Tag Archives: English Post

Will the Project Manager survive in the agile world

This article is based on one of the key chapters of my Dutch book Scaling agile in organisaties and now available for my English readers too. Together with the article A new new bird’s eye view on the agile forest you have the most important chapters of this book. All other chapters are summaries of the most common scaling agile frameworks. These summaries can be found on this blog too.

To read/download Portman, H. (2021). Will the Project Manager survive in the agile world? Commentary, PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue IV, April.

Review 12.5 years AGILE in the Netherlands

Xebia published an interactive e-magazine Agile NXT12.5 years AGILE in the Netherlands – more than a decade of agile captured in compelling stories and next steps for the future’. In total seven interviews and five articles.

  • The first interview and 5-minute video is with Jeff Sutherland talking about the future of agile organizations, the importance of leadership and the use and impact of Scrum and Scrum at Scale (“It’s all common sense with an uncommon level of discipline” – Jeff Sutherland).
  • The article Structuring agile; paradox or silver lining by Thijs Wesselink talks about his balancing act between providing autonomy and creating structures when transforming organizations.
  • An interview with Bert Voorbraak (Raad voor Rechtsbijstand) about leading change within large enterprises, in this case the transformation within ASR where he opted for a holistic, integrated and step by step approach based on people, processes and leadership.
  • In the article Creating sustainable growth by investing in the workforce of the future by Riët Broekhuizen and Marianne Pot shows that that approach is much cheaper, helps your business to perform better but will also attract the talent you need tomorrow. Building communities of practice, using serious gaming and blended in-company learning journeys will encourage your workforce to learn.
  • The interview with Ron Kolkman, Director Joint IT Command Ministry of Defense, emphasizes on his pioneering experience with agile transformation leadership at the Dutch Kadaster (land registry) where the ‘us and them thinking’ disappeared and intent and purpose became key.
  • Rik de Groot and Daria Nozhkina explore the future by explaining the three steps that provide clarity to leaders in an organization, reduce the risk and increase the succes rate: 1) Digital & agile assessments, 2) strategic advice & design and 3) strategic exploration & preparation. 
  • The interview with Maarten van Beek, HR Director ING, is about trying and pioneering, fintech and bigtech as role models. It all started with the agile transformation in 2015 at ING Bank in the Netherlands where they moved away from functions and function houses, and match craftsmanship with the organizational strategy. He doesn’t believe in agile leadership exists. It’s all about situational leadership and a greater focus on results. It includes a link to the customer story Agile transformation at ING.
  • Keeping a grip on large international projects through transparency is the title of a next interview with Stan Bentvelsen, Pieter van Braam van Vloten from Nikhef and Theo Gerrits from Xebia discussing the agile transition within Nikhef by using agile principles instead of sticking to a standard methodology or framework. It includes a link to the customer story Agile culture change at Nikhef leads to more transparency and efficiency.
  • The interview with Martine Zeegers, HR director Unilever Benelux and Riët Broekhuizen, Xebia, describes the agile transition at Unilever Benelux as pragmatic, not too rigid, and a lot of experiments. It is the mindset that counts and not the method. Some teams only work with the mindset and some agile tools and other teams went all the way to the top. It includes links to the article People as the beating heart of change and the Unilever customer story.
  • Michael Maurer and Daniël Burm discusses in their article the data native organization (data quality, means to monetize, organizational capability, technology platform and governance to compliance are all in place) and the first iteration of the Xebia Data Native Organization Framework including a value circle and target operating model to become a data driven company. It includes a link to the article ‘Big data, but little value? How to embed data science in your organization?’
  • The interview and two-minute video with Charl Vermeer, IT Manager Dutch Kadaster, is the second interview regarding the agile transformation at Kadaster. In this interview the focus is on integrating IT, agile, cloud and data and the use of so-called culture guards.
  • In the last article Marianne Pot and Rik de Groot explain serious gaming and the impact of serious games during transformations. There are three types of serious games: problem based, trial and error and scenario-based games. It includes a link to the paper ‘Serious gaming’ from the same authors.

Conclusion. Definitely worth reading. Inspiration, insights, lessons from real life agile transformations and state of the art developments like the Date Native Organization Framework or serious gaming.

