Tag Archives: agility

Review: Leading Teams – Setting the stage for great performances

leadingIf I see how agile teams perform you can ask yourself why is this the case, what is needed that these teams become much more effective? J. Richard Hackman wrote in 2002 the book Leading Teams – Setting the stage for great performances and this book still gives a lot of answers and directions how to look at those less effective agile teams.

The book is divided in three parts. In part I we get two examples of how senior leaders at two different airlines structured and supported teams of flight attendants. One airline achieved a great deal of control over flight attendant behavior, but at a considerable cost in motivation and creativity. The other airline achieved nearly the opposite outcomes. Throughout the book we will get a lot of references to these two teams and other examples too.

Part II is the core of the book and focusses on the conditions that foster team effectiveness reflected in products, services or decisions that are acceptable to the clients. That the team becomes more capable as a performing unit over time and that the individual members learn. The following five conditions must be put in place and stay there:

  • Having a real team
  • A compelling direction
  • An enabling team structure
  • A supportive organizational context
  • Expert team coaching

Part III Opportunities, discusses imperatives for leaders (and their execution skills) and how to think differently about teams within an operating environment (who decides? authority structure, who is responsible? work structure, who gains? reward structure, who learns? opportunity structure).

QRC (Leading teams, 180611) v1.0To download: QRC (Leading teams, 180611) v1.0

The five conditions:

A real team is the prerequisite for the other conditions. The task actually is appropriate for teamwork and it requires members to work together independently. It means establishing clear but moderately permeable membership boundaries. It means providing the team with substantial but clearly delimited authority for managing its work. And finally it means ensuring that the team will be reasonably stable over time as members carry out that work.

Providing a compelling direction that energizes, orients and engages teams is an important ingredient in setting the stage for great performances.

An enabling team structure is based on the design of the work that the team performs, the core norms of conduct that guide and constrain team behavior, and the composition of the team. Autonomy gives teams room to excel … but autonomous teams gone bad and can do real damage. Also virtual teams become more popular but it is much harder to create the previously mentioned conditions in virtual teams.

An unsupportive organizational context limit the performance of even a well-designed work team. The following three systems have particularly high leverage in supporting teamwork: the reward system (to provide recognition and reinforcement contingent on excellent team performance), the information system (to provide teams, at their own initiative whenever possible, the data and projections that members need to competently plan and execute their work) and the educational system (to make training and technical assistance available to work teams for any aspects of the work in which members are not already sufficiently knowledgeable or skilled).

The last condition, expert coaching, can significantly enhance team performance processes as managing member effort, selecting and implementing its task performance strategies and in utilizing members’ talents. What can coaches do and when can they do it to help a work team manage the three key performance processes efficiently and well.

Conclusion: A must read for (tribe) leaders, sponsors, (project and programme) managers and agile coaches. To be honest it’s not an easy read. There is a lot of text in the chapters and you get sometimes lost (maybe some white between paragraphs and the use of numbered sections would have helped).

To order: Leading Teams – Setting the stage for great performances

Advertisements

Review: The Agile Enterprise

9781484223901-480x600Mario E. Moreira wrote the book The Agile Enterprise – Building and Running Agile Organizations. A book that can help you to understand what is needed to achieve the full benefits of mature agile. Individuals at all levels in the organization must be committed to the agile mindset and focusing on delivering value to the customer. On top of this all employees must be empowered to take ownership.

The author uses a metaphor of the Agile galaxy: a landscape for your agile culture to view where agile is being applied in your organization and a customer value driven engine.

The book contains 22 chapters, where the first four chapters (I would say the first five) explains the conceptual groundwork for an effective customer-value-driven enterprise and all other chapters provides in-depth knowledge of concepts, mindsets, practices, and techniques to build this customer-value-driven enterprise.

Several chapters ends with references with more material and on many places you get an ‘Agile Pit Stop’ to illuminate ideas or highlight important points.

