Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Listen to you Board, it's trying to tell you something! with Fernando Cuenca

Introduction Slides

Main Presentation

Recording Uploaded

A series of articles with this material (by Fernando): https://www.squirrelnorth.com/post/visualizing-work-if-you-can-t-see-it-you-can-t-manage-it


Listen to your Board, it's trying to tell you something!

Effective work visualization goes beyond a 3-column “To Do/In Progress/Done” board. A well-designed board will “speak” to you, whispering hints about your process and your work. This session explores the various things we can visualize so that this whisper comes loud and clear, leading to action.

The principle of “Visualizing Work” will come to no surprise to anyone with some familiarity to Kanban. That said, there’s more to effective work visualization than a 3-column board showing “To Do/In Progress/Done” columns, and visualizing work items is only the first step.

This session will explore approaches for visualizing otherwise invisible aspects of work, such as commitments, process, rules and, of course, work items, and using them to enable more effective management and collaboration. Its essential premise is that our tracking boards are effectively speaking to us with information about what’s going on, therefore the way we design our boards makes the difference between a garbled signal and a clear whisper.

Topics covered include:

-Visualization of Work Items: focus on customer recognizability
-Visualization of Workflow: focus on knowledge discovery, batch strategy, and levels of abstraction
-Visualization of Policies: focus on guiding decision making
-Visualization of Commitment: focus on understanding commitment scope

The role of visualization supporting evolutionary change
People attending the session can expect to walk out with a list of “stand back and observe” pragmatic tips to help them design their boards more effectively, and “tune their ears” to what the board is telling them.

About Fernando Cuenca:

Fernando started as a developer in the early 90s (C++ used to be his best friend), discovered Extreme Programming in the early 2000s, carried the “dev manager” title for a brief period, and became a full-time Agile Coach by 2009. Since then, he has worked for organizations in various industries (such as Finance & Banking, Oil & Energy, Marketing, Correctional Services, etc.), coaching teams to better understand the way they do work, introduce technical engineering practices and help them improve their processes incrementally, drawing from the Agile and Kanban bodies of knowledge.

His focus these days is working with leadership “above the team” to better manage the end-to-end flow of work in ways that yield better, systemic results. He holds a degree in Information Systems Engineering and a Kanban Coaching Professional accreditation from Lean-Kanban University.

F4P Cards (Fit For Purpose Feedback)

Attendance: 35 (aprox -  30 forms handed out, plus a few people joining later during the talk)
Surveys returned: 19

Overall score: [76:15:9](7)

Reported purposes:
  • Learn (something): [75:0:25] (4/19)
  • Learn about Agile/Scrum: [50:0:50] (2/19)
  • Learn about Kanban: [100:0:0] (2/19)
  • Learn about work visualization: [82:18:0] (11/19)  (*session topic*)
  • Curiosity about the event: [100:0:0] (6/19)
  • Food & Drinks: [100:0:0] (1/19)
  •  Networking/Socializing: [50:38:12] (8/19)
Audience Segments: (not sure how you want to segment your audience, but as an example, I used something similar to those I use for KanbanTO)
  • Learners:  [86:0:14] (14/19)
  • Socializers: [50:38:12] (8/19)
  • Foodies: [100:0:0] (1/19)
What people said about the session:
  • About purposes considered to be UNFIT:
    • confusing message related to high-level vs. Teamwork. The best idea was the categorization of what a board helps with. The details were at times questionable, and might put teams in the wrong direction
    • not much time to chat
  • About purposes considered to be FIT:
    • - more examples could be included
    • - Very useful, relevant, high level of detail
    • - time to chat after (purpose: Networking)
    • - I like the emphasis on visualizing the stages the work goes through instead of the activities people do
    • - learned not to mix 2 workflows 
    • - good examples and resources were provided
    • - [would like to] receive some material before [the meeting?]
  • About purposes considered NEUTRAL:
    • - would like to see more examples - interest in ways to organize the board, types of information most valuable to show, triggers that prompt action, what actions to take
    • - expected to see simple elements of using a board, fundamental reasoning to why we need a board
    • - not much time to ask around, too much background variety (purpose: Networking)
    • - had to leave the meetup to attend a work meeting
    • - did not have time [to connect with people]. This is on me. Limited to talking with 1-2 people.
  • The session was mostly FIT (76%). 
  • Learners' satisfaction was above the overall score (86%)

The Alternative to Leading With Agile Practice Adoption; With Jeff Anderson


Agile practices are great, however as a coach and consultant it is becoming increasingly apparent that it is incredibly challenging to coach teams to use many agile practices in a correct way that is sustainable over time.

During this talk I’ll go get vet my experience s over the last two year with a large number of teams and coaches trying to improve their maturity. I have been observing the same teams going through a repetitive boom and bust agile maturity cycle as coaches come and go from teams. I’ve seen it take an incredible amount of effort to get teams to work with relatively simple agile practices with precision and skill. Once a coach leaves a team, I have witnessed back sliding in terms of adoption.

In this session Ill ask how can we help teams to increase their ability to self organize and collaborate without constant input and protection from an agile coach? How can we encourage teams to adopt amazing agile practices with enthusiasm and in a thoughtful way. How can we help team sustain their maturity and not abandon agile once the coach leaves?

Over the last six months I have been experimenting with a “Naked Kanban” approach that fully immerses the entire team, their management, and customers into a flow oriented mindset. This approach emphasizes bringing flow of work, and the lack of flow of work front and center to the entire team, and empowering the team to truly fix their flow. Coaches have been instructed not teach new practices, and in fact to resist introducing new practices even when asked, until teams can demonstrate the impact new practices will have on their flow of work.

The early results are encouraging, teams are adopting slower, but in a far more sustainable way. The collective intelligence of teams are improving. So is collaboration and respect. I’ll go through these results in detail, as well as the challenges still to come, of which many remain.

About Jeff:
My mission in life is to help technology knowledge workers be awesome at what they do. Having been in the market since 1994, I have transitioned my initial passion for agile software engineering to provide advisory services to clients that want to thrive in a world of uncertainty and learning.

Over the last several years I have been running an Agile/Lean transformation service to help clients move from command and control towards feedback and self organization.

Our team has a solid track record coaching teams on foundational agile practices, guiding end to end organizational transformation to embrace a more agile mindset, and focused coaching of product and operations teams on how to embrace design thinking and validated learning.

I admit to an unbridled enthusiasm for any method or practice that bring creativity and joy to the value creation process, and get a kick out of turning leading edge thinking into contextualized, practical tools.

I also love to supercharge complex workshops through a combination of crowd awareness, passion, and above all humour. I’ll often iterate over a vast array of models/workshops in real time to adapt to the crowd’s thinking and evolving goal of the session.

My most important skill is growing the talent around me. I continue to provide passionate, motivated people with a suite of leading edge skills that take their leadership to the next level.

The Lean Change Method Book - Jeff Anderson (grab it for free on LeanPub, thanks to Jeff)