeSS to achieve  stunning results, while facing challenges and learning lessons.

Malik’s Summary

At the Thursday October 12, 2017 NYC Large Scale Scrum Meetup, Malik Graves-Pryor shared his company’s LeSS case study, “Web and Mobile Applications Agile Transformation”. He covered the extensive issues the company faced at the beginning ranging from only 1-2 releases a year with hundreds of defects, and how they transformed over the course of several months to an organization that released monthly, and then continuously, with low defects and high customer satisfaction and engagement.

The discussion covered the merger of the Sales and Product Management Pipelines, adoption of technical practices leading to a DevOps-focused culture, how to take the necessary steps to build trust and cooperation within the organization, as well as the road-map they used to iteratively migrate the organization to continuous integration and deployment.

The interactive discussion spanned two hours with attendees raising questions and issues about the case study, as well as correlating them with their own challenges and aspirations.

Presentation deck is available at  Natoma Consulting website for download.

 

05/26-28: Scrum Coaching Retreat | Kiev, Ukraine

2017 Scrum Coaching Retreat in Kiev  is in the books!!!  The event has brought together a few dozens of agile coaches and trainers from nearby and far away.

The participants came from different backgrounds and focus areas but due to everyone’s extensive experience in self-organization and self-management, got the show on the road very quickly.  After a short round of self-intros, each participant introduced a few topics that they wanted to discuss. By using a combination of dot-voting and affinity clustering techniques, the group came up with a handful of key topics that everyone wanted to deep dive into.  The group broke up into four teams, with each team picking one high-priority topic – to be worked on in consecutive three (3) sprints.

The team I joined (“Happy 7”) picked up the topic “How to influence decisions of senior management directly, from the bottom of organizational pyramid”.  The team consisted of experienced ScrumMasters, Team-level and Enterprise-level coaches.

The problem statement that defined our team’s effort was:

“There are so many instances, of challenges and obstacles that teams face, are not being heard at the top of a food chain.  And even when they are heard, often, original messages get distorted and lose urgency, as they travel up through multiple “translational” layers.  What can be done to fix this problem?  What techniques could be used to effectively segregate impediments that are local and can be resolved by teams and the ones that are systemic/organizational – and must be aggressively escalated upward?” 

The problem above has direct dependency on organizational design, specifically, on its thickness: the number of organizational layers between working teams (on one hand) and senior leadership/paying customers (on the other) – is a well-recognized challenge today.

Our working group has identified the following organizational design scenarios that define dynamics and human interaction in modern Product Development:

  1. Development teams and Product Owner belong to the same organization and end-Customer is positioned internally
  2. Development teams and Product Owner belong to the same organization and end-Customer is positioned externally
  3. Development teams represent Vendor-company and Product Owner represents Client-company and relationships between Vendor and Client are based on:
    • Out-staffing model – when a vendor provides human assets (developers) that are then owned by a customer, from management perspective, whereas legal ownership (e.g. insurance, taxes) is still by a vendor
    • Out-sourcing model – when an entire project gets outsourced to a vendor and a paying customer has no or minimal interaction directly with human assets (developers) that do work (most of communication flows through Engagement Management)

Interestingly, since many of our working group members had a lot of experience with #3 option above, the primary focus of our discussion was about how to bring closer senior leadership of paying customers and agile teams of delivering vendors, closer together, despite multiple “anti-agile” organizational layers that frequently reside in-between the former and the latter.

The ultimate result of our brainstorming was the invention of a non-commercial, collaborative game that was given the name of Influence Poker.

Our game’s purpose was:

  • To identify challenges that delivery teams often face
  • To classify challenges, based on origin, severity and implications
  • To discuss potential ways of resolving and/or escalating challenges
  • To ensure resolution ownership and transparency on its progress

Note: The initial contributors to the game creation were: Serhiy Lvov, Kiryl Baranoshnik, Artem Bykovets, Alexander Karitsky, Mark Summers, Jonas Mann and Gene Gendel .

The most serious organizational design challenge, when a paying customer engages with a vendor-company, is seen with an out-sourcing model.  Here, no matter how agile/robust technology teams are, their ability to deliver effectively is hindered by:

  • Involvement of Delivery Manager (usually, placed on a client site) who owns a relationship with a customer, serves as a single filter-channel of communication between a customer and teams, makes commitments and furnishes progress reporting on behalf of teams. The same person also streamlines feedback from a customer back to teams and frequently assigns work to team members.  This is usually accompanied by micro-management and command and control behavior.  The situation can be further worsened by the presence of Vendor Management function (customer side) that enforces SLAs, SOWs and other formal contracts between a customer and vendor: this just adds additional tension to a relationship and moves further apart end-customers and delivery teams.
  • Weakening of Product Owner role – the importance of this critical Scrum role gets downplayed, because a customer company no longer sees value in direct communication with technology teams.  Instead, Delivery Manager is treated as a single person, responsible for project delivery.  This dramatically narrows all communication media that are used in Scrum (holding events, sharing artifacts).

