Slowing Down to Speed Up

Posted on August 6th, 2013 in Kanban, Lean by siddharta || No Comment

I recently did a short mini-webinar for SolutionsIQ on the topic of slowing down to speed up. The webinar is based on the systems thinking principle that local optimisations can sometimes be bad for the global system.

Often times in agile, we look for process improvement at the delivery team only. This is fine in the early stages when the team is the bottleneck in the process, but after about 8-12 months they stop being the bottleneck. At that point, it makes more sense to look at the rest of the system, rather than focusing on the delivery team alone.

See the video recording of the webinar below:

Statistics for Agile Teams: Understanding Variation

Posted on March 26th, 2012 in Lean by siddharta || 5 Comments

A question came up in a recent discussion about why agile teams need to understand basic statistics.

Here is why…

[Note: the following post talks about Scrum teams and velocity. The equivalent for Kanban teams is lead time, so replace velocity with lead time everywhere if you are doing Kanban]

Take an example of a scrum team that committed to 40 points, delivered 20, then had a fiery debate during the retrospective about what went wrong and how to prevent it next time.

The next sprint they make some changes, deliver 45 points, get excited about the impact of their changes and decide that they should aim for 50 points now.

The sprint after they deliver only 30 points. Disaster!! Its doom and gloom at the retrospective about what went wrong this time. The Scrum Master steps in and says that its a major regression, this cant continue. That’s two sprints where they missed commitments by 20 points and stakeholders aren’t impressed. He recommends that they should seriously consider working weekends to hit commitments made to the stakeholders…..

How many times have we seen this pattern? Without realising it, this team is doing the absolutely worst thing possible. It’s called tampering. What is tampering? Read on…

Continue reading ‘Statistics for Agile Teams: Understanding Variation’ »

Using Class of Service to manage risk in innovative new product development

Posted on May 9th, 2011 in Kanban, Lean, presentation by siddharta || No Comment

The following are my slides from my presentation at the Lean Software and Systems Conference last week.

Pruning the feature list to identify the Minimum Viable Product

Posted on March 28th, 2011 in Lean, Product design by siddharta || 8 Comments

This weekend I had the opportunity to mentor some of the teams at The Startup Center during the in50hrs event. The idea of the event was to conceptualize and build a minimum viable product within one weekend.

As a mentor, my role was to sit with teams and make sure that their product idea really was the “minimum viable product“. When you conceptualize a product, chances are you’ve got all these fancy use cases in your head. You’re thinking “Oh wouldn’t it be cool if we had this features” and “That feature would really be neat”. Before you know it, you’ve got a complicated product with many useless features.

Lets look at an example of how we can pare back the features into a minimum viable product.

Continue reading ‘Pruning the feature list to identify the Minimum Viable Product’ »

Project Management vs Project Intelligence

Posted on March 26th, 2011 in Agile, Kanban, Lean, presentation, Silver Catalyst, Silver Stories, Tool, Tools For Agile by siddharta || No Comment

A lot of emphasis in software development process is placed on project management – making a commitment, planning, and tracking everything so you ensure you don’t drift away from the plan. Funnily enough, many agile projects have also ended up with this ‘form’ of project management.

And don’t get me wrong, it is important not to screw up!

But, in the worry not to screw up, are we losing sight of the opportunity to get better? Do we understand what we are building? Do we know where our bottlenecks are? Are we best aligned to business needs?

So here we go – the showdown between Project Management and Project Intelligence:

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