Tag Archives: agility

Recensie: Het tijdperk van agile

9789492790149-480x600Stephen Denning schreef een zeer interessant en inspirerend boek Het tijdperk van agile – Hoe slimme bedrijven hun manier van werken transformeren. Geen boek over agile frameworks, maar wat het werkelijk inhoudt om als organisatie meer wendbaar te worden.

Het boek bestaat uit twee delen. Het eerste deel concentreert zich op agile management, wetten, een case study om agile op grote schaal te implementeren (Microsoft), en te evolueren naar strategische wendbaarheid en de organisatiecultuur te veranderen. Het tweede deel plaatst verschillende managementvalkuilen in de schijnwerpers. Bijv. aandeelhouderswaarde, inkoop van eigen aandelen, kostengerichte benadering en de valkuil van een achteromkijkende strategie.

Organisaties die wendbaarheid omarmd hebben, onderschrijven de volgende wetten:

  • De wet van het kleine team.“Het is de gedachte dat grote, ingewikkelde problemen in eenVUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) wereld zo veel mogelijk moeten worden opgesplitst om te worden toevertrouwd aan kleine, autonome, multifunctionele teams die iteratief en in korte cycli werken en daardoor in een flow komen met snelle feedback van klanten en eindgebruikers.”
  • De wet van de klant.“vereist dus dat de cultuur, interne processen en warden voortdurend ondergeschikt worden gemaakt aan en gevormd worden door de noodzaak om waarde te leveren aan de klant.”
  • De wet van het netwerk.een netwerk is een groep of system van onderling verbonden mensen of zaken. Een organisatorisch netwerk bestaat uit teams die interactie hebben en samenwerken met andere teams met dezelfde mate van connectiviteit, interactie en passie die kleine teams kenmerken. Zo’n netwerk is gebaseerd op de Wet van het kleine team, maar er is meer voor nodig. Elk team moet verder kijken dan zijn eigen doelstellingen en zijn werk zien als onderdeel van de grotere missie van het collectief.

Dia1Veel gebruikte technieken van kleine agile teams:

  • Ze werken met kleine batches
  • Kleine, multidisciplinaire teams
  • Onderhanden werk limiteren
  • Autonome teams
  • De klus klaren
  • Werken zonder onderbreking
  • Dagelijkse stand-ups
  • Radicale transparantie
  • Feedback van de klant in elke cyclus
  • Retrospectieve evaluatie.

Dia2Methoden van de wet van de klant:

  • Doelgroep
  • Experimenteer voortdurend
  • Werk samen met start-ups
  • Maak je product kneedbaar
  • Focus
  • Innoveer stapsgewijs
  • Evalueer
  • Je moet bereid zijn om mensen teleur te stellen
  • Lever sneller waarde
  • Houd rekening met individuele wensen.

Dia3Enkele hypotheses over wat er nodig is om netwerken goed te laten werken:

  • Het netwerk heeft een meeslepend doel
  • Het netwerk bestaat uit kleine groepen
  • De groepen zijn daadgericht
  • Het netwerk is de som van de kleine groepen
  • Het juridisch kader van het netwerk blijft op de achtergrond.

De Microsoft-casestudy laat zien hoe Microsoft agile op grote schaal implementeert en biedt nuttige elementen die nodig zijn om als organisatie op grote schaal wendbaarder te worden:

  • Vind het juiste evenwicht tussen overeenstemming en autonomie (Als er teveel controle wordt uitgeoefend, wordt er niets gedaan. Maar te weinig controle leidt tot chaos)
  • Krijg de rol van agile manager onder de knie
  • Handel onderlinge afhankelijkheden af op teamniveau
  • Zorg voor continue integratie
  • Laat de technische problemen zich niet opstapelen
  • Verwelkom DevOps en continue integratie
  • Houd de vooruitgang voortdurend bij
  • Luister naar wat klanten willen, maar maak wat ze nodig hebben
  • Geen inmenging van boven
  • Gebruik zelfvormende teams om eigenaarschap te stimuleren
  • Onderken dat het team het product is
  • Werk vanaf het begin aan kwaliteit
  • Ga zorgvuldig om met training en coaching
  • Zorg voor steun van de top.

De laatste twee hoofdstukken van het eerste deel beschrijven wat het betekent om over te schakelen van operationele naar strategische agility. Innovaties genereren die volledig nieuwe markten creëren door niet-klanten klanten te maken. Strategische behendigheid is de volgende grens van agile management. Begin met markt creërende waarde propositie op basis van vier fundamentele componenten: behoefte, aanpak, kostenbatenanalyse en concurrentie.