The above two challenges are inter-related through a positive feedback loop: the less disengaged Product Owner becomes, the more pivotal the role of Delivery Manager becomes.  The opposite is true too: strengthening the role of Delivery Manager, leads to further “excusing” Product Owner from stepping into the game, as Scrum requires.  This is a viscous, de-stabilizing loop that continuously weakens Scrum.

Please, look out for the Influence Poker.first official release that is coming soon! It may greatly help your teams visualize their organizational problems and discover potential workable solutions.

Note: For attendees and participants, here are additional shortcuts:

2017 Agile Maine Day Recap

The 2017 Agile Maine Day event is in the books.  Great event organization. Great energizing crowd. Amazing presenters and speakers.

Below are the summaries of two selected presentations, whose themes were mostly relevant to System Thinking and System Design:

Don Macintyre’s topic “Agile Leadership” was about Radical Management (Steve Denning’s teaching) and covered:

  • Shifting focus from making money for shareholders to focus on delighting customers through continuous innovation
  • Managers focusing on controlling individuals to Managers empowering and supporting self-organizing teams
  • Shifting from controlling work with bureaucracy to guiding innovation with priorities
  • Shifting from predominantly valuing efficiency to valuing Continuous Innovation
  • Shifting from top-down command structures to horizontal communication and collaboration

Don also talked about Agile Leadership Mindset and stressed the importance of the following behavioral transitions:

  • From Directing to Coaching
  • From Hiding Failure to Learning from Failure
  • From Telling to Collaborating
  • From Avoiding Blame to Seeing Feedback

Bob Sarni’s – “Radical Collaboration” delivered the following main message: “Organizations cannot compete externally until they can collaborate internally

Bob referenced the book “Corporate Culture and Performance” by John Kotter and James Heskett: Non-enhancing Cultures vs. Enhancing Cultures, alluding to the fact that sometimes the best way to overcome resistance, is to remove resistors.

The following four quadrants of self-discovery were covered:

  • Who we are (Self-mastery):
    • Self-Awareness
    • Self-Esteem
    • Emotional Intelligence
    • Values
  • Interpersonal (Social Intelligence):
    • Communication
    • Trustworthiness
    • Cooperation
    • Rules of Engagement
  • What we Do:
    • Project
    • Product
    • Task
    • Service
  • How We Do it:
    • Systems/Processes
    • Decision Making
    • Structure
    • Policies

Bob also stressed the point that when it comes to going through organizational changes, companies tend to focus on Practices, instead of focusing on underlining Principles and Values. This results in unsustainable, short-term successes only.
Another great quote from Bob’s session: “Business Analysis have their focus on the outer side of business”, mainly focusing on questions of ‘what should we be doing?‘ and ‘how can we do it better, faster and more efficiently’.  It turns out that the inner side of the business is where the greatest opportunity for radical improvement resides”.  The inner side of the business contains the heart and soul of the business.

Finally, Bob talked about Red Zone vs. Green Zone Behaviors (refernicing work of James Tamm)


Bob also described Pink Zone behavior that usually manifests itself by the following actions: Leave, Quit, Hide, Passively Resist, Appease, Give in

(At closing, a kodak moment with Dan Mezick and Bob Sarni)

 

2017 Big Apple Scrum Day: Coaching Clinic

The Third Annual BASD (2017) event is in the books.  27 people have been served by the coaches, whose cumulative experience and depth of knowledge were just immense.  Many thanks to Zuzka Sochova, Kim Brainard, Bob Galen, David Liebman and Jim York for making this happen.  This event had the largest every presence of Certified Enterprise Coaches (CEC).

