Tag Archives: review

Review and summary Lean UX

9781491953600-480x600Lean UX, as described by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden (Lean UX – Designing Great Products with Agile Teams, 2nd edition, 2016) is the evolution of product design and team collaboration. It takes the best parts of the designer’s toolkit, combines that with Agile software development and Lean Startup thinking, and makes all of this available to the entire product team.

Lean UX contains principles, a process and many tools and techniques (see the QRC Lean UX too).

The Lean UX principles

The foundational principles for Lean UX are the core attributes that any Lean UX team should strive to embody. Lean UX principles can be organized into three groups: principles to guide team organization, process and culture.

Principles to guide team organization are:

  • Cross-functional teams
  • Small, dedicated, co-located
  • Self-sufficient and empowered
  • Problem-focused team

Principles to guide culture:

  • Moving from doubt to certainty
  • Outcomes, not output
  • Removing waste
  • Shared understanding
  • No rock stars, gurus, or ninjas
  • Permission to fail (see YouTube video)

Principles to guide process are:

  • Work in small batches to mitigate risk
  • Continuous discovery
  • GOOB (getting out of the building): the new user-centricity
  • Externalizing your work
  • Making over analysis
  • Getting out of the deliverables business

The Lean UX Process

The lean UX process is a iterative cycle with four steps:

  1. Outcome, assumptions, hypotheses
  2. Design it
  3. Create an MVP
  4. Research & Learning

The first step Outcome, assumptions, hypotheses is about driving vision with outcome by defining the Project’s problem statement. Declare assumptions (4 types: Business outcomes, Users, User outcomes and Features) and transform assumptions into hypotheses (tactical and testable).

During step two Design it, you build a shared understanding, generate and converge ideas by using:

  • Design Studio: problem definition and constraints, individual idea generation (diverge), presentation and critique, iterate and refine in pairs (emerge), team idea generation (converge)
  • Design systems, style guides, collaborative design sessions, and simple conversations

In step three create an MVP you build the smallest thing you can make to learn whether your hypothesis is valid.

  • Creating an MVP to understand value: get to the point, use a clear call to action, prioritize ruthlessly, stay agile, don’t reinvent the wheel, measure behavior
  • Create an MVP to understand implementation: be functional, integrate with existing analytics, be consistent with the rest of the application
  • Final guidelines for creating MVPs: it’s not easy to be pure, be clear about your learning goals, go small, you don’t necessarily need code, the truth curve
  • Examples of MVPs: landing page test, feature fake (aka button to nowhere), Wizard of Oz
  • Prototyping: paper, low-fidelity on-screen mockups, middle- and high-fidelity on-screen prototypes, coded and live-data prototypes.

In the final step, Research & learning the team is looking for feedback and performing research.

  • Collaborative discovery: as a team review, decide who to speak, create interview guide, break your team into research pairs, arm each pair with a version of the MVP, meet the customer, interview and take notes, begin with questions, conversations, and observations, demonstrate the MVP, collect notes and customer feedback, switch roles
  • Continuous learning: three users every Thursday, simplify your test environment, making sense of the research
  • Monitoring techniques: customer service, on-site feedback surveys

Lean UX (QRC, 170812) v1.0

Download QRC Lean UX: Lean UX (QRC, 170812) v1.0

The book is divided in three parts. The first part introduces Lean UX and explains the principles. The second part explains the process. The last part focusses on Lean UX in your organization. How can you integrate Lean UX and agile (staggered sprints, design sprint, dual-track Agile), what organizational shifts are needed to comply with the principles and to integrate Lean UX. The book ends with several case studies.

The reason I read this book is related to a next Leading SAFe 4.5 training class I will give. The new version SAFe 4.5 moved from UX to Lean UX and expanded on user experience development. SAFe 4.5 uses a slightly adjusted Lean UX process:

  1. Outcome hypothesis
  2. Collaborative design
  3. Build MMF (Minimum Marketable Feature, SAFe uses the MVP in the Lean Startup Cycle)
  4. Evaluate

As a SAFe Certified Consultant, I would say a must read and not only for trainers. The book is easy to read and contains a lot of explanation and examples.

To order: Lean UX – Designing Great Products with Agile Teams

Why do you need to fail – by Derek Sivers

Organisation mindset

Many organizations are struggling with the transition to become more agile. I see organizations starting with a number of permanent agile teams and asking themselves after a while why the expected benefits are not there? Did they choose the wrong scaling agile framework? Maybe, maybe not, it probably has to do with the fact that the mindset of the organization is still the mindset of an organization in the traditional world.

I came across a website focussing on this mindset.

Alex Yakyma, founder of ORG mindset, created a model to help you with your transition towards more business agility (implementing Lean and Agile at scale) by focussing on the needed mindshift in your organisation. Without this mindshift, more business agility will be very difficult to achieve, adding more agile practices will not help.