In het tweede deel kijkt de auteur naar organisaties die zich voornamelijk richten op het verdedigen van de status-quo en het beschermen van hun bestaande bedrijf. Ze evolueren niet naar operationele en strategische agility. Ze worden geblokkeerd door valkuilen van aandeelhouderswaarde, inkoop van eigen aandelen, kostengerichte benadering en een achteromkijkende strategie.

  • De valkuil van aandeelhouderswaarde. Het maximaliseren van de aandeelhouderswaarde betekent top-down command-en-control-management met als gevolg gedemotiveerde medewerkers, minder betrokkenheid, minder innovatie, …
  • De valkuil van het inkopen van aandelen. Winst maken (‘bedrijfscocaïne’), zelfs als het stelselmatig zijn eigen verdiencapaciteit vernietigt door middelen aan de aandeelhouders over te dragen zodat er onvoldoende middelen zijn om investeringen en innovatie te ondersteunen
  • De valkuil van de kostengerichte benadering. Verlaging van kosten kan leiden tot permanent verlies van expertise. Klantwaarde realiseren tegen lagere kosten is veel belangrijker
  • De valkuil van een achteromkijkende strategie. Deze strategieën zijn achteraf 100 procent accuraat, maar voor voorspellingen moet je ook kennis hebben van het onverwachte en het onvoorziene.

Het boek eindigt met de epiloog waarin de geschiedenis van gouden eeuwen en nucleaire winters, beginnend in 1790 met de kanalen, via spoorwegen, staal en massaproductie en eindigend in het tijdperk van computers en communicatie, wordt besproken. We krijgen een overzicht van verschillende rollen (van CEO’s tot toonaangevende denkers (thought leaders) en de media en nog veel meer) en wat ze moeten doen om organisaties wendbaarder te laten functioneren.

Conclusie: Fantastische casestudy’s om te begrijpen waarom we de drie wetten van de klant, het kleine team en het netwerk nodig hebben. Een must voor diegenen die een verandering naar meer wendbaarheid willen maken.

In lijn met het agile manifest en het samenvatten van het tweede deel van het boek zou ik zeggen:

  • Klantwaarde boven aandeelhouderswaarde
  • Klantwaarde boven organisatie efficiency
  • Waarde gedreven perspectief boven kostenoriëntatie

Bestellen: Het tijdperk van agile

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Review HBR May-June 2018, Agile at scale

HBRIn this interesting article Agile at scale – How to go from a few teams to hundreds the authors Darell K. Rigby, Jeff Sutherland, and Andy Noble give insights in their study of scaling up of agile at hundreds of companies.

Some key take aways:

  • Leading agile by being agile, don’t use top-down plans and directives to scale up
  • Create a taxonomy of teams. Break the taxonomy into three components – customer experience teams, business process teams, and technology teams – and then integrate them (see picture)

HBR Agile at scale

  • Get agile rolling. Launch an initial wave of agile teams, gather data on the value those teams create and the constraints they face, and then decide whether, when, and how to take the next step (test and learn cycle)
  • Sequence the transition. Don’t make the mistake of going for easy wins. You have to create a learning environment or organizational changes necessary to scale dozens or hundreds of teams
  • Big bang transitions are hard. Require total leadership commitment, a receptive culture, enough talented and experienced agile practitioners to staff hundreds of teams without depleting other capabilities, and highly descriptive instruction manuals to align everyone’s approach, a high tolerance of risk along with contingency plans to deal with unexpected breakdowns. It’s often better to roll out agile in sequenced steps, with each unit matching the implementation of opportunities to its capabilities
  • No agile team should be launched unless and until it is ready to begin. The team is:
    • Focused on a major business opportunity with a lot at stake
    • Responsible for specific outcomes
    • Trusted to work autonomously – guided by clear decision rights, properly resourced, and staffed with a small group of multidisciplinary experts who are passionate about the opportunity
    • Committed to apply agile values, principles, and practices
    • Empowered to collaborate closely with customers
    • Able to create rapid prototypes and fast feedback loops
    • Supported by senior executives who will address impediments and drive adoption of the team’s work
  • Master large-scale agile initiatives with teams (of teams) of teams
  • Building agility across the business
    • Not every function needs to be organized into agile teams, but ensure that the functions that don’t operate as agile teams support the ones that do
    • Push for greater change in four areas: agile values and principles (agile and traditional teams), operating architectures (modular approach), talent acquisition and motivation (you need expertise combined with enthusiasm for work on a collaborative team, coaching, public recognition, team reward, …), and annual planning and budgeting cycles (annual cycles constrain innovation and adaptation, view decisions as opportunities to purchase options for further discovery, …).

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

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. They 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