The landscape of the agile galaxy has three axes. The horizontal view, the delivery axis, following the recording of an idea towards the release of that idea. A vertical view, the hierarchical axis, from top (exec level) to bottom (team level). And the third dimension is the culture: from a negative agile, or more traditional hierarchical and command and control, culture towards a positive agile culture, aligned with engaging customers and employees and aligned with agile values and principles.

Dia1To download: The Agile Enterprise (Agile Galaxy QRC, 180507) v1.0

To highlight the different chapters I will follow the author’s clustering of several themes and summarize some key points.

Agile as it relates to the customer:

The key is narrowing the gap between employees and customers (two-degrees-of separation rule). Customer input and feedback are the two primary guides towards customer value. And understand that often customers don’t know what they want until they see it. To understand customer ideas the author describes how you can record them by using a lean or customer-value canvas and customer personas.

Agile as it relates to the employee:

If you believe employees matter, you must embrace the COMETS values (Collaboration, Ownership, Motivation, Empowerment, Enthusiasm, Trust and Safety). If your organization is following the agile transformation journey and your role has not adapted you may not be part of the transformation. Topics like bounded authority and holocracy are discussed and what is needed to build a learning enterprise. Focus early on the readying the mind for agile with agile mindset education and not with education on an agile process or agile role (the mechanics). A culture with a discovery mindset, infused with incremental thinking, experimental thinking, divergent and convergent thinking, feedback thinking and design thinking is key. HR can play an important role to promote education and agile and hiring agile-minded employees.

Agile culture and mindset:

In the previous clusters already several topics were highlighted, e.g. embracing customers and employees, building a learning enterprise, applying a discovery mindset as well as the role of HR. To understand your own culture an Agile cultural assessment survey based on desired agile behaviors is included in the book.

Running an agile enterprise:

The delivery axis in the agile galaxy can be seen as the enterprise idea pipeline or portfolio backlog or enterprise Kanban board. The 5R model is explained as a path to deliver customer value (Record, Reveal, Refine, Realize and Release and the 6R model added the Reflect step at the end) and how this pipeline can be connected to the backlogs. Prioritization techniques like the Cost of Delay (CoD or CoD3) are explained and what it means if you move away from traditional budgeting towards agile budgeting and make use of lightning-bolt-shaped teams (with primary and at least two additional skills to be able to handle a broader range of work). Agile success measures are discussed and it ends with an explanation of an incremental approach toward an agile adoption (learn, grow, accelerate, transform and sustain).

Establishing your requirements relationships and decomposing requirements from idea to task:

To show the relative hierarchy among various requirements the author uses the requirements tree (corporate strategy, division strategy, ideas, idea increment, epic, user story, and task) and story mapping points you at options that help validate customer value including collaboration on user stories.

Conclusion. A good book when you are at the beginning or in the middle of an agile transformation. I like the idea of the agile galaxy with the three axes. The author gives a lot of in-depth information, mindsets, principles, tools and practices to increase the chance of success of your journey. To read the book from front to back is not easy. I miss a sort of red thread throughout the book, I sometimes had the idea that some chapters could be combined, e.g. 16 and 18 or could be moved to the first part of the book.

To order: The Agile Enterprise

Review: The age of agile

9780814439098-200x300Stephen Denning wrote a very interesting and inspiring book The age of agile – How smart companies are transforming the way work gets Done. Not about agile frameworks but what it really means to reach more agility.

The book is divided in two parts. The first part focusses on agile management, laws, a case study to implement agile at scale (Microsoft), and moving towards strategic agility and changing the organizational culture. The second part puts several management traps in the spotlights. E.g. shareholder value, share buybacks, cost-oriented economics and backward-looking strategy.

Organizations that have embraced agile have three core characteristics:

  • The law of the small team. “It’s presumption that in a VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) world, big and difficult problems should – to the extent possible – be disaggregated into small batches and performed by small cross-functional autonomous teams working iteratively in short cycles in a state of flow, with fast feedback from customers and end-users.
  • The law of the customer. “Requires that the firm’s culture and internal systems, processes, and values themselves be continuously subordinated to, and driven by, delivering value to the customer: if there is a conflict, it is the customer’s needs that need to be given priority.
  • The law of the network. “An organizational network is a set of teams that interact with and collaborate with other teams with the same connectivity, interaction, and passion as they do within their own small team. Each team needs to look beyond its own goals and concerns and see its work as part of the larger mission of the collectivity.