Below is the summary of quotes from the people that attended the Coaching Clinic:

  • “Awesome session. Wealth of knowledge.”
  • “Pleasant convo. Vague question but got some interesting answers.”
  • “Bob helped me with several concerns I had. He broke things down and emphasized the importance of always looking at things with a whole team approach. Will use feedback.”
  • “Dave: – great shaking, -good advice, – will use immediately.”
    “Very helpful and informative, It is always good to learn other perspectives”
  • “Great insight and way to look at personal issues.”
  • “Dave game me some good marketing advice about marketing myself”
  • “Bob listened, provided valuable feedback and helped me walk out with actionable items. Thank you!”
  • “David – useful suggestion.”
  • “Refreshing and very pragmatic session.   Great advice and specific to my exact topic.”
  • “Awesome coaching from Kim. Look forward to taking her feedback to work.”
  • “Practical & useful talk about Scrum roles with development team (PO & SM).”
  • “Great feedback from Dave. Great advice about how to run meetings and to get work done.”
  • “Great pointers to look for next steps. Good and honest advice. Informative discussion.”
  • “Got coaching from Jim on rolling out agile more broadly. Jim was really helpful and got us to the heart of where we should focus. Thank you!”
  • “Dave shared personal experiences that helped me identify possible resolutions to my problem. Very clearly followed the steps from the coaching stance. Got definite actions to try.”
  • “Great advice for retros from Kim.”
  • “Had a session with Jim about career path and my goals. He was extremely helpful. Listened to my concerns and helped with ideas.”
  • “Great therapy session! Was able to get real life examples in the feedback.”
  • “Meeting with Jim was worth every nano-second. He reset my thinking about focus but more importantly, my intention with short-term and long-term goals — but especially humility. Excellent!”


Agile Flyer – 03-25-2017

CHALLENGES WITH AGILE TRAINING:
EXAMPLES, REASONS, CONSEQUENCES

Virtual networks of professional agile coaches and trainers is good place to pick up some most thoughtful and provocative agile discussions.
The most reputable networks that I know of, and happen to belong to, are the communities of:
Certified Enterprise Coaches and Certified Scrum Trainers (both, from Scrum Alliance),
and Candidate Large Scale Scrum Trainers and Coaches (both, from LeSS company).
These communities are great because there we continuously share our experiences and learn from one another.
The summary below is the result of one such in-network discussions that spans in duration for more the a year.
It is focused on in-class training experiences and highlights –
some of the most common challenges that we encounter with our students in pre-, in- and post-classroom situations.
Some of our observations are specific to private classes, some – to public and some – to both.
Below, are some of the common challenges with Agile Training that we face:

  • Training “Wrong” Attendees with “Wrong” Intentions
  • Training “Certification Collectors“
  • Influence of Past Quasi-Agile Experience or Misguidance
  • Lack of Pre-Training (Self-Study)
  • Attempts to Change Training Content to “Conform to Reality”
  • Attempts to Steer Training Content towards “Unique Situations”
  • Requests for Exemption from Training by “Special” People
  • Lack of Classroom Participation
  • Too Much Reliance on Training Materials

-Read more…

 


More Selected Periodicals:

Scrum and Kanban at the Enterprise and Team Levels

Scrum, as the most structured of all Agile frameworks, is a great way to ensure predictable, strategically planned, incremental product delivery.
Scrum ensures good responsiveness to frequently changing market demands.
Although nonprescriptive, Scrum clearly defines certain roles, responsibilities, and ceremonies.

Kanban, for the most part, is silent about certain aspects that Scrum suggests explicitly (e.g., team size, velocity, story point estimation, timeboxing,
Scrum ceremonies, etc.). Kanban is less structured than Scrum. Being a true pull-based system,
Kanban is a great work-flow visualization tool that can be effectively used for WIP management.
It is a great tool to use in production support or the gradual redesign of legacy systems; business priority-driven new product development
is not the main goal….

-Read more…


Motivation 3.0 Is Required to Transition from Tribe Stage 3 to 4

In his book Drive, Daniel Pink says that when it comes to motivation, there’s a gap between what science knows and what business does.
Our current business operating system is built around external, carrot-and-stick motivators — which don’t work and often do more harm than good.
We need a system upgrade. And the science shows the way.