To read the e-magazine go to https://www.agilenxt.com

Japanese version of my QRC Team Topologies (チ一厶卜ポロヅ一)

Awesome to see that Kakutani Shintaro translated my QRC Team Topologies into Japanese. どうもありがとうございました

Published on https://scrapbox.io/iki-iki/QRC_Team_Topologies-ja

For a review of the Team Topologies book and English QRC see: https://hennyportman.wordpress.com/2020/05/25/review-team-topologies/

Incremental versus iterative

The Digital Project Manager published on of my articles. This time my comparison between incremental and iterative and some related delivery methods. See: https://thedigitalprojectmanager.com/iterative-and-incremental-development/

Culture makes or breaks your agile transition

We all know Peter Drucker’s famous quote ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’ and I transformed that into ‘Culture makes or breaks your agile transition’. For me this is reason number one why so many agile transitions fail. In this article I explain what I mean with culture, I make some references to books or articles explaining culture and I make a reference to my Bird’s eye view on the agile forest and elaborate on the, what I call, culture targeted frameworks or ways of working.

This article was published in the Blue Striped Frog magazine. To read the complete Blue Striped Frog magazine or get a (free) subscription, see my review.

‘A new new bird’s eye view on the agile forest’, the final version

My quest for agile frameworks, ways-of-working or methods is finished. In 1986 Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka published in the Harvest Business Review their article ‘The New New Product Development Game’. This was the starting point for the development of Scrum by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland. Some years ago, you could say “Scrum is agile” and ask “is Agile Scrum?” Now we know there is much more flesh on the bones. On the other hand, you could say I haven’t found the silver bullet and that’s the reason why I added common sense as the final number.

The first official version of the my corresponding article ‘A bird’s eye view on the agile forest‘ was published in the PM World Journal in November 2019 (award-winning featured 2019 paper). At that moment it contained 50 frameworks. A translated version with around 70 frameworks has been published in Russian by the Magazine of COBHET (SOVNET), the Russian Project Management Association, with the title “ОБЩЕЕ ПРЕДСТАВЛЕНИЕ О ГИБКИХ МЕТОДОЛОГИЯХ” .In October 2020 a second version (‘A new bird’s eye view on the agile forest‘) was published in the PM World journal, now with around 80 frameworks. This ‘A new new bird’s eye view on the agile forest‘ version reached the number of 100 and that’s enough (for now).

The magazine Project Design Management published the article Agile development – 100 mantiras de trabalhar com Agile – based on this article in March 2021.

Digital Transformation – 11-Step Ticking Clock Model

The Digital Transformation – 11-Step Ticking Clock Model visualizes the digital transformation journey that organizations go through: future thinking, centricity and future proofing. In Future Thinking, the leadership team strategically examines how digital will reshape their offer, the strategy and themselves. (This is important as many leaders need to digitally transform themselves before transforming the organization.) The second stage recognizes that digital transformation is not about tweaking the current business model but requires a whole business model transformation. It touches the business end to end, with the front and back end transforming as well as the culture. Too many digital transformations fail because the culture did not transform. The third stage ensures continuality and sustainability. A whole business model transformation takes time, and it requires new digital measures to track performance and new ways to present a large amount of data.

More information can be found can be found on http://www.bridgesconsultancy.com/the-ticking-clock-guys/

This model can be positioned in the culture-targeted box in my ‘Bird’s eye view on the agile forest’.

ITSM and PPM top tips to take into 2021

By Mark Smalley, Erika Flora, Christian F. Nissen, Barclay Rae, Akshay Anand, David Cannon, Ruth Murray-Webster, Henny Portman 

2020 brought big changes to the IT service management (ITSM) and project portfolio management (PPM) practices. These changes allowed practitioners to learn many valuable lessons and to take them into 2021. For this, key industry leaders have shared their essential takeaways from 2020, and a forward look to top tips to take into 2021. See TSO AXELOS GLOBAL Best Practice Blog

Review Leading with Obeya

The book Leading with Obeya – Maximizing human leadership potential by Tim Wiegel gives a complete picture of the Obeya concept. The book is built around the Leading with Obeya – reference model. The book starts with an introduction of Obeya, followed by the relevance of Obeya for leading organizations, the principles, the five visual areas on the wall and how to transform your leadership system by using a transformation approach. Throughout the book the author uses The Bike Factory case to translate the theory into practical examples and he offers many tips.

The Obeya (Japanese for ‘big room’) is a physical space where management is used to align operational teams and leadership in their efforts to translate strategy into meaningful day-to-day work and results. It helps develop the ability to have meetings that create meaningful context and avoid distractions such as bias, ego and over-complexity. When used throughout the organization, it supports the development of a systematic approach to leadership that enables consistent, coherent and effective decision-making.

Some reasons to use Obeya are: better alignment between teams and alignment of purpose, more effective meetings, better insights & decision-making, people development, trust & collaboration and rewarding.

In the Obeya, the five key responsibilities are visualized: lead successful strategies, drive performance, deliver value, solve problems and act & respond. But only the visuals will not add value unless you put the principles into practice. The team must also follow the seven principles for behaviour: think in systems  & accountability, share context & problems visually, develop people, rhythm & routine (kata), keep improving, go & see and cascade & connect.