Dia1Common practices of agile small teams:

  • Work in small batches
  • Small cross-functional teams
  • Limited work in process
  • Autonomous teams
  • Getting to “done”
  • Work without interruption
  • Daily stand-ups
  • Radical transparency
  • Customer feedback each cycle
  • Retrospective reviews

Dia2Practices of the law of the customer:

  • Target
  • Constantly experiment
  • Partner with start-ups
  • Increase product malleability (turn a physical product into a digital product)
  • Focus
  • Innovate in short stages
  • Evaluate
  • Be willing to disappoint
  • Deliver value faster
  • Customize

Dia3Some hypotheses as to what it takes to make networks work:

  • The network has a compelling goal
  • The network comprises small groups
  • The groups have an action orientation
  • The network is the sum of the small groups
  • The network’s legal framework stays in the background

The Microsoft case study implementing agile at scale gives helpful keys that are needed to make agile at scale:

  • Get the right balance of alignment and autonomy (too much control, nothing gets done – too little control, it’s chaos)
  • Master the role of the agile manager
  • Handle dependencies at the team level
  • Ensure continuous integration
  • Keep on top of technical debt
  • Embrace Devops and continuous Delivery
  • Continuously monitor progress
  • Listen to the customer wants, but meet their needs
  • Deal with directions from above
  • Use self-forming teams to encourage team ownership
  • Recognize the team is the product
  • Build quality from the beginning
  • Use coaching carefully
  • Ensure top-level support.

The last two chapters of the first part explores what it means to move from operational to strategic agility. Generating innovations that create entirely new markets by turning non-customers into customers. Strategic agility is the next frontier of agile management. Start with market-creating value propositions based on four fundamental components: Need, Approach, Benefits per costs, and Competition (NABC).

In the second part we are looking at organizations who are mainly focussed on defending the status quo and protecting their existing business. The are not moving towards operational and strategic agility. They are blocked by traps of short-term shareholder value, share buybacks, cost-oriented economics and backward-looking strategies.

  • The trap of shareholder value. Maximizing shareholder value means top-down command-and-control management and as a result dispirited employees, less engagement, less innovation, …
  • The trap of share buybacks. Making profits (“corporate cocaine”) even as it systematically destroys its own earning capacity by handing over resources to shareholders and as a result there are insufficient resources to support investment and innovation
  • The cost-oriented economics trap. Cutting costs could lead to a permanent loss of expertise. Adding customer value at lower cost is much more important
  • The trap of backward-looking strategy. These strategies are 100 percent accurate in hindsight, but in foresight, they miss the unexpected and the unforeseen.

The book ends with the epilogue where nuclear winters and golden ages starting in 1790 with the canals and ending in the era of computers and communications are discussed. We get an overview of different roles (from CEO’s to thought leaders and the media and many more) and what they need to do to run organizations in a better way.

Conclusion: Great case studies to understand why we need the three laws of the customer, the small team and the network. A must read for those who want to make a shift to business agility.

In line with the agile manifesto and summarizing the second part of the book I would say:

  • Customer value over shareholder value
  • Customer value over organization’s efficiency
  • Value driven perspective over cost orientation

To order: The age of agile

Recensie: Toolkit voor agile leiders

9789024415601-480x600Steeds meer organisaties schalen het aantal agile teams op. IPMA is ondertussen ook begonnen met certificering op agile leadership niveau, dus boeken waarbij agile leadership centraal staan zijn nu actueel en noodzakelijk. Peter Koning heeft zijn ervaringen met agile leiderschap vertaalt in praktische handvatten en op papier gezet middels het boek Toolkit voor agile leiders – Leidinggeven aan wendbare teams.