This new approach has three essential elements:

  1. Autonomy: The desire to direct our own lives
  2. Mastery: The urge to make progress and get better at something that matters
  3. Purpose: The yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves

-Read more…

Fresh Collection of Ad-hoc Agile References:

I continuously collect articles and publications that come from everywhere: colleagues, coaches and trainers, clients, occasional encounters.
I keep a comprehensive list of resources here, categorized by themes.
Some of my most recent samples from the collection are below:

 

Agile Flyer – 03-18-2017

Note: This week, a few hundred of people have subscribed to Agile Flyer!
Welcome Everyone!!!
To bring them all up-to-speed, some information below is summarized from previous releases.
If you would like to read previous Agile Flyer releases, please click here


From www.ScrumAlliance.org

Connect with a Certified Coach for Online Coaching!
(re-published from Scrum Alliance newsletter)
[concequences of using]
WATERFALL REQUIREMENTS
IN AGILE PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
  • By nature, BRDs imply conclusiveness and are “contractual” in nature, and therefore, should not be used in iterative development
  • BRDs are frequently produced by “middle men” and weakly represent views and desires of End-Customer
  • Creating BRDs, done by a separate organizational layer, frequently leads to Local Optimization
  • In Agile Development, BRDs may lead to deterioration of relationships between Product Owner and Feature Team
  • In Agile Development, the use of BRDs leads to having false expectations and reduces involvement of End-Customer

Everyone is familiar with conventional
Business Requirements Documents (BRDs).
  Usually, BRDs are written by Business Analysts – individuals representing a function specialty organizational tier – a layer that usually resides between end-customers and software engineers.
BRDs explicitly talk about “what” a customer wants from a system, including functional and non-functional requirements.
BRDs are comprehensive documents: heavy in content and with many supporting details. BRDs are based on far-reaching future plans that spans across multiple product development phases and releases.
By design, a single BRD may represent an implementation effort that takes anywhere from a few to many months.

-Read more…




THE “R” PART OF HR

re-published from last week

Frequently, HR topics find their way into Agile Communities and almost always turn into heated discussions.
Recently, and again, one of such topics was raised in the global community of Coaches and Trainers, thus sharing it here.

Truth be told, HR norms and policies are a direct reflection of organizational culture
(considered, as corollary to structure)
and very much define human relationships within an organization.
Therefore, very often, the “R” part of HR is referred to as “Relationship”.
A few weeks ago, at 2017 Business Agility, held in NYC,
there was a strong reminder of this, by Fabiola Eyholzer.

There is a widely-shared belief that the historical meaning of “R”, as it was originally defined: “Resource” – is no longer appropriate… Or has it ever been?  -Read more…

More Selected Periodicals:

Handling Interruptions in Scrum: 4 Options (Part 1)

In an ideal world, a cross-functional Scrum team must be fully focused on Scrum.  The team is also expected to hear a voice of one customer only: the product owner.  But what happens when reality intervenes and you get pulled in other directions?
-Read more…

Handling Interruptions in Scrum: 4 Options (Part 2)

There are four commonly known ways that teams use to handle production support, or other “interrupt” items.  Frequently, these items are classified by “levels” of priority/criticality, with L1 being the lowest and L3 being the highest priority.  As we continue from Part 1 of this two-part article, we look at the remaining two ways of interrupting Scrum sprints–and share what can be done about them.  -Read more…

Fresh Collection of Ad-hoc Agile References:

I continuously collect articles and publications that come from everywhere: colleagues, coaches and trainers, clients, occasional encounters.
I keep a comprehensive list of resources here, categorized by themes.
Some of my most recent samples from the collection are below:

2017 Business Agility Conference – NYC

On 23-24th of February, there was the first ever 2017 – Business Agility Conference, held in NYC.  The event could be best described as “…2 days of authentic short stories and facilitated deep dives on business agility; focus on organizational design, market disruption and product innovation, agile outside IT and next-generation leadership…” (quoted from http://businessagility2017.com/)

The uniqueness of this event was due its demographics, and in particular: due to the breakdown of attendees – based on their organizational roles.  Although agile conferences (both, local and global) are never geared towards Technology and Information Systems only, this particular event was specifically geared towards business. As it can be seen from the statistics below, there were a very large number of people that represented Senior and Executive Management (more than 45%).

As always, another large share of attendees was represented by organizational and agile coaches.

It is also interesting to know that there were practically no discussions at the event about Scrum, Kanban, XP, tools, processes or frameworks, at the event.

