Category Archives: Event

01/24-LeSS Talks: Experience Report: Navigating Self-Incorporated Consulting (Panel Discussion)

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01/15-LeSS Talks: System Modelling in LeSS with Robin Hyman


Miro Board Export

Relevant References:
Additional STRUCTURED LEARNING Learning Assets:

01/10-LeSS Talks: Lead and Serve Others: Focus on the Team, Not Individuals, by Johanna Rothman

 

Materials | Live Chat Transcript

A very relevant resource: Gap Between Science and Business

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01/24-LeSS Talks: Experience Report: Navigating Self-Incorporated Consulting

Recording – TBD

Optional Pre-Read for this event.

 

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12/06-LeSS Talks: US Army’s Intelligence Staff Director COL Candice Frost on Crisis & Leadership

Colonel Candice Frost:

Synopsis:

  • An 80% solution on time is far better than a 100% solution late
  • Defining Problem Statement
  • Demonstrating a desire to create change
  • Providing a clear Vision into the Future
  • Leading by Example
  • Clearing Paths to Achieve a Common Goal
  • Changing is Constant
  • Building Strong Relationships
  • Providing Consistent & Continual Feedback
  • Giving Transparency

  • How excessive organizational layers, processes and approvals can lead to missing an opportunity
  • Importance of mentorship/education, as means of spreading knowledge laterally, to many people
  • Significance of striking a healthy balance between being a Specialist (know one discipline really well) and being a Generalist (knowing other disciplines fairly well)
  • Benefits of building long-lived teams
  • Keeping levels of “undone” work to a minimum and thriving to drive it to zero
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LESS TALKS: Uncovering the Agile Mindset, with Heidi Araya and John Turley

 

 Materials

Synopsis:

“Agile transformations fail regularly, despite many putting their best efforts forth. And dominant focus continues to be on agile as a process, addressing the important need for an agile mindset and culture only in passing. While Agilists feel that someone’s mindset is absolutely critical to agility, the agile mindset is not actually defined anywhere. Even Steve Denning, in a May 2020 article, said, “is it possible that we in the Agile community have been putting too much emphasis on such an undefined and ambiguous term [mindset]?”

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LeSS Trainer’s Class Experience Report: Product Definition, DoD & Team ‘Blueprint’ Exercise


This summary, is an experience report from the recently conducted online LeSS class (provisional CLP).  Specifically, this writing is about a few discussion topics, accompanied by in-class exercises and homework activities: product definition, definition of done (DoD) and teams (blueprint).

In class, we were lucky to have a few people that were already highly experienced with Scrum and knew fundamentals of LeSS. A few people were also from the same XYZ company (name withheld for privacy) that specializes in global ERP solutions for manufacturers. Among XYZ company people, there was a senior vice president of R&D and a few other senior-ranked technology professionals.  With everyone’s consent and for everyone’s benefit, we were able to discuss the above topics in the context of XYZ case.

It was also made clear to everyone that this exercise is merely a simulation of a much more comprehensive discovery process that takes place during the initial phase of LeSS adoption, with many more people involved, not just a few.

We started, by trying to understand the company’s big picture: vision, revenue steams, cost factors, product partnership (internal business, external customers, R&D), value, competition, innovation.  For that, we used the great facilitation tool, created by E. Gottesdiener – The Product Canvas.

After the first round of exploration (v1.0 below), it became apparent that the product definition was too wide (big), and it would be impossible to support its development by a single LeSS product group (2-8 teams).

Of course, this assumption was not conclusive but for the purpose of this in-class exercise, it was decided to reduce the product definition, by focusing only on one particular area – Sales (v2.0 below).  This was consistent with what is recommended in LeSS: to expand product definition as reasonably possible, but not make it too wide to manage.

In the second phase of product definition, the class focused on identifying user types and actions, as well as various product components: interfaces, data, controls, environments, etc. This further helped validating the assumption, made in the first step of product definition.

Following the product canvas use, to identify the most important (and big) product features, the class proceeded with a story mapping exercise. The following five large features have been identified: New Sales Order Interface, Shipping Dashboard, New Quote Interface, Data Layer. They were then further decomposed into smaller features that were prioritized, on a time scale.  The class had a quick conversation about what a minimal viable feature (MVF) could look like if multiple small features, from various buckets were deployed together (the curvy black line below).  Within a few rounds, many more small features were identified and bucketed under large features (but not prioritized). It was a shared understanding by everyone that all identified items, eventually, should end up in a backlog.

Next, the class tried to envision what Dominion of Done (DoD) could look like for a team that was tasked to deliver any of the above mentioned features. The attempt was made to identify those activities that would be still Undone (impossible to finish in a sprint) at the initial stage of sprinting and how important it would be to gradually expand DoD and shrink Undone, over time. The class further discussed differences between Unfinished work (usually, a team’s problem) and Undone work (usually, organizational problem).

Based on all of the information collected, the class tried to envision what technical skill set and functional domain expertise would be required, for each team, to ensure that each team could take any item from a backlog and get it to Done in one sprint.

Finally, the class (this part was mainly driven by people from XYZ company) tried to hypothesize what a team structure could look like (team ‘blueprint’), given that some developers had one and some – more than one, skill set and domain expertise. Everyone understood that this is just a hypo and the intention is not to assign people to teams prematurily, since managers, leads or anyone else should NOT be making decisions on behalf of on teams. The idea of self-organizing team-building workshop was introduced and discussed (a few published LeSS case studies were reviewed to better understand this event).

 

During the break, one of the class members (XYZ company) tried to blueprint what LeSS Product Group may look like if v1.0 model (illustrated above) was followed to describe the whole product.  It appeared that each Requirement Area, would have only between 2 and 3 teams. It was then discussed that this approach would  NOT be recommended, as very small requirement areas (with very few teams in each area area) would lead to organizational silos, compartmentalizing of work, scattered knowledge and local optimization.
The class further discussed R&D organizational design implications of XYZ company. Many HR aspects were highlighted, such as a developer’s career path, promotions, compensation/incentives, etc. Various HR-related LeSS experiments were  explained.

At this point, the class ended the simulation exercise, with understanding that in real life this process could take from a few weeks, to a few months. It was understood by everyone that before an organization makes a ‘flip’ to LeSS, some additional, very important milestones would have to be achieved:

Team Self-Formation Workshop:

Product Backlog Creation (Initial PBR session):
Preferably, a creation of an organizational impediment backlog – something, to be continuously attend to during Overall Retrospectives, where senior management, would take ownership of problems.

HR-Related LeSS experiments

 

XYZ Company people have demonstrated a lot of determination to implement many aspects of LeSS learning and discoveries ASAP, in real work settings, within their organization.

11/18– LESS TALKS: Why Do Transformation Fail? Coordination Chaos, by Ari Tikka and Ran Nyman

Presented by  Ari Tikka and Ran Nyman

(original source)

Download Materials: https://www.keystepstosuccess.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/ari_ran_nyc_less_failed_transformations.pdf


Upcoming LeSS Training 

Additional recommended assets:

Exposing Invisible Organizational Dynamics w/System Thinking & Modelling @ Agile KC

 

Please note: all system models are conditional and not conclusive.  We model a system to have a conversation.


Upcoming LeSS Training 

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Word Play, Masquerades and Omissions with Scaling. Any Alternatives?

 

Presentation Materials

Upcoming LeSS Training 

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