De auteur heeft zijn boek opgedeeld in vier delen waarbij in ieder deel een vaardigheid en twee bijbehorende hulpmiddelen of tools beschreven worden. Ieder deel wordt afgesloten met wat het vraagt van de agile leider en concrete acties. De vier delen beschrijven de volgende vier vaardigheden van agile leiders:

  • Inspireer op het doel
  • Faciliteer eigenaarschap
  • Leer sneller
  • Ontwerp op betere gewoontes

Iedere tool wordt in een afzonderlijk hoofdstuk nader uitgelegd en mogelijke valkuilen bij het toepassen worden toegelicht. De acht besproken tools of hulpmiddelen zijn:

  1. Key Value Indicator (KVI)
  2. Impactladder
  3. Eigenaarschapmodel
  4. Vrijhedenmatrix
  5. Time to learn (T2L)
  6. Validated Learning Board (VLB)
  7. Gewoontematrix
  8. To-GRIP

TVAL (QRC, 180113) v1.0

Downloaden: TVAL (QRC, 180113) v1.0

De Key Value Indicator (KVI) is voor het team de belangrijkste indicator voor waarde creatie (bijvoorbeeld conversie op een website: hoeveel % van de bezoekers koopt een product). De KVI maakt de relatie tussen klantimpact en waarde concreet. De Impactladder kan gebruikt worden bij het brainstormen over en het concretiseren en het visualiseren van de klantimpact op zowel de korte als de lange termijn. Dit helpt teams hun producten en diensten continue te verbeteren. Zowel de KVI als de impactladder helpen de agile leider bij het stellen van inspirerende doelen (het wat, niet het hoe).

Het eigenaarschapmodel visualiseert wat teams nodig hebben om eigenaarschap op te pakken. Hierbij wordt gekeken naar enerzijds de volwassenheid van het team en anderzijds de vrijheid die het team krijgt. Een onvolwassen team met te veel vrijheid of een volwassen team met te weinig vrijheid levert frustratie en is daarmee een risico. De vrijhedenmatrix geeft aan welke vrijheden en verantwoordelijkheden het team op welk moment heeft. Deze tool is gebaseerd op het Delegation Board van Jurgen Appelo. Hierbij wordt per onderwerp aangegeven welke vrijheden het team zich kan veroorloven rekening houdend met de volwassenheid van het team. Zowel het eigenaarschapmodel als de vrijhedenmatrix helpen de agile leider bij het faciliteren van eigenaarschap.

Het Validated Learning Board (VLB) visualiseert het leerproces van het team waarbij zes stappen worden onderkend: schetsen, bouwen, opleveren, gebruiken, leren, geleerd (done). Ieder idee of functionaliteit wordt middels een kaart (post-it) gevisualiseerd. Time to Learn (T2L) geeft de leersnelheid van het team aan, dus de tijd die nodig is om een idee door alle stappen van schetsen tot geleerd te laten lopen. Door de T2L trend te volgen en op basis daarvan de T2L te verkleinen kan steeds sneller waarde worden toegevoegd.

De gewoontematrix biedt ondersteuning bij cultuurverandering en het ontwerpen van nieuwe gewoontes. De gewoontematrix helpt bij het brainstormen over ongewenste effecten en achterliggende ongezonde gewoontes en helpt gezonde gewoontes te ontwerpen. TO-GRIP ondersteunt de agile leider in het doorvoeren van grote verbeteringen door een aantal teams middels het creëren van een veilige omgeving, waarbij de eerste letters staan voor: Team (Samenstellen team), Owner (Informele leider met mandaat), Goal (Uitdaging, KVI), Rhytm (Timebox, T2L), Insight (VLB, Doel, Trendlijn KVI, T2L) en Period (Wanneer evalueren). TO-GRIP en de gewoontematrix ondersteunen de agile leider bij het ontwerpen van betere gewoontes.

Op www.tval.nl kan men extra voorbeelden en templates van de verschillende tools vinden. Ook is daar een toepasselijke youtube video te vinden over social conformity (of peer pressure) in een wachtkamer als achtergrondinformatie bij de gewoontematrix.