To start with an Obeya it is recommended to use a transformation approach (approach agreed, Obeya explained, commit, set the stage, refine the information, starting the routines and continuous improvement).

Conclusion: A very practical book to get a good understanding of the Obeya concept. The usage of a single case throughout the book makes it very easy to understand the theory. Definitely a must read for management teams who want to improve their organization’s performance.

To order Leading with Obeya: managementboek.nlbol.com

For more information on Obeya (including the reference model): https://leadingwithobeya.com

Some minor issues from my side regarding the content of the book: 

  • is it ‘succesful’ or ‘successful’ (In the Obeya model and related pictures ‘succesful’ is used)? I think it has to be ‘successful’.
  • Headings in the text related to the pictures are not synchronized (figure 1.5 – table 1.3, figure 5.1 and paragraph headers)
  • Process efficiency in figure 4.24: processing time 105 minutes, waiting time 130 minutes. The process efficiency showed in the picture is 81%. I would say to total lead time is 105 + 130 = 235 minutes. The process efficiency is 105/235 = 45%
  • Figure 5.3: step 8 or step 6?

Virtual Obeya: make it look & feel like the physical one!

Review Blue Striped Frog – The agile community – Magazine (2nd edition)

I just had a sneak preview of the second edition of the Blue Striped Frog magazine. Several articles clustered around the themes: the age of agility, best practices, organizational agility and articles.

My compliments to the editor team. They can be proud of the result. This second magazine offers interesting stories, new insights and real life cases at UWV, NN, Praktijkschool Oost ter Hout, BAM, New10 and ABN Amro and last but not least a new agile framework.

The article – Leaders Beware: Four Megatrends Shaping the Age of Agility – by Ron Meyer and Ronald Meijers, provides elaborations on the following four megatrends: the pressure towards more organizational agility, organizational diversity, the rise of employee empowerment and career diversity. To cope with these trends you require flexible, adaptive and responsive leaders. In line with the article you get and interview with Ron Meyer, one of the authors, talking about the VUCA world and the comparison between an intersection with traffic lights and a roundabout without traffic lights.

The interview with Fred Hoekstra, director of the department Social Medical Affairs at UWV gives some insights in the agile journey of UWV. They established four important pillars “happy employee”, “satisfied execution”, “cooperation” and “hygiene in place”. For them, agile working is a daily quest for how they learn and develop without having major incidents causing a social disturbance. The interview ends with some critical success factors.

The Organizational Agility Heartbeat (TOAH) by Vincent Snijder, Henk Venema and Arthur Waterham describes a lightweight framework for organizational agility. The main characteristic of this framework is the quarterly rhythm in which organizations update their strategy, adjust their course based on this, and translate it into predictable execution. Within The TOAH the rhythmic interaction of three parallel tracks creates organizational agility: strategic planning, prepare for execution and execution. I will add The Organizational Agility Heartbeat (TOAH) framework to my Bird’s eye view on the agile forest as number 92! (https://toahframework.com).

In Organizational Agility at New10 and ABN Amro, Joost Brouwer is interviewed about the agile journey within the New10 startup and what ABN Amro can learn from the New10 lessons and vice versa.

In – Use discomfort to learn forward in a continuous dialogue – Jindra Kessener shares her experiences how we manage to handle the discomfort that is necessary to challenge our results, ideas and premises, without our defense mechanism taking over our capacity to think and observe clearly. She gives some insights on how knowledge about our autonomous nervous system could be used in Agile practice.

Culture makes or breaks your agile transition is an article of myself. In this article I explain what I mean with culture, I make some references to books and articles explaining culture and I make a link to my Bird’s eye view on the agile forest and elaborate on the, what I call, culture-targeted frameworks or ways of working.

Purpose driven people is the title of the last article and the title of the book Alize Hofmeester wrote. In this article she elaborates why the journey to agility is about people and purpose and why she wrote a book to make that clear. 

To emphasize that the Blue Striped Frog is not only a magazine but also a community we get an impression of the first four Blue Striped Frog Tastings: Leading with Obeya by Tim Wiegel (soon I publish a review of the book Leading with Obeya on this blog), Programs in an agile organization, curse or blessing by Henk Venema, Culture makes or breaks your agile transition (from myself) and Purpose Driven People – Creating business agility and sustainable growth by Alize Hofmeester. To become part of the Blue Striped Frog community you can join the community on LinkedIn to be inspired, to learn and to share: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8762445/

A top 10 with agile related songs and a few agile myths and tips finalizes the magazine.

Conclusion: A must read. And, if you haven’t subscribed yet be fast and you will receive this one and all the upcoming issues of the Blue Striped Frog Magazine for free (physical and/or digital edition). You can subscribe at https://www.bluestripedfrog.com