Lean and Agile Stories ebook


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Our podcast was a collection of his thoughts on the use of Agile and Kanban and his work in the development of presentations such as Crafting your Storyboard and The Rise of the Lean Machine Storybook. Claudio has also developed a technique that we discussed in the podcast on how he crafts his presentations.

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Lean and Agile Stories ebook

  1. 1. Business901 Podcast Transcription Implementing Lean Marketing SystemsStories of Lean and Agile Guest was Claudio Perrone aka the Agile Sensei Related Podcast: Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  2. 2. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systems Claudio, aka Agile Sensei, is an independent Lean & Agile software development consultant, public speaker and dramatic storytelling journeyman. Currently based in Dublin (Ireland), he offers vital transformationalleadership and management experience to help individuals andorganizations achieve phenomenal improvements. His currentwork on Lean Enterprise Architecture is setto enable tighter strategy alignment andcollaboration between business and IT inservice organizations.He is co-founder of the Dublin Alt.NET usergroup and board member of the Irishchapter of the International Association ofSoftware Architects (IASA). In his career,he has been driving the design anddevelopment of several large-scale solutionsfor global companies in the fields of e-learning, e-commerce, manufacturing and automation.He is co-author of the official Italian translation of the AgileManifesto and a guest author on Jimmy Nilssons ApplyingDomain-Driven Design and Patterns.Claudio also has a couple of outstanding slide decks that havereceived tens of thousands of views on slideshare: The rise of theLean Machine and Crafting Outstanding Presentations -Storytelling Techniques. Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  3. 3. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsJoe: Welcome, everyone! This is Joe Dager, the host of theBusiness 901 Podcast. With me today is Claudio Perrone a.k.a.Agile Sensei and he is an independent Lean and Agile softwaredevelopment consultant, public speaker and a dramaticstorytelling journeyman. I first ran in to Claudio with hispresentations on the "Rise of the Lean Machine" and another oneof his presentations on Slideshare called "OutstandingPresentations". He is currently based in Dublin, Ireland. He offersTransformational Leadership and Management experience to helpindividuals and organizations achieve phenomenal improvements.Claudio, how do you actually achieve the phenomenalimprovement?Claudio: Thanks so much actually for having me in yourpodcast. How do I do it? Well, I guess maybe going back to whatIve done before. I was a CTO for a number of years of Watt inIreland that was in 2005 was the New Irish Company of the Year.So, its all about leadership and using methodologies toprocesses, ideas to align, maybe particular strategies. As usual,its about creating purpose and then creates a system that helpspeople to thrive.Joe: Well, you specialize in Lean enterprise architecture. So, itsreally about Scrum and XP, Agile and now Kanban. Thats whereyou specialize in?Claudio: Those are some of the methodologies tools, practices,and principals. On the Lean Enterprise architecture is somethingthat I somewhat discovered much more recently where I had topretty much face problems of excessive specialization which ledto really a zero visibility across the various departments in theorganizations. I created the kind of Enterprise architecture, thisvertical slice of giving us upshots and then apply things like valuestream mapping on top of that. Its interesting because youcreate then common goals for different departments, so you startseeing where Kanban can be applied and not totally on the Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  4. 4. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsservice side but you can apply it on the software developmentside.Then suddenly people within the organization use the same tools.So, its really impressive what can happen out of that.Joe: You just recently participated in a Lean Summit or a LeanAgile Summit, did you not?Claudio: It was the Lean and Kanban 2010. To date, the largestconference, certainly in Europe for software development. I justfeel like this is a community, in the software community side,particularly with the outstanding work of David Anderson onapplying Kanban in software developments and of course withprincipals and Lean thinking of Mary Poppendick. The communityis growing, particularly on the agile side. Were seeing thatperhaps we committed too early to imposing sometimes intoorganizations certain processes or methodologies, Im using theterms pretty loosely here but you have mandates that from nowon, you need to apply Scrum for the entire organization.Obviously there are big issues on doing that, so what we ratherprefer to think in terms and were definitely trying to reorganizeour thoughts around that, is to say "Well, wait a second. Maybewe can apply Kanban principals and Kanban mechanics andmethods to establish change, organizational change but in a waythat is more revolutionary."So the things that you ask are what is your existing process? Howdo you do things right now? Lets take a snapshot of how youredoing things." And then by limiting working progress andmeasuring and doing a number of things, you improve the abilityof these things to deliver software more frequently or a betterquality.So, more than anything else, is a way to, Id say, is animprovement, you know, a process improvement, if you want. Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  5. 5. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsWith emphasis on the improvement side, of using, sorry, toolslike Kanban and so on.Joe: I find it interesting that as you see these things develop,such as Kanban and Scrum, we like to talk about the tools. Wegather around the tools and do that and then Agile now, in recenttalks with a few other people, theyve talked how thats more theumbrella, more the cultural things, isnt it?Claudio: Oh, absolutely! Joe, probably you dont know but Imactually one of the co-translators, if you want, of the officialItalian translation of the Agile Manifesto, right? So, the AgileManifesto is a document that was compiled about 12 years ago. Itis pretty much a statement of a direction where this umbrellayouve been talking about effectively. Now there is sort of "Let’sgo back to basics, what we were trying to do back then or whatthe founders, I guess, were trying to do back then." And then,you talk about tools but its like ... Recently Ive been introducedto a team whose responsibility, in a large organization is tointroduce innovation. What I think is a cool job to have, I guess.We ended up talking about A3 thinking, for example. But itquickly turned out in the A3 report, you know what I mean?There is a difference between the tools and the deliverables. Thatis completely different from the thinking. That is a change ofmind set that is hard to work on and in many cases is hard forpeople to grasp.Joe: One of the things I always find interesting is that you startlearning about something through the tools. Its the way to beintroduced to them, it seems. Then you turn around, and to reallyappreciate the full use of the tools, it has to develop intosomething bigger than that. Thats the culture side of it and asyou said, and then it is able to spread into other parts of theorganization or manifest itself larger in the organization to beable to get the full utilization out of it. Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  6. 6. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsClaudio: Absolutely. I completely agree with you. In fact, youprobably heard of the Dreyfus model of skills acquisition. Itessentially is a model to explain how when we learn new thingswe go through stages. It is not that we just fill our hats withinformation. We go through different stages. You go from thenovice to advanced beginner to proficient, and then you becomeexpert. There are five levels. The point being is that at differentstages you need different things. If you are a complete noviceyou really dont want to learn. What you want is a recipe, someprepared information, so a tool in that sense is very useful, orsomebody who really gives a very prospective set of proceduresto follow. What happens is it all falls down because most of theserules are dependent on context. We need to change and adaptbased on what we are facing and everybodys work is different.Thats where sometimes principles or the help of somebody elsecould help a lot more to quickly become more effective.Joe: When you talked about lean tools such as Kanban andValue Stream Mapping and you talked about really enabling themin the operational concept of them, but you also talked aboutinnovation and enabling the non-disruptive change with thesetools. Can you kind of expand on that a little bit?Claudio: Kanban in particular pretty much enables evolutionarychange management. We are talking about evolution here. It ismuch, much easier as a consultant to get into the company andwin the heart of teams by saying, "listen, Im not here to threatenyou with new rules, new ways of doing things. What I really wantis to say lets visualize what you are doing right now". I thinkDavid Anderson in particular talks a lot about this. Its saying itsvery hard for people to object to the idea that visualizing whatyou are doing is a bad thing. Then the next step is to say, "Well,lets limit work in progress". If you agree that maybe you aregetting more stuff on your plate than you can actually handle,maybe lets try this then". Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  7. 7. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsIts evolutionary because when a work in progress limit in aparticular stage.... Say you are doing testing and the tester is thebottle neck for whatever reason is stuck. Then the developerswere supposed to develop their own software. They cannot pullmore stories because their slot is full. That is because the testercant pull anything because he is stuck and the work in progresslimits enforce that. That forces the team to stop right then andhave a conversation. What happens? What should we do?Very often, particularly at the beginning, the first thing peoplesay is "lets increase the limits. The limits are blocking the waywe do things and I want to develop more. But, in reality if, youknow, with a bit of help if you do respect the limits, the next stepis actually to say, "Well why this tester is stuck?" Can myself as adeveloper help the tester so the first thing you do then is to starttrying to see if you can remove some of the obstacles on thetester.So, what you have is a just in time learning experience, which issomething that you dont necessarily have in your normalprocess, software development process, So thats what I reallybelieve is evolutionary. Because its not threatening people tocompletely change the way they are doing things.Joe: I always look at that in most things. Its always figuringwhere youre at. You know, having that current state and workingfrom there and people have a tendency to sometimes not evenunderstand where theyre at. Its an awakening process to build acurrent state map or to build, as I call it in value streammapping, is that its hard for them to sometimes distinguish whattheyre doing in a step-by-step procedure.Claudio: Oh, clearly. I mean, just to give you an example, whatI did on the "Rise of the Lean Machine", that presentation. Italked about a story pretty much in this organization whereeveryone was really specialized for the nature of the organization. Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  8. 8. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsYou know, if you think in terms of reinsurance, you can imaginethat there are a lot of policies and so on, but there were a lot ofsystems as well. So, it typically what happens when you have anorganizations of this kind, a new person who joins the companytends to be assigned to a particular project. Essentially, theywork in a corner for two years, right? And all they know is theirpart, and so its very hard for them to see the big picture.So in that particular case, I had that problem. I had to help theorganization and series of systems that were connected in someway. So the typical software architecture approach is creatingsome enterprise architecture that takes the picture, a snapshot, ifyou want of the value systems. How they incorporate,interconnect together. So you have service-orientedarchitectures.But that particular approach didnt satisfy me because if you thinkabout -- I remember there was one story of, I think it was inToyota, I read it somewhere that said pretty much the fresh ITmanager went to plant manager and did show a diagram showinghow all the various systems connect together.And the plant manager looked back and said, "You know, here webuild cars so you tell me how these systems are supporting theprocess of building cars."So, I have the similar approach where I had diagrams that wereshowing how the systems were connected together, but they hadabsolutely no meaning because most people didnt see thepicture. You know what I mean? Like they didnt know what thesystem was for and so on.So what I did was, yes, I created an enterprise architecture, but Istarted from a different level, which is how does this companymake money? Whats the main process, or one of the coreprocesses that are used to make money? Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  9. 9. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsSo if you think in terms of reinsurance, you have a customerwhos making a request and then, you know, theres a process itgoes through. But theyre servicing that request by providing aquote.And this kind of process can take weeks. So I mapped the valuestream of this process, and then explained well who supports thisprocess. Lets write the services that are supporting this process,the application services and then what kind of software. Whatkinds of applications are realizing those services?You see, over time applications change the services a little bitless. And, so on, effectively leaving different levels, and for theinfrastructure level as well. Then what I said was, well Iremember, you know, the words from Taiichi Ohno about allwere doing is looking at the time. You know, like the typicalvalue stream mapping sentence that you hear all the time is whathe said, you know. Were looking from concepts to cash prettymuch. Were looking at the timeline and then removing thewaste.So I thought about that, went back to the domain experts andsaid, "Well how long does it take to do this step? How long does ittake to do that step? And how long in between?" And the guysaid, "Well Ill come back to you on this. Can I come back to youtomorrow? Its not that I want to make the numbers, I want tocollect them and make an honest statement."So, the interesting thing about this is by doing a current statevalue stream map at the service level, not so much at theapplication level, but then having all the various layers so evenhow the applications are supporting that service, then we startedthinking in terms of, "How can our software provide a shortercycle time in this particular step?""Because there are problems here, because theres not enoughvalidation in this part,” and so on. Now you have like suddenly an Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  10. 10. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsalignment of the organization or different departments in theorganization to one common goal which was in that caserecognizing that a shorter lead time has an amazing competitiveadvantage for their kind of business effectively. So from then onyou use value stream map in current state and then move to thefuture state where some of the aspects for improvement areperhaps yes applying combine, pool systems, for that to be forthe service parts, changing things on the application parts and soon. Suddenly you have the entire organization pulling towards thesame direction.Joe: That presentation or the slide show deck that you use, "TheRise of the Lean Machine,” was on this particular project?Claudio: It was actually, it was. Yeah I like to, we didnt talkabout stories much but I am pretty picky on how I build mypresentations. I truly believe the presentations that mosteffective presentations that at least Ive seen tell stories. We tellstories to each other all the time. I like to take a lot frompersonal experience I guess and tell stories in a presentation andI use stories as a device to pretty much to put in all theinformation, all the data that otherwise would be sometimes verydry, you know for the audience. So its a way to respect theaudience. Its really like to tell a story and then in between put allinformation.Joe: You put a lot of effort into making your presentations verydescriptive and very real. How did you go about, how did youstart doing that? What drove you to?Claudio: I guess on one side was frustration on watchingmyself, as well as other presenters being fairly dry. The thing isbecause we have something that is important to be said doesntmean that the audience listens to you? So like you know the oldstory starts from, from years ago. I was working in largecompany in Italy and I went back to the, I had a week training as Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  11. 11. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsa presenter at the CERN, the European Center for NuclearResearch, and I was doing automation at the time, real timeautomation. So I was there like training fifteen scientists and atthe end of the training, they absolutely killed me. They absolutelykilled me, right? I was skinned alive pretty much. Ten years laterwhen I made I guess somewhat of a career, I was offered topresent at a large conference and my style of presentations Iknew was absolutely dreadful so I started doing some researchand seeing well what is the state of the art of you know howpeople deliver PowerPoint presentations.I learned like methodologies or ideologies if you want, like thereis the Presentations Handbook, I dont know if you ever heard ofit, but effectively like a lot of presenters nowadays, they talk,what they do is rather than having a lot of bullet points, theymove beyond that aspect and they recognize the fact that, youknow, if you really have a lot of slides with a lot of text,essentially what you are providing are documents. You know, ifyoure, if theyre there for the load that’s fine, but if you have apresenter and if they are sporting a presenter, if they aresupporting the idea that the presenter must carry across, andthen you may look at different things.The new wave, the most recent wave has been really followingthese presentations and concepts where you have moremessages and pictures. So, you have all this kind of pictures. Myvery first presentation I had all this kind of stock imagery andmessages. I remember talking to a professional speaker who toldme pretty openly, oh yeah I heard about presentations Zen itsabout putting a picture of your dog on the slides. He was right,you know, like there are a lot of presenters who start talkingabout themselves, their family, this and that and I dont thinkpeople really care. What I really do care about is to be sure thatis what I want to put across, goes across. If you want to knowabout me you will probably find out after my presentation. I thinkthats the best sign. You know what I mean? Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  12. 12. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsAnyways I evolved my style with a more logical outline, I put alittle bit more structure there because Ive been a series ofteachers and messages doesnt really work that well, but at leastin my opinion. I worked a lot in terms of structure. I started witha logical structure and you will see many people doing somethingaround those lines. You have a main concept at the beginning,the points you want to make and then you have three key pointsthat pretty much supports the main point you made before andthen you have the conclusion which is typically a summary ofwhat you said at the beginning.Joe: So when you start with your presentation from the verybeginning, the structure, you kind of make a decision tree out ofit.Claudio: I mean to me opening, launching power point andputting in images or whatever messages are there, its the laststep in my process. I never go there. What I do first is obviouslycollect information and do a lot of things like putting in a board Iput note, you know, post its with all the different ideas and I startto cluster them. But then I build a story. What I did before was tocreate a logical outline as I explained. All this information I have,what is the main point I want to make? What are the three keythings I want to talk about and how Im going to expand them?So this rule of three by three, so you say three things and thenmaybe you explode them even more and so on. It becomes reallylike a tree and I was pretty happy with that structure before. It isa logical way of explaining your concepts. Then one day, Iwatched television and I watched like a movie and, you know, forwhatever reason I started crying. I was really emotionallyengaged with this movie and Im not going to say which one it is.Was a chick flick, so which embarrassed me, but it wasnt eventhe first time I was watching it. At some point I started thinking,how come that most presentations are logical maybe, but dry andhow come I can be so emotionally engaged by watching movies. Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  13. 13. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsSo I started thinking, you know, I want to learn more about this.I want to learn more about storytelling and so on.You know you can turn it into a what if. What if Spielberg showedup, what would he say? What would he say to our way ofpresenting things? So anyways I, you know, I started thisjourney, I guess, and that is why I call myself a romantic storytelling journey man. It is a journey that never ends in manyways. I learned a couple of things and one is what is a good ideafor a story for movie and it is simply this, someone wantssomething badly and goes after it against great odds.If you watch a movie tonight, probably you will see that this kindof template works pretty well. Someone is character, wantssomething badly is desire, against great odds is obstacles.Character, desire and obstacles. This leads to the dramaticquestion that says will he succeed? Will he or she succeed? So, ifwe start with this premise, pretty much I can create apresentation. In fact, one of my early presentations wassomething around those lines. I was a talented softwaredeveloper. My technical skills made me feel invincible until oneday everyone turns against me. My career and self-esteem wasput in grave danger by all the IT projects I couldnt run awayfrom.I created a little trailer, a one minute trailer around that withhorror music and all that kind of stuff. The point being is that in afew seconds I created a hook. You know what I mean? You wantto know what happens. What was the project about? Did hesucceed?You know, the first time I created, so I created this one minutetrailer, then I did the presentation. I didnt know too much aboutstory telling at the time. And, in fact, I did one stupid mistake.And, the mistake was during the presentation I said, yes, I facedall this terrible challenges and luckily the project was a success, Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  14. 14. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsand maybe this is why. And then, I started my three points orwhatever.That was a mistake because of the fact that I immediately toldthe outcome of that project? So, I released the tension I had justcreated. So, what I changed that presentation, then, was intorather than say it was a success and maybe this is why, I saidthis is what I faced and this is what I tried.At the end the outcome of the presentation was, the outcome ofthe project, which happened to be a success, was only at the endas a, you know, pretty much as a logical end to what I explainedall along.So, I use pretty much this kind of simple structure to explainthings about agility, effective communication and creativity?So, these are little tricks, little ideas. Why do I care about storiesso much? Its because its about the influence? Very often a lot ofyour audience, Im sure, will relate with that.What we do is we go into organizations and we face any form ofresistance or concern and so on. Rather than me trying to saythis is the best way of doing things or this is a good way of doingthings where people effectively raise a barrier like sweep it away.And, they say well, prove it me. So, you have this kind of I makea claim and now I have to prove that claim.With by telling a story, essentially what I say is well, this is whathappens, this is the truth, this is absolutely an unbeatable truthbecause its my view of what I saw or maybe of what I know thatsomebody elses did.Because of that, Im not trying to change you directly. What Imjust saying is a little story. That story potentially has got, youknow, plants the seeds in people to actually potentially learn from Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  15. 15. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsmistakes that other people have been doing. Thats why its soimportant.Joe: Well, I always find out, lets say Im selling something orselling my services or even in my, what I call my past life, sellingequipment, I would construct a story to the person about howsomeone used this or applied this. It always made more sensethan showing them anything else and it opened up thecommunication and the dialogue so much better. It was just anatural flow as a result of it. And, youre saying in your storytelling thats really what youre trying to do, correct?Claudio: Yeah, absolutely. This is something I discovered onlyafterwards, you know, that is a real incredible, persuasive tool. Ididnt realize that. All I wanted to do was to make people cry. Noteven that, actually, it was really like to release some type ofemotion and make it more interesting. I suddenly realized nowwait, hold a second, hold on a second, I can tell a story. I can tella story coming back to my experience. I can tell a story aboutother people who did this work before me. I can even make up astory by saying simply what if, you know, what if its so beautifulbecause you create pretty much a possibility and then youelaborate around that possibility.Its very quick how people lower their barriers. Its like thosebarriers werent there in the first place.Joe: Lets say Im an engineer, Im a consultant, and I’m an ITguy. How do I go about telling a story? If Im an introvert, can Iuse your process or do I just have to have the natural ability likeyou do?Claudio: This is a great question actually because a lot of peopletell me; Im not a story teller. But then actually, if you listen toeach other, we tell anecdotes all the time, we tell little stories allthe time. We do tell stories to each other. The point being is Iman engineer, Im very logical. Tell me, how do I start one of these Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  16. 16. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsdramatic stories? I think there is a very simple idea. I came upwith, in a moment of lucidity that I will never find again I guess,but its this one, right?Say you have an idea, a product or two, a process, whatever.Your goal is to create a story so that you convince somebodyelse, right? We need to create those dramatic stories where, as Isaid, someone wants something badly and goes after it againstgreat odds.We need to create obstacles and so on. One idea, even forcreating basic scenarios to start with, is to say lets create a list ofall the features of my product, if were taking a product, theattributes of a product. You look out what you really want is a listof the benefits? That could be an idea, a service and so on.Benefits now differently from the attributes from the features of aproduct are really specific to the audience, whoever you aretalking to. Actually I have a pen in my hands right now. If I takethis pen in front of me, attributes of a pen would be the color, themake, and so on. But, the benefit to me as a writer is probablydifferent from the benefits than a student would have and then apoet would have.They are completely different from the benefits from the investorwho puts money in the company that produced this pen for us.So, benefits are really, really focused to the audience you aretalking to. This is mistake number one when we do presentationsis that sometimes we pitch to the wrong audience? Having saidthat, once you have this list of very explicit benefits, you writeanother list and that list is the opposite. If the pen can allow youto write beautiful poetry, to give that analogy, then you write theopposite. You cant write beautiful poetry.If value stream mapping allows you to visualize what you arecurrently doing, then you cannot visualize what you are currentlydoing, and so on. You know what I mean? Or, if Kanban allows Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  17. 17. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsyou to have something that enables continues improvement, youdont have improvement, and you dont have a mechanism forimprovement.Joe: It sounds to me something like why go back to theory ofconstraints, the evaporating cloud. Are you familiar with that?Claudio: Yes. I guess it would be. I guess it would be. The pointbeing if you write a list of the opposite of the benefits that youridea or process or tool or whatever provides, then now you havea list with one or more potential elements for creating yourstarting point for a story because, you know, how do you createthe story that puts your technology under the best possible light?Well, you start from the worst possible situationSo, that to me-- And now, interesting enough, when you lookback into your own experience, you will find out that you findsituations like that very often. Its just; perhaps, you didnt havea tool to actually help you out to say, "Well, what story should Itell? How should I tell it?" I think its a very simple but interestingway to start. I absolutely love reversals all the time. One of thekey aspects of Stories is really that, while youre telling all theseobstacles, we all grow. OK?There is a transformation of the main character. There is atransformation of what happens. There is some insight in the end.So, thats really the approach.Joe: Youre saying that anybody could do that because you’retelling stories all the time in conversation during the day. Theyjust freeze up and dont present their natural way of telling astory to people.Claudio: Ive been reading pretty much screenwriting books. Ima speed reader. So, I can read books really, really fast. Which is acapability you learn? Its not something that I had in me. But, thepoint being is I became so interested in this. And I started Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  18. 18. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsreading 10, 20, 50, 60, 100s and God knows how many books, onscreenwriting. And then creative nonfiction, which is pretty muchusing screenwriting techniques, creating novel writing techniqueson top of real Sensei to create those kind of editorial journalisticarticles that win Pulitzer Prizes pretty much for the last 20 years.Thats the type of stuff that Ive been studying and learning.Obviously, at some point I codified some rules. And then, you goby instincts after all.But any way, one of the presentations that you did mention, theCrafting Outstanding Presentations, provides pretty much aframework that I used for a long time. I keep using them, in fact.But, I think its very usable by others as well. Now Sensei reallyexplains, in the very basic ways, like a simple process for buildingsome stories.Joe: You actually have a seven-step process on that.Claudio: Yeah. Thats right. Yes. And funny enough actually, Iwas on the phone with a friend of mine in South Africa and hewas writing a presentation right then. I was doing my ownpresentation. But anyways, he sends me this question, "You knowIm building this presentation and do you have any tapes andideas?"I was under pressure to do my own and I was saying, "Well, Idont know but Ill tell you what, this is what I do. I do step #1 isthis, step #2 is this, step #3." Then at the end of that I thought,oh, this is a seven-step process. Ill just call it a seven-stepprocess.Interesting enough, the presentation I was doing was actuallythat presentation, "Crafting Outstanding Presentations." I wasreally thinking, how I am going to explain the methodology, thetools that I use and so on. And funny enough, people still comeback to me saying, "Oh, I loved your seven-step process." Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  19. 19. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsIf they only knew I just made it up.Joe: Well, I dont think you made it up. I mean, its somethingthats evolved over a lot of years.Claudio: What Im saying is I made it up in terms of the name ifyou want. It just came out of pressure. Sometimes you need thatline to get some results.Joe: Is there lean tools involved in this process, when youdevelop them?Claudio: Interestingly enough, when Im really under pressure,which is pretty much all the time I do presentations, I use apersonal Kanban. So in fact, I literally have a very basic to do,doing, dont with a limited working in progress with one, prettymuch. So, I literally take a backlog of potential slides or ideasthat I want to develop. Then I go through this simple workflow tojust pull that through. I also use a 48 minutes rule, which ispretty much, have you ever heard of the pomodoro technique?Joe: Yes, just recently and I havent been to the store to get mytomato yet, OK?Claudio: Oh, yeah, very good. Well, you see, pomodoro isactually the Italian word for tomato, alright? Its tomatotechnique, pomodoro technique. An Italian guy invented it. But,the technique, pretty much, is a very engineeristic way of prettymuch something that I believe is pretty simple which is creatingtime boxes as we do with methodologies like with processes likeScrum and the classic first generation agile methodmethodologies where, in fact, have fixed time boxes. And, I thinkwhat happens is pomodoro technique usually I think its 25minutes and then two or three minutes, and then 25 minuteswhere the idea is you focus your time for 25 minutes and thenyou take a really short break and then you begin again foranother 25. Prior to that you write a list of things you wanted to Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  20. 20. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsdo for the day, there’s a little bit of pre-planning then focus,focus, focus.I do exactly the same only my time box is 48 minutes. Simplebecause is use it to do 48 minutes and then 12 minutes of break.What happens with that is that pretty much I can go all day longin a very focused mind set and just crunch in a lot of work, prettymuch, by doing this.So, its strictly is not lean. It is definitely agile. But, so use, as Isay, Kanban to organize, prioritize the work and do one pieceflow if you want, and then 48 minutes techniques to actuallycomplete the work.Joe: I found both of them kind of complimentary andinteresting. You bring up a point, and back away from thestorytelling side to the lean side and the agile methods. IsKanban replacing Scrum then as the ideal method?Claudio: No, actually. And, I must say just last year I made astatement on Twitter and maybe I should make anotherstatement saying I was wrong. Last year pretty much said for meScrum is dead. This was when I was using Kanban a number oftimes and so on. What I realized were a couple of things. One isthat Kanban can absolutely be used. I knew that before but I justdidnt acknowledge that it can be used on top of Scrum, Limitingwork in progress can be done on what youre currently doing, andvisualizing the work can be done on top of what youre currentlydoing. If you are doing Scrum, well youre still doing Scrum.If you are very descriptive on how you describe Scrum andeverything that deviates from that in terms of you have to haveone to four weeks iterations, and if you deviate from that, thenyou may be considered one of those Kanbans, pretty much. Youknow, one of those people who actually dont follow theprescription. Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  21. 21. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsBut, I changed my perspective at this point and in the end agilemeans delivering frequently, having better quality of work,enjoying what youre doing, continuous improvements.Everything that tells you to continuously improve to me helps.If Kanban is the mechanism that on top of Scrum or any othermethodologies, including XP, rational unified process, Waterfall,any other methodology, allows you to continuously improve, thenit is a good thing. In that sense, it does not replace but itextends.Joe: What were talking about is that we go back to Agile beingthe umbrella, and then Scrum and Kanban and others. But youcan use all these different methodologies really in combination ifyou would like. Its really what you develop and what tools yourecomfortable with that fit your situation.Claudio: Particularly the situation I think is the most importantthing, right? There are situations where having a heavy iterativeprocess, I mean time boxing in particular, not so much theiteration but the time boxing aspect is just not applicable becauseof the amount of interruptions that you get every day. There area number of teams that dont even do software developments butthey apply Kanbanoric pooled methods very easily, essentially, ontop of what theyre currently doing. Thats saying that nothingcan be detrimental more than limiting yourself to one single tool.We have different situations; we face different situations all thetime. What I find is that having Kanban on my pocket meanspretty much that I have an extra idea or an extra element that Ican use.Joe: Do you think Kanban has allowed the Agile Methodology tomove and become...move out of just software development,move into bigger fields?Claudio: Well its certainty happening in my own experience, nodoubt about that. Before at least, again this my own personal Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  22. 22. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsexperience, is that by practicing software development practices,you cannot focus on the team, on your team or maybe anotherteam. Then you have this problem of scaling various teamstogether, and how you deal with that and so on. But generallywise to me is being a very, very team centered approach. Butstart using Kanban; I learned a couple of lessons, anothermistake I made, for example was to believe that maybe thecommunity, the Lean Agile community, particularly the Kanbangroup and so on. Was focusing on, too much on Kanban assaying, well there is a lot more to learn, right? There is Lean, howabout this Lean stuff, how about lessons from Toyota and so on.That kind of failed, are we only cherry picking one to on top ofeverything else? I did believe that, I absolutely... in some way Istill believe it. But what happened lately was actually to realizethat the Kanban really enables us to do this continuousimprovement, which does allow you to... to reach into more Leanthinking then you would otherwise. So its kind of a way to kickstart a Lean transformation.I am not saying its sufficient, by any means at all.Joe: I dont think it is sufficient. But I think its interesting,because as we look at software development, well look at Agile,and then we look at the development of it with XP and Scrum. Itwas in the software community but it was foreign to others;manufactures or service industries. I mean, I am not going toinvolve service industry in time box iterations.Now that I have Kanban on the table, its seems people goes,"yeah this is a nice introduction", and "yes the iterative of processstarts making sense to me."Claudio: Well, I mean its interesting enough that you dontneed... I mean Kanban is about... iteration less developments. Imean if you want to do iteration-less developments, you can keepdoing iterations again if they are on top of Scrum if you want to. Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  23. 23. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsSo you’re not constrained right by that aspect. There are twoapproaches that I see that work really, really well, I had aconversation a couple of years ago when a guy I never metbefore, but he said pretty much they had some Lean program onthe shop floor. He knew about Agile, but he really couldnt makethe connection, between what happens on the shop floor in amanufacturing company and what happens on the software side.Just there was no Lean, and I think that happens pretty, prettyoften, where you have maybe some Lean program at some level,maybe at service level.I think what is interesting now that is kind of involving, is the factthat, well wait a second, if I... I can use two approaches, if thereis a Lean program already in place then it means that themanagement that I am talking to knows about Lean. So they willknow about Kanban, so I can explicitly tell, you know, moreabout the origin of Kanban and then the adaptation and softwaredevelopment.Its a good approach to actually take that aspect. Then youretalking about Lean principles and so on. But another approach isto actually say, which maybe the more bottom-up approach, is tosay, "Well, Im not even name it as Kanban. What Im saying is Igo there to a team and say, tell me what to do and lets limitwork in progress, and lets see how it works." You know what Imean.So, you evolve, without necessarily pushing people into principlesthat are absolutely valid as principles. But the risk is sometimesthat by talking about the origins of that, and saying "Well, itcomes from manufacturing", then people say "Yeah, but softwareis this for manufacturing. Yes, I know its different frommanufacturing. Theres a lot more variation, the type of problemsthat we need to solve are different." Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  24. 24. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsThats true. We have a modified version of the same concepts,which actually deals with variation very, very well. You knowwhat, what you will learn is that some of the tools and ideas thatare emergent from the software side will become very, veryrelevant in the next few years, months, or whatever, even on theservice industry and manufacturing. Im 100% sure about that.Joe: I believe thats true too. Im seeing it more and more, andIm seeing people talking about it, and how it flows into thatcommunity will be interesting. Its on the edge of it now. As Ialways talk about, finding that path of least resistance and howits going to go to the core will be interesting to see.Claudio: Were really at the edge. In fact, Im startingcollaboration with a couple of Lean Six Sigma black belts, as itturns out, exactly for that reason. Because they have a lot moreexperience than we do on the software side on certain aspects ofservice and manufacturing. Theres no doubt about that. So whynot learn from each other? So there are big, big chances that mycustomers are your customers, and vice versa. They need tosolve different problems on different levels, you know what Imean?Thats how Value Stream mapping, thats how Kanban on bothsides, thats how, you know, the work Ive been doing, which hasbeen kind of a realization in terms of Lean enterprisearchitecture. Using this architecture, literally physically connectthe two worlds: service at the top to the process at the top andthe business process at the top to the applications and workflowof teams that are building those applications at the bottom.Joe: Claudio, whats on the horizon for you?Claudio: Whats on the horizon... at the moment Im involved indoing pretty much Lean and Agile transformations. Theres kindof interesting things coming up as well though. The presentation Idid about crafting outstanding presentations, which is not the rise Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  25. 25. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsof the Lean machine, but was the first one that I did that,explained all these methodologies in terms of creating stories andso on. It really caught the attention of a lot of entrepreneurs andmanagers. So, Im not 100% sure whats happening there, but Illtell you a couple of things. Ive been involved in projects where,in particular, one project could not fail, not so much from theoperational point of view, but actually from the idea of actuallysaying "We need to sell this idea to different countries in theworld, to different governments in the world." So, you canimagine having these big projects that have maybe severalmonths, if not years, of work that just cannot fail.So, these guys started calling me for some consultancy onliterally, "How can I do these presentations? Can you help me onthat?" And of course, if theres enough at stake, then there is apoint on investing a bit of time and effort to build something thatmakes sense, you know what I mean?Joe: Exactly. Im always amazed at people who will spend solittle time on the presentation and how important thepresentation may be to them.Claudio: Oh, yeah. A presentation can literally make or break anidea. If we take presentations not so much as a sequence ofslides, or things that we want to cram into the audience, but ofsomething that we want to use to influence others, then maybewe need to rethink about how we do all these things. This kind ofscreenwriting is sort of becoming a hobby, if you want, that ismaybe becoming a profession, and I’m not sure about that yet.Certainly, Im enjoying all these transformations and also having,you know, using things like registry map to really make cleareither the type of either savings or the type of continuousimprovements that companies can have.I love to witness that continuous improvement. I love to witnessteams, as well. Start saying: "Hold on, what is the board telling Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  26. 26. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsus”? Once theyre blocked, maybe, for whatever reason. I try tomaintain that kind of Socratic teaching, right? Where you donttell the answers, you let them struggle themselves, I guess, andfind the issues by themselves and have them go and find the rootcausalities for identifying the root cause of their problems. This isreally what I like, I guess.Joe: How can someone get a hold of you?Claudio: You can find me at claudio@agilesensei.com. You cancertainly contact me on the website, as well. I live in Ireland. Iknow my accent is not Irish at all, Im Italian. I moved here 11years ago. I travel anyway, so if you want to get a hold of me,definitely send me an email and I will definitely answer that. Youcan also reach me on the phone, of course. Its an Irish phonenumber 353-86-775-9223.Joe: Youre also on Twitter, correct?Claudio: I am on Twitter under the moniker agilesensei. In fact,Im a much more frequent user of Twitter than I am on blogging,and so on.Joe: Id like to thank you very much. It was a delightfulconversation. I enjoyed it. It was a nice story told.Claudio: Thanks very much, Joe, and thanks to everybody forlistening. Thank you very much.Claudio: Yeah, yeah. One thing I just realized, we didnt evenmention, its not that important anyway, I drew all those imageson the "Rise of the Lean Machine".Actually, I wrote a blog post on that. If you just look onagilesensei.com/blog you will find the latest post. Its actuallyabout the making of "The Rise of the Lean Machine". It justappeared from my head when you were asking me questions. Fora long time all my focus was on the structure of the story, to Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  27. 27. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsmake sure that the story is sound. You dont have a story until, Idont have a presentation until I have the story, the outline of thestory, and I know how it resolves and all that kind of stuff. Maybeyou should record this piece, I guess. The point being, in "TheRise of the Lean Machine", instead, I didnt follow my ownprocess in many ways. I tried to, but I just didnt. And inhindsight, I guess I used the Toyota principle of standardizedwork, or standard as a baseline for further improvements. Youhave to try new things to improve over time. In that particularcase, what I did was a little throw-in, which I put on Flickr. Its onmy Flickr account, you will see it, and “It was a dark night inDublin".Doing that took me two days. I realized I cannot do thepresentation for the conference in two days. I think I was threeweeks ahead but I was going on holiday for one week. There wasno way I could make it. In that particular case, though, it wouldreally hard to be through in two days. I started writing notesabout it, doing more drawings, and so on. At the end of the firstweek, actually I did it on holiday, I had a lot of just pen andpencil drawings, and I said "Maybe I can make it." Back home Istarted painting everything like mad. At that point, indeed, I usedthe Kanban system; indeed, I used the 48 minute rule. I didntsleep, pretty much, to get there in time.The focus was much more on the visual aspects of thepresentation rather than the structure of the story. I just had thestory in terms of what happened I had a bunch of events. Then itwas all images. You have this image of the guy in front of thebuilding; everything burning pretty much, that was my startingpoint, the hook, if you want. I think this applies to, I mean itsnot just the Disney storyboards; its absolutely everything, everybusiness. If you think about it, at some point, you have to sellsomething. Im not saying selling has to be through slides in aslideshow or even a physical presentation, and so on. The keyaspect is, you may love the visual aspects of what you see, but Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  28. 28. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemstheres something behind it that is more important. People dontrealize how critical that is. Years ago I used to be fairly annoyed,I must say, not annoyed but just disappointed, maybe. Peoplewould look at my slides - not illustrated, this is the first time I dideverything illustrated in this way, I didnt even know I had it inme - they would look at the pictures and say "You know, Claudio,where did you get those pictures? Theyre fantastic". And myanswer was "I get the pictures where everybody else gets them".If you know about stock photo websites like istockphoto.com, Iget them there. I used to get them there. So theyre exactly thesame source.Now obviously, you do have to spend the time to find the rightmethod for it and all those kind of things and that becomes hard.But I was kind of disheartened by the aspect that people dontunderstand the amount of work that goes behind anypresentation if you want to do a decent job, I guess. That maybe, it is an obstacle on doing this on a professional level.A lot of people tell me "Oh, but I need the bullet points, I need allthat text, because I need it to support myself, to remember whatI said, what I need to say". I do the same but I do it throughimages. And through the fact that I construct the messages andthe sentences so that maybe you have a full sentence, or youhave the beginning of a sentence which you resolve maybe onthe following slide. You create this kind of flow. There is alwaysan action and then a reaction to that, and then what happensafterwards that really helps the entire flow. Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901
  29. 29. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systems Joseph T. Dager Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Ph: 260-438-0411 Fax: 260-818-2022 Email: jtdager@business901.com Web/Blog: http://www.business901.com Twitter: @business901 What others say: In the past 20 years, Joe and I have collaborated on many difficult issues. Joes ability to combine his expertise with "out of thebox" thinking is unsurpassed. He has always delivered quickly, costeffectively and with ingenuity. A brilliant mind that is always a pleasure towork with." James R.Joe Dager is President of Business901, a progressive company providingdirection in areas such as Lean Marketing, Product Marketing, ProductLaunches and Re-Launches. As a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt,Business901 provides and implements marketing, project and performanceplanning methodologies in small businesses. The simplicity of a singleflexible model will create clarity for your staff and as a result betterexecution. My goal is to allow you spend your time on the need versus theplan.An example of how we may work: Business901 could start with aconsulting style utilizing an individual from your organization or a virtualassistance that is well versed in our principles. We have capabilities toplug virtually any marketing function into your process immediately. Asproficiencies develop, Business901 moves into a coach’s role supporting theprocess as needed. The goal of implementing a system is that the processeswill become a habit and not an event. Business901 Podcast Opportunity Expert Status Stories of Lean and Agile with the Agile Sensei Copyright Business901