Conclusie: Een prettig leesbaar boek met praktische handvatten voor de (beginnende) agile leider. Het gebruik van de impactladder, de gewoontematrix en vooral het eigenaarschapmodel zijn tools die ik niet kende maar waarvan de toegevoegde waarde duidelijk is. Andere tools waren mij bekend en ook daarvan is de toegevoegde waarde voor de agile leider evident. Bij het beschrijven van de fasen van volwassenheid van de teams mag m.i. een verwijzing naar de fasen van Tuckman niet ontbreken. Ook zou ik duidelijker aangeven dat de VLB een kanbanbord betreft en dat het toevoegen van Work in progress (WIP) limieten per stap wellicht, naast zo klein mogelijke initiatieven, de belangrijkste niet genoemde versneller van T2L op kan leveren. Ook de T2L is onder een andere naam veel bekender, namelijk de cycle time in een Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD). Zo’n CFD kan de agile leider nog veel meer inzicht geven. Tenslotte vind ik het jammer dat de auteur bij TO-GRIP aangeeft dat dit hulpmiddel geschikt is om een omgeving te creëren waarbinnen verschillende teams met elkaar verbeteringen doorvoeren terwijl de beschrijving van de tool uitgaat van één team. Maar, los van de gemaakte opmerkingen, een boek dat ik agile leiders zeker kan aanbevelen.

Bestellen: Toolkit voor agile leiders

Review: The Startup Way

9780241197264-480x600In the book ‘The Startup Way – How Entrepreneurial Management Transforms Culture and Drives Growth’, the author Eric Ries shows how you can apply the Lean Startup mindset and techniques in every organization. How do you ensure that you enable continuous innovation within the existing organizational structure? How do you create support and what opportunities and threats are there in scaling up such an internal startup?

The book consists of three parts. In the first part, we look at the modern company and we see why traditional management practices no longer satisfy. The second part describes a roadmap to transformation or the ‘how’ of The Startup Way. The last, smaller, part three ‘the big picture’ deals with the question of what happens when the transformation process is ‘completed’. Throughout the book we get a multitude of examples from the author’s own practice at companies such as GE, IBM, Intuit and the government of the United States.

In the first part the modern company is designed. What does uncertainty mean, how do we deal with failures, what is the role of the leader when the way in which companies grow up, changes and to which you can recognize a modern company. A next chapter focuses on entrepreneurship as a missing function and zooms in on the startup as an atomic unit of work and the integration of startups in the organization. It is a startup state of mind. It’s all about the team. Think big. Start small. Scale fast. We get a tour through various start-up methods. A separate chapter is devoted to refreshing knowledge of and lessons from The Lean Startup and we get many types and examples of MVPs. This part ends with a chapter on a management system for innovation at scale. Within The Startup Way, general and entrepreneurial management are connected through the following shared values: commitment to truth, discipline, excellence and continuous improvement.

In the second part the ‘how’ of the startup method is in the spotlights. Several chapters follow the three phases of The Startup Way: critical mass, scaling up and deep systems and thus provide a roadmap for transformation. The three phases at both team, division and company level can be followed. For each phase, many patterns and examples are discussed with the comment that it is not a step-by-step manual.

Phase one: critical mass:

  • Start small
  • Build dedicated, cross-functional teams
  • Wield the golden sword (clearing away bureaucratic obstacles)
  • Design a good experiment (hypothesis, next action, risk containment, a tie between what is measured and one hypothesis)
  • Create new ways to measure success (leading indicators)
  • Work by exception
  • Translate this way of working into terms the organization can understand.