My personal, experience as one of the facilitators of this event, was enriched by reuniting with some folks, whose work had significant impact on my own work:

With Steve Denning  With Mike Beedle With Bjarte Bogsnes

Note: Special thanks to Mike Beedle for mentioning my name in his Enterprise Scrum Executive Summary. (download pdf report to view)


Highlights from Steve Denning’s Presentation:

According to Steve Denning – the author of Radical Management, 20th Century Teams – were “teams” in name-only.  Team of the 20th century were gears of a classic, bureaucratic organizational machine, characterized by: top-down management, individual responsibilities and little interaction among people.  On contrary, real Agile teams require: autonomy & cross-functional structure, collective accountability and high degree of interaction. Steve focused on the following four main Agile themes:

  • Delighting Customer – there needs to be a fundamental shift in how management perceives relationships between Firm and Customer. This shift is best described by Copernican revolution: no longer Firm remains a centerpiece, with Customer revolving around it. Instead, Customer becomes a centerpiece and Firm revolves around Customer, delivering products, services and ensuring overall satisfaction.  Pre- Copernican Management belief was in making the main purpose of a firm to generate money for its stakeholders and was best described by Jack Welch’s quote: “…The dumbest idea in the world…”  The Post-Copernican Management belief is that, as was described by Peter Ducker in 1954: “…the only valid purpose of a firm is to create a customer…”
  • Descaling Work – in a volatile and complex modern world, where uncertainty and ambiguity prevails, any attempts to resolve big problems simultaneously, with one big-bang approach, are no longer effective. Instead, work must be dis-aggregated in small batches and performed by small, autonomous, cross-functional teams.
  • Enterprise-Wide Agility – to consider Agile as “IT thing only” is a huge mistake.  Attempts to improve organizational agility, with only a few small teams trying to “do agile”, with the rest of the organization remaining top-down, bureaucratic, slow-moving behemoth will result in a failure.  In order for the whole organization to become more agile, it has to embrace the entrepreneurial mindset front-to-back and top-to-bottom.
  • Nurturing Culture – is a huge undertaking that each organization must commit to and flourish from within. This includes leadership strategies, organizational structure, culture, norms, values and principles.   Excluding organizational design and system dynamics from agile transformation efforts by senior leaders is a costly mistake.

Throughout his presentation, Steve Denning highlighted additional important aspects of organizational agility:

  • “How many layers should Organization have?” –  There is no perfect number to give, but the fewer – the better. What matters is that there should be full transparency and direct communication between: Management, Customers/Users and Workers (employees, contractors, suppliers)
  • The Law of Network – “plugging” agile team into a bureaucratic environment may create visibility of local efficiency but over time will lead to unbearable friction between “old” and “new”.
  • There is a lot of “Agile PR” and “fake Agile” – it is usually brought about by IT attempts to embrace agility, with very limited support from business.  Frequent claims from management (sometimes, very senior) that is indicative of their gross misunderstanding of organizational dynamics is:
    • Agile is only for software
    • Agile does not scale
    • Agile cannot handle complexity
    • Agile is not reliable
    • Agile does not last

Steve Denning’s discussion was summarized by the example of Microsoft:  “In 2004, Microsoft was viewed as a huge battleship, slowly moving through waters at relatively low speed, and not being able to turn quickly and cost-efficiently.  In 2015, Microsoft is viewed as a flotilla of speedboats, moving fast but synchronously, and being able to turn “…on a dime for a dime…” (the author’s of this post quotes C. Larman)”

Highlights from Bjarte Bogsnes Presentation:

The chairman of Beyond Budgeting Roundtable (BBRT)  Bjarte Bogsnes, who has a long international career in Finance and HR, with successful implementation of BB at two large European companies, Statoil and Borealis, presented a short synopsis on Adaptive Management Model.

(Note: Being Bjarte’s follower and advocate for years, I recommend for your attention the following personal summary page: for in-depth understanding of Bjarte’s work).

Bjarte made a clear distinction between Management and Leadership.  People obey Managers (usually, mandatory) and follow Leaders (always, voluntarily).  Management is focused on: Rhythms (around events), Targets, Plans and Forecasts, Resource Allocation, Performance Evaluation and Rewards Distribution.  On contrary, Leadership is focused on: Purpose, Values, Transparency, Organization, Autonomy and Customers.  A lot of focus in Bjarte’s discussion was paid to ineffectiveness of fixed (“accordion-like”) budgets that are driven by calendar years, not by business cycles; harm  and dangers of producing and measuring wrong KPIs (often mistakenly considered as “KPTs”, where “T” stands for “truths”); lumping Budgets, Forecasts and Resources Allocation into one single KPI number, and then, coupling such ill-defined KPIs with individual appraisals and monetary rewards/bonuses – the main cause of system gaming and unethical behaviors that many organizations see today.  Bjarte’s presentation was followed by comprehensive collaboration, by many individual teams that used a variety of visualization techniques to illustrate a future state of agile budgeting & finance:

Other Great Highlights:

There were a few other great discussions that took place at the conference.  Here are a few excerpts that are worth including (paraphrased here):