ORG mindshift with their corresponding model will help you with tools and addoption paterns that address the mentality first and allow to build a successful Lean-Agile enterprise. Nowadays you need a mindset that embraces complexity (Lean-Agile mentality)  in stead of a mindset to cope with sequencial industrial systems. In the old world we see anti-patterns such as Outputs over Outcomes, obsession with predictability and metrics et cetera (Reductionist mentality).

Schermafdruk 2017-06-24 10.43.25If you go to the website (orgmindset.com) you get the model with icons (and hyperlinks to the details behind the icons).

Exploit variability  explore economic opportunities: Variability entails high-payoff opportunities.

Minimize Constraints to collaboration: Change is inevitable, and the more flexible the structures that foster collaboration the easier the task. Avoid management’s compartmentalized thinking.

Build sustainable practices: Don’t over-emphasize early wins but focus on benefit-constraint, feedback loops, practice maps, embedded menthal models and shared cognition.

Align Mental Models: we never directly operate with a phenomenon, but through mental models.  As a change agent you have to identify problems with mental models in their organization and fix them (accuracy, different people, different models, blind spots).

Besides this model the website offers research, presentations and course information to become an Org Mindset Enterprise Coach (OMEC).

Conclusion: When you are starting or in the middle of a transition to become more agile this site is definitely worthwhile to visit and gives you some food for thought.

Scaled Agile just released SAFe 4.5 (SAFe for Lean Enterprises)

SAFe 4.5 can be configured for four development environments (Essential SAFe (simplest), Portfolio SAFe, Large solution SAFe and Full SAFe (most advanced) and SAFe 4.5 is backwards compatible with SAFe 4.0 (available through June, 2018).

PRINT-4.5-BP-FULL-Configuration-8.5x11The big picture is a little bit more user friendly (some details / icons are taken out) and you can select the environment you want to use (and as a result the picture will only show the corresponding parts). I think some more icons on the big picture can be removed too if Scaled Agile creates a specific big picture on their homepage for their online knowledge wiki which contains hyperlinks to all topics. A big picture to explain SAFe can work without icons for SPC, Lean-Agile Leaders, the implementation Roadmap and topics like the Continuous Delivery Pipeline.

Most important changes:

  • Faster innovation with Lean Startup and Lean UX
  • Epic Value Statement and Light weighted Business Case are replaced by Epic Hypothesis Statement and Lean Business Case
  • Feature delivery with Scalable DevOps and Continuous Delivery Pipeline
  • SAFe implementation Roadmap
  • Value Stream has been changed to Solution (Value Stream Backlog > Solution Backlog, Value Stream Engineer > Solution Train Engineer, …) and a Solution Train has been added (several ARTs and Supplier forms one Solution Train)
  • Compliance has been added to the Solution Intent
  • Program Portfolio Management (PPM) has been replaced by Lean Portfolio Management
  • Increased alignment with the Scrum Guide

Impact on my book Scaling Agile in organisaties is minor. For the coming year, SAFe 4.0 is still valid. In the next print of my book I can make adjustments regarding the name changes (Value Stream, PPM). The SAFe Implementation Roadmap was already incorporated and topics like faster innovation with Lean Startup can be added.

More information on SAFe 4.5 can be found on www.scaledagileframework.com. At the homepage you can with to SAFe 4.0 too.

Book review: The Principles of Product Development Flow

51PdVCFcp3L._AC_US436_QL65_Don Reinertsen wrote the book The Principles of Product Development Flow – Second Generation Lean Product Development.

A very complete book that describes the underlying principles that create flow in product development processes. After reading this book I now understand why in the SAFe methodology and corresponding training material there are so many references to this book. The eight major areas focus on practical methods to:

  • improve economic decisions
  • Manage queues
  • Reduce Batch size
  • Apply WIP constraints
  • Accelerate feedback
  • Manage flows in the presence of variability
  • Decentralize control.

I find many concepts and methods that are present in the SAFe framework too. E.g. economic objectives, cost of delay, economic batch size based on transaction and holding costs, queues, CFD, little’s law, variability, batch size, synchronization, Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) and many, many more.

The book follows the already mentioned eight major areas and you get for each area a set of principles explaining that specific area. Each principle is explained in detail including examples. In total, you get 175 principles explained.

Conclusion: this book is definitely a must read. If you want to improve or create the flow in your product development process start with this book. If you are using SAFe this book gives you a lot of background and explanation behind specific methods and principles that are included in SAFe.

An introduction to Lean Product Development Flow given by Don Reinertsen at Adventures with Agile in London, September 2015.

To order: The Principles of Product Development Flow

Book review: The Agility Shift

9781629560700-480x600Pamela Meyer is the author of the book ‘The Agility Shift. Create Agile and Effective Leaders, Teams, and Organizations’. Not a book about an agile framework but a guide to help organisations and their leaders and employees to make a shift to the right in terms of Bob Marshall’s right shifting model to become more effective, to become more agile!

The book is divided in three parts. Part one covers the understanding and dynamics of the agility shift by explaining what and why, by weaving the relation web for agility and discovering the five dynamics of the agility shift. Part two explains what it means to make the agility shift at all levels of the system. Talking about the agile leader, the agile team and the agile organisation. Part three focusses on putting agility into work. How can you shift to agile learning and development and recruiting, reinforcing, recognizing and retaining your agile talent?