Phase two: Scaling up:

  • Identify the challenges faced by pilot teams
  • Implement a widespread rollout
  • Identify and make use of executive-level champions
  • Train representatives of all internal functions
  • Establish an in-house coaching program
  • Set up the mechanisms of metered funding and growth boards

Phase Three: Deep systems:

  • From gatekeeper functions (delayed) to enabling functions (accelerated). Create a one-page guide that laid out, in plain English, a series of parameters within which teams would be pre-cleared to work
  • Dual roles: support the entrepreneurial efforts of product and project teams and create their own entrepreneurial process to streamline their own functional responsibilities
  • Testing and validating
  • Ideas and way of working must become deeply baked into a company’s DNA.

Startup way (QRC, 180109) v1.0To download: Startup way (QRC, 180109) v1.0

This section concludes with a detailed explanation of the complex matter of innovation accounting. What is innovation accounting, the role of the growth board and the three levels (dashboard, business case and net present value) to translate the vague language from ‘learning’ to the hard language of dollars or euros.

Growth Board responsibilities:

  • To be the single point of contact of corporate accountability for an internal startup.
  • To act as the single clearinghouse for information about the startup for the rest of the corporation.
  • To provide metered funding to startups.

In the last part, the author sees as the most important application of The Startup Way to build an open and innovative society. How to create government policies that are entrepreneurial-friendly and to use The startup Way as a new social movement in order to respond to the following points:

  • An epidemic of short-termism
  • Lack of entrepreneurial opportunity
  • A loss of leadership
  • Low growth and instability.

Conclusion. If you have read the Lean Startup then this book is a great addition and offers practical tools, many examples and insights to drive the continuous transformation to more agility by using the internal startup as a building block and to promote entrepreneurship. But do not underestimate it, as a company to go through such a transformation is a hell of a job as this also clearly emerges in this not always easy to read book.

To order: The Startup Way

Recensie: De startup methode

9789047009504-480x600In het boek ‘De startup methode – Ondernemerschap als succesfactor in elke organisatie’ laat de auteur Eric Ries zien hoe je de Lean Startup-mentaliteit en –technieken kunt toepassen in iedere organisatie. Hoe zorg je ervoor dat je voortdurende innovatie mogelijk maakt binnen de bestaande organisatiestructuur? Hoe creëer je draagvlak en welke kansen en bedreigingen zijn daar bij het opschalen van zo’n interne startup?

Het boek bestaat uit drie delen. In het eerste deel kijken we naar het moderne bedrijf en zien we waarom traditionele managementpraktijken niet langer voldoen. Het tweede deel beschrijft een routekaart naar transformatie of te wel het ‘hoe’ van de startup-methode. Het laatste, kleinere, deel drie ‘het grote plaatje’ gaat in op de vraag wat er gebeurt als het transformatieproces ‘voltooid’ is. Door het hele boek heen krijgen we een veelheid van voorbeelden uit de praktijk van de auteur zelf bij bedrijven zoals GE, IBM, Intuit en de overheid van de Verenigde Staten.

In het eerste deel wordt het moderne bedrijf vormgegeven. Wat betekent onzekerheid, hoe gaan we om met mislukkingen, wat is de rol van de leider als de manier waarop bedrijven volwassen worden, verandert en waaraan kan je een modern bedrijf herkennen. Een volgend hoofdstuk zet ondernemerschap als ontbrekende functie centraal en zoemt in op de startup als atomaire eenheid van werk en het integreren van startups in de organisatie. Het gaat om een startup state of mind. Het draait om het team. Denk groot. Begin klein. Schaal snel. We krijgen een rondgang langs verschillende startup-werkwijzen. Een afzonderlijk hoofdstuk is gewijd aan het opfrissen van kennis van en lessen uit de lean startup en krijgen we vele types en voorbeelden van MVP’s. Dit deel wordt afgesloten met een hoofdstuk over een managementsysteem voor innovatie op schaal. Binnen de startup-methode worden algemeen en entrpreneural management met elkaar verbonden middels de volgende gedeelde waarden: toegewijd aan de waarheid, discipline, uitmuntendheid en voortdurende verbetering.