  • From Charlie Rudd: “…Organizational Change Management != Organizational Transformation. Many more people tend to resist to the former; much less so to the ladder…” and   “…In Change Management, processes and system behaviors are predictable.  In Transformations – they are not…”
  • From Paul Cobban: “…Agile Education is not just for doers. It is also for Executive folks…Exempting themselves from continuous education, Executives lose touch with reality” and “…Stop Starting and Start Finishing…(or learn how to manage WIP at enterprise level)”
  • From David Grabel: “…Agile is not just for IT. A great example of Agile adoption success is Marketing…” and “…Adoptive, agile Marketing can drive organizational agility at large…”
  • From Venkateswaran NS: “…Do senior leaders have good vision? Does middle-management have right job descriptions (for themselves and their subordinates)?…”
  • From Pat Reed: “…Business Agility – is bravery to step into the area of unknown…” and “…the phrase ”I will believe it when I see it”…should become “I will see it when I start believing it”
  • From Fabiola Eyholzer: “…HR should stand for Human Relationships not Resources (from the author of this post: there is a common belief that calling humans as ‘resources’ is demotivating and disrespectful)…” and “…most discussions between employees and HR are scripted and lack sincerity and open-mindedness due to the fact that there is always a legal aspect to it and both parties are great of doing CYA…”
  • From Chip Loving and Jason Hall: “…Management by Objectives is wasteful and harmful…” and “…Transparency != Awareness…(from the author of this post: being able to see something and fully comprehend it, is not the same thing)” and “…Quarter-based profit sharing that is peer-based and transparent is much better than end-of-year subjective discretionary bonus decided by people that are mostly remote from action and area, where real business value is produced…”
    • From the author of this post: example of most harmful intensives allocation schema and less harmful intensives allocation schema

Product DetailsFinally, some great new publications were presented at the event.  I came to discover that my colleague and friend, agile coach Dana Pylayeva has published her new book “Introduction to DevOps with Chocolate, LEGO and Scrum Game”.  It goes on my To-Do list to read.

Agile Flyer – 12-24-2016

 

This week’s Large Scale Scrum in NYC: CLP Training and Meet-up.

December 19-21. This week, there was a mind-blowing 3-day experience of system thinking and organizational design modeling with Craig Larman.
Having been at wide array of Craig’s training and public presentations in the past, I was still overwhelmed with volumen of education that this class offered.   One of the main distinctions ( imo – improvements) of this LeSS training from the previous, was the emphasis on hands-on system modeling by class participants,  with the use of Causal Loop Diagrams (CLDs).  Personally, being a huge fan and frequent user of CLDs,  I was able to graphically reinforce, once again, postulates of LeSS,
while modeling organizational design and inter-connecting system variables, as well as identifying which relationships are
Causation and which ones are Correlation.

Below, are some visuals that illustrate the course dynamics and working artifacts that were produced.

Class Kodak Moments:


Course Artifacts:


Course Highlights (personal):

  • If we go back to history and recall how Agile Manifesto was originally created and naming chosen, “Agile” was never meant to describe ‘speed’, ‘efficiency’ and ‘cost effectiveness’. It was always meant to describe Adaptive-ness.
  • To main goals of LeSS: to maximize Customer Value and ensure continuous learning
  • Organizational Structure is the most important, 1st Order Factor that influences System Dynamics
  • Many junior/unseasoned agile coaches give their clients a distorted coaching advice about agility, by advising to focus only on 2nd Order Factor (system variables) and omitting 1st Order Factor (Organizational Structure)
  • Young, ambitious, career-seeking senior leaders that are in active pursuit of promotion are not the best supporters of agile transformations from within a company. Most likely, they will view agile as a way to fast-track their career and after 3-5 years of supporting the “movement” they will leave their role and move on.  There is a high chance that someone, who takes over will “undo” what was done.
  • While using Causal Loop Diagrams (CLDs) it is important to distinguish between Correlation and Causation relationships that connect Variables
  • Team structure sub-optimization has multiple “dimensions”, e.g. too narrow-defined Products or teams built around Components
  • As per TPS, Kaizen does not mean “small”
  • Budgeting is rarely an issue in product companies. However, it is a BIG issue in internal development companies (e.g. banks)
  • John Kotter (The Heart of Change): <paraphrasing>”… get skeptics and resistors out of the way…. there is a low chance they will support changes…
  • While delivering agile/scrum education, strive to focus on an entire team, not of separate roles (e.g. SM, Team, PO).

LeSS Meetup Kodak Moments:

More upcoming Agile Events in NYC: