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Agile From the Top Down: Executives & Leadership Living Agile by Jon Stahl


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I believe that executives must practice what they preach. If they want teams to be transparent and agile, they need to practice themselves and lead by example. This talk will share some Agile & Lean techniques, applied in a new way, to help organizations understand their constraints so they can transparently carry forward their journey to becoming Agile. “Seeing the Whole” includes customers, projects, applications, people, leadership, financials and Standard Work. We will propose creating a BVR (Big (I mean big) Visual Room), refactoring the PMO and suggest some practices to help support this journey. Executives are challenged to lead by example and be transparent. - Jon Stahl

Published in: Technology, Business

Agile From the Top Down: Executives & Leadership Living Agile by Jon Stahl

  1. 1. Agile From The Top Down:Executives & Leadership Practicing AgileJon R. Stahl8-9-2011 @jonRstahl
  2. 2. BS in CIS + Econ Minor @jonRstahl Co-Founded 2.5 Years AgoGrew up in Pittsburgh, in Cleveland last 18 years
  3. 3. Our office/boat“The Kearsarge”A Steamship built in1892
  4. 4. “The Deep Dive” - 1999How does the process of designing a better product work?What does a process AND a culture look like?
  5. 5. “Build a culture and a process, thats what companies really want” Process + Culture := Sustainability
  6. 6. Why are most Agile movements NOT sustainable?
  7. 7. Agile Manifesto We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value: Individuals & Interactions over Process & Tools Working Software over Comprehensive Documents Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiation Responding to Change over Following a Plan That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.
  8. 8. Agile Principles  Deliver software in short increments  Expect and encourage change  Constant collaboration with customer  Continuous attention to technical excellence  Simplicity  Self organizing teams  …
  9. 9. Scrum = Agile?•  Does your company think they are just doing some common “agile” practices and therefore they are Agile? • •  Or do they recognize that Agile is a set of values and principles?
  10. 10. We Want To Go Agile!•  Give us the recipe•  Give us some coaches•  Give us some training•  Do it quicklyReally Saying… •  Help me change our culture, •  A culture that you can’t possibly understand unless you are living in itWait…. •  We can’t even describe our culture to you clearly
  11. 11. They must•  live the values•  lead by example•  seek to truly understand their culture•  be as transparent as the teams they lead Lets explore how we could begin to expose your culture and live the values!
  12. 12. Our Backlog PMO Leadership Assets Information Re-Factored WIP & Kaizen By Value Radiators Asset Roadmaps Speak Leadership Values & & Quality In Stories Retrospectives Principles Metrics Leadership Asset Business & Implementation Stand Ups Scoring ObjectivesStahl Warning: Standard Work Tools People Org Chart Project Demand FunnelI talk FAST sostop me if Standard Work People Project Sizing & Agile Craftsmanshipnecessary, I do Capacitynot mind  Standard Work People Project Waterfall Constraints Release Planning Financials, Leadership Asset Operations, etc. Road Blocks Technology Soup
  13. 13. Information Radiators Visualize What you Manage
  14. 14. Clear communication is the foundation “I’m glad we all agree.”
  15. 15. Get those mental models out on the table “Ah...”
  16. 16. An explicit model allows convergencethrough iteration “Ah!”
  17. 17. A genuinely shared understanding “I’m glad we’re all agreed then.”
  18. 18. Information Radiators•  A display posted in a place where people can see it as they work or walk by.•  It shows readers information they care about without having to ask anyone a question.•  This means more communication with fewer interruptions.•  Large & easily visible to the casual, interested observer•  Understood at a glance•  Changes periodically, so that it is worth visiting•  Is easily kept up to date
  19. 19. Create a BVR (Big Visual Room)•  Find a location with lots of wall space•  Must be in a high traffic area like… –  Lunch Room / Cafeteria –  Long Hallways / Busy Corridors
  20. 20. Step 1: Values & Principles
  21. 21. The MOST Important Wall Of All!•  Put you values on the wall•  Examine a software value system and principles•  Put this on the wall•  Tie them together•  Management Team Signs it•  We Recommend.. –  Agile Manifesto –  XP Values (Courage, Communication, Simplicity, Feedback, Respect) –  Lean: Kaizen & Muda
  22. 22. Manifesto  for  Agile  So6ware  Development   Principles  behind  the  Agile  Manifesto   We  are  uncovering  beUer  ways  of  developing     • Our  highest  priority  is  to  sa4sfy  the  customer   soDware  by  doing  it  and  helping  others  do  it.     through  early  and  con4nuous  delivery   of  valuable  soDware.   Through  this  work  we  have  come  to  value:   • Welcome  changing  requirements,  even  late  in     Individuals  and  interac4ons  over  processes  and  tools     development.  Agile  processes  harness  change  for     the  customers  compe44ve  advantage.     Working  soDware  over  comprehensive  documenta4on     Customer  collabora4on  over  contract  nego4a4on     • Deliver  working  soDware  frequently,  from  a     couple  of  weeks  to  a  couple  of  months,  with  a     Responding  to  change  over  following  a  plan   preference  to  the  shorter  4mescale.   • Business  people  and  developers  must  work     That  is,  while  there  is  value  in  the  items  on     together  daily  throughout  the  project.   the  right,  we  value  the  items  on  the  leD  more.   • Build  projects  around  mo4vated  individuals.     Source:  AgileManifesto.Org   • Give  them  the  environment  and  support  they  need,     and  trust  them  to  get  the  job  done.   eXtremeProgramming  Values  We  Follow   • The  most  efficient  and  effec4ve  method  of     conveying  informa4on  to  and  within  a  development                                Courage,  Communica4on,  Feedback,  Respect,  Simplicity   team  is  face-­‐to-­‐face  conversa4on.   • Working  soDware  is  the  primary  measure  of  progress.   • Agile  processes  promote  sustainable  development.   • The  sponsors,  developers,  and  users  should  be  able     to  maintain  a  constant  pace  indefinitely.   We  uphold  the  manifesto  with  prac4ces  that  we  adopt  from:   • Con4nuous  aUen4on  to  technical  excellence     and  good  design  enhances  agility.   •   eXtreme  Programming  (XP)   • Simplicity-­‐-­‐the  art  of  maximizing  the  amount     of  work  not  done-­‐-­‐is  essen4al.   •   Scrum   • The  best  architectures,  requirements,  and  designs     emerge  from  self-­‐organizing  teams.   •   Lean   • At  regular  intervals,  the  team  reflects  on  how     •   Organiza4on  Effec4veness  /  Development   to  become  more  effec4ve,  then  tunes  and  adjusts     its  behavior  accordingly.   •   SoDware  CraDsmanship   Source:  AgileManifesto.Org    
  23. 23. Step 2: Visualize Your Business
  24. 24. Visualize the Business Units and Strategy Customer Experiences Buying Selling Ownership Claims Strategic Objectives •  Product Development wants to expand from 8 states to 16 states. •  Product Development wants to introduce a recreational vehicle product. •  Marketing wants to increase our Gen Y customer base from 5% to 20%. •  Sales wants to provide consumers their policy data via mobile technology
  25. 25. Step 3: Visualize Your Projects & Demand Funnel
  26. 26. Map the Demand & WIPBusiness Units Project Backlog WIPA Least Valuable Most ValuableBCD
  27. 27. Size the Demand & Add Time to Market Constraints Sizing Time to Market Constraints XS 0 - 625 Hrs 1 Units double with risk Unit Q1 S 626 – 1,250 Hrs 2 Q2 Units M 1,251 – 2,500 Hrs. 4 Q3 Units Q4 L 2,501 – 5,000 Hrs 8 Units XL 5,001 - 10,000 Hrs 16 4 Program X Units Project A Biz A Biz C M Biz B Biz D
  28. 28. Understand Lean Pull
  29. 29. Calculate Units By Team 7 – 12 Developers 2,080 less 20% Non-Billable = 1664 2–3 Product Owner/Business 1664 x 16 = 26,624 per team Analyst 2–3 Quality Assurance Or do by Budget ie: 6 Million a year, 1–2 Team Leaders = 1.5 Million per Qtr 12 – 20 People, 16 people ideal 20 Units per quarter
  30. 30. Release Planning20 Units Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4Per Year 5 Units 5 Units 5 Units 5 UnitsPer Team 4 Units 2 Units 8 Units 4 Units 1 Unit 1 Unit
  31. 31. Budgets Are Done…Deliver!
  32. 32. It’s not that simple, so let’s paint a real picture… Visualize what you manage •  Application Assets •  People •  Leadership •  Standard Work / Process •  Financials, Operations, etc. PMO Re-factored Speak in Stories
  33. 33. Step 4: Application Assets
  34. 34. Visualize the Application Assets and Technology soup Biz A Biz C Oracle C# COBOL Biz B Biz D SQL Server Java Other
  35. 35. Order Assets By Business Value/Severity Level 3 Level 2 Level 1 Biz A Biz C Biz B Biz D
  36. 36. Visualize Your Assets Management in Severity Order Road Map Current State Future State Plan To Get there 128 Units Severity Technical Debt Production 1 Sev 1 Defects 12 Sev 2 40 Sev 3 Frequency jUnit Test Automated Regression Performance 82% Coverage Test Coverage 74% 91%/10 Other things you could track: Lines of Code, Code Change Risk Analyzer, JDepend, Cylcomatic Complexity, Panopticode, Chidamber & Kemer Object-oriented metrics
  37. 37. Score Your Assets, Asset Management Level 3 Level 2 Level 1 Road Tech Test Map Defects Debt Coverage < 25 Great Solid <5 Units > 80% Good OK Biz A Biz C Biz Biz D Rotten B
  38. 38. Step 5: People(Assets & Liabilities)
  39. 39. Visualize Your Org Chart, Post-IT note color = Primary Role Dev QA Mgr Admin BA Other
  40. 40. Define Core Competencies, Matrix & Ownership Eric Susan Jon Mary JimCraft Owners Mgr BA Dev QA Admin Other Master Teachers, Passion For CraftJourneyman Practice, Rinse, RepeatApprentice New, Please Mentor Me What does Learn from industry Form a community Feedback loops best practices for the craft on the craft ownership mean?
  41. 41. Apply Craftsmanship Levels M = Master J = Journeyman M A = Apprentice M M J J J M J J J M A A M M A A A M A A J J M J J J M A J A J J J J J M J A A J A A J J M J M A A J M A J A J A A J J A J J J J A M M A A J Dev QA Mgr Admin BA Other
  42. 42. Score the Competencies Eric Susan Jon Mary Jim Mgr BA Dev QA Admin Other Master 8 Units 4 3 3 4 1 1 Journeyman 4 Units 7 1 12 9 2 1 Apprentice 2 Units 0 3 16 3 0 1 Could Apply (4x8)+ (3x8)+ (3x8)+ (4x8)+ (1x8)+ (1x8)+ $ Per Unit & (7x4) + (1x4) + (12x4) + (9x4) + (2x4) + (1x4) + Look at (0x2) (3x2) (16x2) (3x2) (0x2) (1x2) Ratio’s 60 UNITS 34 UNITS 104 74 UNITS 16 UNITS 14 UNITS UNITS
  43. 43. Apply Tech Skills to Devs M M M J J J M J J J M A A M M A A A M A A J J M J J J M A J A J J J J J M J A A J A A J J M J M A A J M A J A J A A J J A M M A J J J J Admin A A J SQL Oracle C# Java COBOL Other Server
  44. 44. Score the Competencies By Tech Skills Eric Susan Jon Mary Jim Mgr BA Dev QA Admin Other Master 8 Units 4 3 3 4 1 1 Journeyman 4 Units 7 1 12 9 2 1 Apprentice 2 Units 0 3 16 3 0 1 Could Apply (4x8)+ (3x8)+ (3x8)+ (4x8)+ (1x8)+ (1x8)+ $ Per Unit & (7x4) + (1x4) + (12x4) + (9x4) + (2x4) + (1x4) + Look at (0x2) (3x2) (16x2) (3x2) (0x2) (1x2) Ratio’s 60 UNITS 34 UNITS 104 UNITS 74 UNITS 16 UNITS 14 UNITS You Get the Idea…
  45. 45. Map People to Business Knowledge MYou Get theIdea M M J J J M J J J M A A M M A A A M A A J J M J J J M A J A J J J J J M J A A J A A J J M J M A A J M A J A J A A J J A M M A J J J J Admin A A J Biz A Biz C Biz B Biz D
  46. 46. Specialists that support Agile & Waterfall •  Architecture •  Infrastructure •  Security •  User Experience •  DBA’s •  PMO •  Operations Circle them, make note of them, SPECIALIZATION is another type of constraint. Do the specialists want to control or contribute to delivery?
  47. 47. Candidate Waste: Latent SkillOrganizations employ their staff forspecific skills that they may have. Theseemployees have other skills too, it iswasteful to not take advantage of theseskills as well. "It is only by capitalizing onemployees creativity that organizationscan eliminate the other seven wastes andcontinuously improve their performance.”Source Liker(2004) – The Toyota Way (p.28)
  48. 48. Wasteful Craft Patterns in MOST Organizations “I am expert at the system “I know the business, so therefore therefore I am in I am the customer, I am the Quality Assurance” business analyst.” Root: I can break stuff. Root: I can’t admit I changed professions. “I got a BS degree in Computer Science, but I only do Java” Root: I know enough technology. “If it wasn’t created here, I “Study my craft? I quit don’t buy it.” studying when I left school” Root: “Not Invented Here” Root: I don’t get paid to syndrome & self preservation. study. Homework sucks.
  49. 49. Step 6: Process/Standard Work
  50. 50. Standard Work•  Each step in the process should be defined and must be performed repeatedly in the same manner.•  Standard Work will define the most efficient methods to produce product using available equipment, people, and material. The Standard Work depicts the key process points, operator procedures, production sequence, safety issues, and quality checks.Source: rulestandardwork.htm
  51. 51. Sustaining the Discipline•  Maintain and review standards.•  While thinking about the new way, also be thinking about better ways.•  Suggested improvements can be tested.•  If truly better, don’t be different just to be different.•  Be different if results are the same & is the least waste method (ie: story card tracking).
  52. 52. Standard Work: Tools Teams Code Red Fish, Policy Code LeanProject Management Rats Blue Fish Admin Monkeys Dogs Time Reporting NA NA Agile Project Tracking NAWaterfall Project Tracking NA NA NA NADevelopment Java IDE NA NA NA C# IDE NA NA TDD Continuous IntegrationTesting
  53. 53. Standard Work: Agile Practices Teams Code Red Fish, Policy Code Rats Monkeys LeanDogsProject Management Blue Fish Admin Daily Standup Retrospectives Story MappingDevelopment TDD Pair Programming BDD Continuous Integration Always Sometimes Never Not Necessary
  54. 54. Mapping of PMBOK Waterfall/Traditional to Agile by MicheleSliger & Stacia Broderick
  55. 55. Standard Practices: Waterfall Projects Project A Project B Project C Project D Project EProject Phase Executing Closing Initiation Planning MonitoringIntegration MgmtScope MgmtTime MgmtCost MgmtQuality MgmtHuman ResourceCommunication MgmtRisk MgmtProcurement Mgmt Good Caution Fail
  56. 56. Step 7..X: Financials, Operations,Procurement, … Keep Going  There isn’t one way to do this, dowhat makes sense to yourorganization.  Add & remove informationradiators based on value and insightneeded.  If they are not being maintained,that is a sign that they aren’tradiating value – Adapt!
  57. 57. Leadership Practices
  58. 58. Transparent Leadership•  Doesn’t mean you have all the answers•  Control is not something you can have over a complex system•  Set a larger vision for the organization•  Allow the creativity of their people to emerge•  Visualize the problem, allow teams to solve•  Shift the way you [lead] organizations, loosen control to encourage more creativity. A culture of care will emerge, as opposed to a culture of command and control, and your company will be more creative and productive, too.Excerpt from “”
  59. 59. Daily Stand Up Meetings  Team communicates on a daily basis  Team members report:   What they did yesterday   What they are going to do today   Any concerns or road blocks they are facing  Each update is very brief  15 minutes for whole team
  60. 60. Escalating Road Blocks Management Removes CIO ImpedimentsWiFi for All 60 2/1/10 Days Director ManagementBorn SupportsOn 45Date Days Middle Manager 30 Trust, but verify Days by visualization Line Manager
  61. 61. Retrospectives  Designed to help a team find ways to improve what they do  Should be held at least every 2 weeks  What worked? What didn’t work?  Team votes if items discussed during the retrospective should become cards to be played in the coming iteration  XP Values: Courage, Communication, Feedback, Respect
  62. 62. WIP + KaizenIF WIP takes all A congested highway does not the demand flow efficiently!THEN there is no room for continuous improvementWe must support this and allow room for improvement!
  63. 63. Inspect Via Visualization & Conversations Retrospective Road Blocks Could Not In Worked Be Started Progress Done Better • 
  64. 64. “Fly By The Seat of Your Pants”Decide a course of action as you go along, using your own initiative and perceptions rather than a pre-determined plan or mechanical aids.Aircraft initially had few navigation aids and flying was accomplished by means of the pilots judgment (the vibration in the seat of their pants).Management is a craft that requires more communication than instrumentation.
  65. 65. Pair Management
  66. 66. Re-factor the PMO
  67. 67. Re-factor PMO to MSO Manifesto Support Office
  68. 68. Manifesto Support Office Principles•  Information Radiators are Good!•  Throughput Focus, Limit WIP, Pull Value•  Align Continually (backlog honing with peers)•  Support Kaizen & Crafts•  Identify, Alleviate, Elevate Constraints•  Standard Work + Self Organization :=Good•  “See the Whole”: Communicate Strategic Intent
  69. 69. Step 9: Speak in Stories•  Stories are statements of value•  Stories start a conversation•  Allows us to manage our own WIP more effectively•  Solve the problem in the lightest way possible•  Don’t use a tool when you need a conversation
  70. 70. Project Management Dashboards
  71. 71. Write Story Cards for Supporting OrganizationsExamples:•  PMO•  Operations•  Architecture•  Human Resources•  Backlog that is reviewed by Delivery Teams who are tied to delivering business value
  72. 72. As a Customer…I want to understand who is working on my project, so that I can make sure they are working on the right priorities for the business.I want to understand who I need to talk to when I need more information.I want to see when my requests are going to need my collaboration so that I am available to the team.
  73. 73. As a CIO…I want new resources coming into IT to be able to understand what this company is about and how their job is connected to the goals of the company.I want to understand the state of work on each team, so that I can better understand the status.I want to understand where work is in the demand management funnel, so that I can communicate effectively with the cabinet.
  74. 74. As an Application Delivery Director…I want to understand what risks we are facing, so that I can help mitigate them.I want to understand how effective we are at continuous deployment, so that I can help manage this.I want to understand how effective we are at reusing components such as port lets, so I can reduce our time to market and overall project costs.
  75. 75. As an Application Delivery Director…I want to understand the level of engagement I have with my IT teams, so that I can make sure they have a productive, positive, fun and transparent work environment.I want to understand the depth of craftsmanship across my teams, so that I can ensure a well-balanced organization. I want to level of standard work across my teams, so that I can ensure we are upholding the value of not being different unless necessary.I want to understand my cost per unit of software, so that I can better understand our effectiveness.
  76. 76. Application Assets and Technology Soup Backlog Road Blocks
  77. 77. The End Game•  Be ADAPTIVE•  Be TRANSPARENT•  Seek to eliminate WASTE•  Value PEOPLE above all else•  Live the VALUES•  Lead by EXAMPLE!•  Sustaining behavior will lead to a sustainable organization
  78. 78. Implement 4 Themes, See The Mind Map•  Information Radiator Room: 8+ Domains –  Values, Business, Application Assets, People, Leadership, Standard Work/Process, Financials, Operations…•  Leadership: 3 Practices –  Daily Stand Up’s, Retrospectives, Visible Escalating Roadblocks•  Re-factor the PMO -> MSO•  Story Cards for Supporting Organizations
  79. 79. Questions,Comments? @jonRstahl
  80. 80. What Did You See That Was Agile?•  What is amazing is how long we put up with things that do not work•  Build a culture and a process, thats what companies really want•  Not actually experts in any area, they are experts in a process•  No titles, no permanent assignments•  Project leader because hes good with groups•  In an very innovative culture you cant have a hierarch•  Hire people who dont listen to the boss•  Find experts to learn quickly instead of trying to learn it by yourself•  Many bosses, measure whether their people are performing are the ones at their desk all the time, couldnt be more wrong, the really good people are out
  81. 81. •  Each team is going to demonstrate communicate and share everything that they are learning today•  Enlightened trial and error succeeds over the planning of the lone genius•  People are encouraged to build their own work areas•  Open mind is critical and the boss demands great deal of team work•  Fail often in order to succeed sooner•  Trying stuff and ask for forgiveness instead of asking permission•  Fresh ideas come faster in a fun environment•  Being playful is a huge importance for being innovative•  Status is who comes up with the best ideas, not whos been at the company longest•  The boss is always going to have the best ideas, not likely•  If everybody only came up with sane things, there wouldnt a point to build off of•  One conversation at a time, stay focused on topic, signs everywhere