In het tweede deel staat het ‘hoe’ van de startup-methode centraal. Verschillende hoofdstukken volgen de drie fasen van de startup-methode: kritieke massa, opschalen en dieperliggende systemen en biedt daarmee een routekaart voor transformatie. Hierbij zijn de drie fasen op zowel team-, divisie- als ondernemingsniveau door te lopen. Per fase worden veel voortkomende patronen en voorbeelden besproken waarbij de kanttekening gemaakt wordt dat het geen stap-voor-stap handleiding betreft.

Fase een: kritieke massa:

  1. Klein beginnen
  2. Cross-functionele teams samenstellen
  3. Het gouden zwaard (doorklieven bureaucratie)
  4. Ontwerp een goed experiment (hypothese, vervolgactie, risicobeheersing, connectie met blinde aanname)
  5. Ontwikkel nieuwe manieren om succes te meten (leidende indicatoren)
  6. Werk met uitzonderingen
  7. Leg deze manier van werken uit in termen die de organisatie kan begrijpen.

Fase twee: Opschalen:

  1. Stel vast met welke uitdagingen de pilotteams te maken kregen
  2. Implementeer een wijdverspreide uitrol
  3. Vind pleitbezorgers op directieniveau en maak gepast gebruik van hun expertise
  4. Train vertegenwoordigers van alle interne functies
  5. Zet een inhouse coachingsprogramma op
  6. Mechanismen voor het opzetten van gedoseerde financiering en groeibesturen.

Fase drie: Dieperliggende systemen:

  1. Van poortwachtersfunctie (vertragend) naar faciliterende functie (versnellend). Maak handleiding in begrijpelijke taal met parameters waarbinnen innovatieteams vrij zijn hun werk te doen
  2. Dubbelrollen: ondersteunen ondernemersinspanningen van product- en projectteams, en ontwikkelen ondernemersprocessen om hun eigen functies te stroomlijnen
  3. Testen en valideren
  4. Inbakken van de ideeën en de werkwijze in het DNA van het bedrijf.

Startup methode (QRC, 180103) v1.0Downloaden: Startup methode (QRC, 180103) v1.0

Dit deel wordt afgesloten met een uitgebreide toelichting op de ingewikkelde materie van innovatie-accounting. Wat is innovatie-accounting, de rol van het groeibestuur en de drie niveaus (dashboard, businesscase en netto contante waarde) om daarmee de vage taal van het ‘leren’ naar de harde taal van dollars of euro’s te vertalen.

Groeibestuur verantwoordelijkheden:

  • Optreden als centrale verantwoordingsinstantie van de startup.
  • Optreden als centraal punt voor informatievoorziening over de startup.
  • Gedoseerde financiering bieden aan startup-teams.

In het laatste deel ziet de auteur als belangrijkste toepassing van de startup methode het opbouwen van een open en innovatieve samenleving. Hoe komen we tot een overheidsbeleid dat ondernemersvriendelijk is en de startup methode als een nieuwe maatschappelijke beweging om daarmee een antwoord te hebben op de volgende punten:

  • Een epidemie van kortetermijndenken.
  • Een gebrek aan kansen op het gebied van ondernemerschap.
  • Een gebrek aan leiderschap.
  • Geringe groei en instabiliteit.

Conclusie. Als je de Lean Startup gelezen hebt dan is dit boek een mooie aanvulling en biedt je praktische handvatten, vele voorbeelden en verdieping om de continue transformatie naar meer agility vorm te geven door de startup als bouwsteen in te zetten en ondernemerschap te promoten. Maar onderschat het niet, om als bedrijf zo’n transformatie door te maken is een zeer zwaar traject zoals dit ook helder naar voren komt in dit niet altijd even vlot te lezen boek.

Bestellen: De startup methode

Review: Manage your project portfolio

9781680501759-480x600Johanna Rothman wrote the book Manage your portfolio Second edition – Increase your capacity – Finish more projects. A book for the more professional portfolio manager or as mentioned on the back of the book: Expert skill level.

