Systemic Flow Mapping


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Systemic Flow Mapping is a technique for visualising organisation-wide flow, bottlenecks, and constraints across multiple delivery teams and departmental boundaries. Its aim is to provide enlightenment into wasteful, inefficient, and stressful workplaces helping to inform and shape organisational change using Kanban. Systemic Flow Mapping facilitates the implementation of Kanban at scale showing the negative systemic impact of local optimisation and provides insight into the wider implications and decisions in organisational structure and flow.

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  • What is the System?People, process, toolsPolicies, Demand & Variation, Culture (tribal traits), Collective UnconsciousPrioritisation, Hand offs and Flow of work, Org Structure (silo’s), Contention Ratio’s & Capacity***Create a system***
  • Kanbansystem represented in a card wallEnd-to-end value stream, Queues, A selection column, LimitsBlockers made visible – good attendance at daily stand-up to unblockClasses of Service, Avatars – CapacityMetrics – CFD & Control Charts, burn-up charts, very successfulTeam are happy, made big improvements*Spot the signals*
  • Kanbanflu starts to spreadCentralised teams - “More governance, more control, improved up-time”Multiple mastersMany sources of demand (BAU)Kanban creates tension in the organisationProblems are amplified in centralised teamsAnti-kanbansentiment
  • Start with what they do now
  • Visualise the current WIPObservations:No prioritisation – cherry pickingConditioned to keep busyPrioritisation by he who shouts loudest
  • Teams WILL get benefit from implementingKanbanReducesconfrontationProvide breathing room for bigger thinkingBUT it is a sticking plaster for a systemic problem
  • Peeling back the onionThis organisation is 90 years old, 200 people. They changed with ease. No big J curve of change.
  • Visualising the flow of work around the organisation helps us to make sense of bottlenecks and constraints
  • Waterfall organisation26 concurrent projectsLook at the complexity of the hand-offs / inter-team dependencies.Managers of each of the teams see an important part of their role as “managing this complexity”Variation is vast – from 2 weeks to 18 months to complete any work. This makes planning essentially impossible.
  • A common pattern found in many organisations:Delivery teams utilising agile and lean practices but then hit the wall of OperationsAgile in dev, ITIL in operationsNothing wrong with ITIL but the way most organisations translate ITIL into practice is fundamentally flawed as centralised teams stop flowVariation is reduced in this world significantly but the biggest source of variation is the chasm between dev and ops.
  • In this world there’s no concept of projects, only capabilitiesStaff from around the organisation come together to form capabilities.Variation is vastly reduced when dev and ops come together. There is absolute trust in the capability of all team members involved. Compliance with ITIL is still possible, if not made easier!
  • When mappingmany orgs I’ve found patterns start to emergeDirect correlation between mindset and flowAll 3 examples are similar size organisations operating within similar market sectors and ~175 people eachThe orgs on the right make significantly more profit than the orgs on the left
  • Systemic Flow Mapping

    1. 1. Systemic Flow MappingUsing Kanban for organisational change@caza_no7
    2. 2. “95% of the performance of an organization isattributable to the system and 5% attributable to the individual.” – W. Edwards Deming
    3. 3. = Blocker 7 = Class of = Limit 1 ServiceBacklog Select Analysis Dev Test Demo Pre-Live Live Measure WIP DONE WIP DONE WIP DONEDBA team Release team
    4. 4. BAU
    5. 5. Backlog Select WIP DONE
    6. 6. Backlog Select WIP DONE
    7. 7. Backlog Select WIP DONEProject X BAU CR’sProject Y
    8. 8. Marshall Model for Organisational Effectiveness - @flowchainsenseiThis chart shows the four basic mindsets which prevail withinorganisations at given levels of effectiveness, along with the three“transition zones” (shown in red) where each of these mindsets overlap.The basic premise of Rightshifting is that organisations can improve theira falling blossoms white paper copyright ©2010
    9. 9. 1. Make work visible2. Limit WIP3. Create safety for centralised teams4. Blockers / bottlenecks are signals from the wider system5. Map the wider system to underpin Org Design decisions (Thanks for listening!) @caza_no7