Agility shift can be summarized by the three C’s: Agility Competence, Agility Capacity and Agility Confidence and is first and foremost a shift in mind-set. A shift from the false comfort of “a plan” to achieving a state of readiness to find the opportunity in the unexpected. To build this readiness you can make use of your own Relational Web.

Dia3

To download the QRC The Relational Web: The agility shift web

Becoming an agile leader asks for a leadership mind-set for agility, whole-person agility and learning agility. To build a team make use of lessons from improvement, high-stake and development teams: work with the same understanding of the givens, agree to the givens, practice gift giving, practice finding the game, provide opportunities for interaction, make communication and coordination expectations explicit, expect role elasticity and learning agility, develop resource awareness, practice rapid prototyping: fail faster, learn quicker, work at a sustainable pace and capacity, create an agile manifesto for your team.

When agile leadership and the first teams are in place you can start co-creating the agile organisation by weaving the organisational relational web (create groups that foster employee camaraderie, maximize your relational web potential, and improve the proximity between members of your relational web), Structuring for the agility shift (create opportunities to identify the bare spots, get input on barriers and enablers, and resist the urge to formalize) and las but not least expand engagement to build capacity for decision making (empowerment) and converge planning and action to maximize your organizational agility.

The last part explains what the shift means for agile learning and development and recruiting, reinforcing, recognizing, and retaining your agile talent. You get an overview of competencies, skills and practices and performance indicators as well as a helping aid for recruiting for agility with sample conversation topics/scenarios and questions and tips to listen and look for specific performance indicators.

Conclusion: No matter what agile framework you are using, this book will bring you above the level of framework techniques and gives you helpful insights to become more agile. A must read for agile leads!

To buy: The Agility Shift

Book review: Together is Better

9200000051782738Most people know Simon Sinek from one of the most watched TED talks of all time (Start with Why). He wrote a nice little inspirational book ‘Together is Better’ and as you can imagine he didn’t do it alone. Ethan M. Aldridge created fantastic illustrations to tell the story of three friends. In this story, these three friends have moments of happiness but they live in the shadow of the “king of the playground.” This king cares mostly about himself and his own status and leads through fear. As a result, the other kids stick to themselves for fear of being singled out for attention.

The author uses this story as a metaphor for organizations where the “king of the playground” is the boss.

You get many quotes, one-liners, axioms and anecdotes expressing different situations in an organization and probably you will recognize many of them. This booklet will give you food for thought and suggestions to move forward. The author Talks about vision, collaboration, inspiration, trust, building teams, and leadership. For example, we talk nowadays a lot about agile teams. Give this one from the book a thought:

“A team is not a group of people who work together.

A team is a group of people who trust each other”

If you are looking for some inspiration for yourself, or maybe for a team retrospective when the team is not a team yet or if you are looking for a nice giveaway this is the book.

Together is better

Simon Sinek’s favorite scene.

To buy: Together is Better

In Dutch: Samen is Beter

Book review: That’s Not How We Do It Here!

9780399563942-200x300John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber have once again managed to make the complicated matter of dual systems in organizations (see Kotter’s book ‘XLR8 – Accelerate‘) accessible in a parable for a wide audience. In this book, ‘That’s Not How We Do It Here! A Story About How Organizations Rise and Fall – and Can Rise Again’ we follow a colony of 150 meerkats in the Kalahari, a hot, dry region of southern Africa.

Initially we follow the tightly run, highly hierarchical meerkats colony where everything takes place in accordance with prescribed procedures. If there are no threats, things run smoothly in the colony but when the colony is plagued by drought, resources run out and when they are attacked by hostile predators, the colony is powerless. Ideas or experiments are not appreciated, in fact directly crushed by saying ” That’s not how we do it here”.

Two young, smart adventurous meerkats, Nadia and Ayo decide to look outside for a solution to save the colony. Initially they found some liberated or dislocated colonies that faces problems even bigger and they are not welcome. Looks like that having rules and procedures has positive aspects too.

Eventually, they end up at a small innovative colony led by an inspirational leader. In this colony, there is room for new ideas and experiments. Initiatives are worked out by Spontaneously formed new temporary teams, and as a result the colony is flourishing. In this self-organising colony, they can live without standard procedures. This success has not gone unnoticed. An increasing number of meerkats align themselves with this colony, and this does not remain without consequences. Where issues in a small team were spontaneously picked up and solved, in a large colony this asks for rules and procedures.

This brings Nadia to the clever idea to connect both organizational structures together (The dual system in the book ‘XLR8 – Accelerate’). The hierarchical organization for all standard matters that should be settled in a colony and an organizational structure with temporary teams to experiment and find solutions to problems. Nadia returns to its former colony and brings it into practice there.

On the site www.kotterinternational.com you can download material (manual, PowerPoint) to start a discussion within your own company.

To order: That’s Not How We Do It Here!