If you are facing too many projects, if firefighting and multitasking are keeping you from finishing any of them, this book will help you to manage your portfolio. It makes use of agile and lean ways of working and brings the biggest benefits when you are running your projects in an agile way too. Projects become to be delivered features and evaluation means prioritizing feature sets. In the quick reference card, I highlighted the way the author promotes the usage of Kanban boards to manage your portfolio and it visualizes some of the decisions to be taken.

Manage your portfolio (QRC, 171017) v1.0

To download: Manage your portfolio (QRC, 171017) v1.0

The author divided the book in fourteen chapters and these chapters gives you a step by step approach to build your portfolio. All chapters end with several situations and possible responses to try.

  1. Meet your project portfolio: It’s not your customer who cares about your portfolio. If you are facing issues to finish projects, if you want to deliver faster, more often and qualitative good products to your customer, you need a portfolio
  2. See your future: by managing your portfolio you make the organization’s choices transparent. It becomes clear what to work on first, second, third. It will help to avoid multitasking. What does it mean if you apply lean approaches to your project portfolio? You must think in terms of value, let teams work in small chunks that they can handle and complete
  3. Create the first draft of your portfolio: start collecting all the work before you attempt to evaluate and determine whether you need to do it now. When needed organize sets of projects into programs. Divide your projects in feature sets or Minimum Marketable Features. Not all feature sets are equally important.
  4. Evaluate your projects: the very first decision is about whether you want to commit to this project, kill the project, or transform the project in some way before continuing. If you don’t want to commit but you can’t kill it either put the project on a project parking lot (name, data, value discussion and notes) so you don’t lose track of it.
  5. Rank the portfolio: You can use many methods to rank. The author discusses the rank with Cost of Delay, business value points (divide a total number of points across your projects), by risk, organization’s context, by tour product’s position in the marketplace or by using pairwise comparison, single or double elimination.
  6. Collaborate on the portfolio: Making portfolio decisions is never a single person’s decision. Facilitate portfolio evaluation meetings.
  7. Iterate on the portfolio: Set an iteration length for your review cycles. This cycle length is affected by your project life cycle (agile delivery gives you the opportunity to have shorter review cycles), your product roadmap, and budgeting cycle.
  8. Make portfolio decisions: Conduct portfolio evaluation meetings at least quarterly to start with, decide how often to review the project parking lot. How are you going to cope with advanced R&D projects? Build a project portfolio Kanban (create backlog, evaluate, project work, assess/validate and maintain) to manage your portfolio.
  9. Visualize your project portfolio: Create a calendar view of your projects with predicted dates. Show not only your staffed projects but your unstaffed work too.
  10. Scaling portfolio management to an enterprise: What are the consequences of resource efficiency thinking (100% resource utilization is 0% flow)? How can you scale by starting bottom up or top down? You need both but scale with care. Do you know your enterprise’s mission or strategy otherwise it will be very difficult, if not impossible to make large decisions? Set up a corporate project portfolio meeting to answer the questions which projects help to implement our strategy and which project distract us from our strategy.
  11. Evolve your portfolio: Using lean can help you to evolve your portfolio approach. What does it mean if you stabilize the time-box or the number of work items in progress (see Naked planning video too).
  12. Measure the essentials: for a lean or agile approach consider the following measures: team’s velocity (current and historical), amount of work in progress (cycle and lead time, cumulative flow), obstacles preventing the team to move faster (how long in progress), product backlog burn-up chart, run rate. Never measure individual productivity.
  13. Define your mission: Brainstorm the essentials of a mission, refine the mission (specify strong verbs, eliminate adverbs, avoid jargon), iterate until you feel comfortable, test your mission, make the mission real for everyone.
  14. Start somewhere…but start!

Conclusion. Johanna Rothman wrote a must read for portfolio managers who are struggling with their role when their organization is moving towards more business agility, with more and more permanent agile teams in place but also for the traditional portfolio manager, facing too many projects and almost no delivery to get hands-on practical advice to start organizing their portfolios.

To order: Manage your portfolio Second edition – Increase your capacity – Finish more projects.

Naked Planning Overview by Arlo Belshee

Arlo was one of the first to lay-out the inspiration for Kanban systems for software development.