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Agile lean workshop for teams, managers & exec leadership


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Agile lean workshop for teams, managers & exec leadership

  1. 1. 1 Agile-Lean workshop for teams, managers & exec leadership Ravi Tadwalkar, Enterprise Agile Coach & Community Evangelist, Cisco Systems April 2013, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported Synopsis: It has always been my pleasure to informally facilitate planning workshops for teams, functional managers & exec leadership at and outside Cisco! This workshop helps leadership in exploring how to be a good servant leader in a “control” culture that expects neck-down management style. It helps team members to assess how "Whole Team Quality Ownership Model“ needs generalists in a culture that merits individual contributors This Agile-Lean workshop for teams, managers & exec leadership expands on what Pete Behrens refers to as "inside-out leadership agility”. “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable" - Dwight D. Eisenhower
  2. 2. What is agile/scrum? How different than lean/kanban? Workshop “product tree” has roots based on agile/scrum values: Focus, Commitment, Respect, Openness and…Courage
  3. 3. 3 • Agile Manifesto • Agile & Lean Principles • What is Agile/Lean • Why Agile/Lean • What is Agile & Why Agile • What is Lean & Why Lean • Functional Manager Roles & Responsibilities in Agile • Every Team member takes on “Generalist” Role in Agile
  4. 4. 4 The Agile Manifesto introduced the term “agile” in 2001: 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 and Interactions over processes and tools Working Software over comprehensive documentation 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. Source:
  5. 5. 5 • Agile Principles •There are 12 agile principles for iterative & incremental development: •Immediate feedback: Internal & external customers •Inspect & Adapt: Release, Sprint Retrospectives •(see notes section) • Lean Principles •These 7 lean software development principles enable continuous improvement: •Eliminating waste and rework •Amplify learning •Decide as late as possible •Deliver as fast as possible •Empower the team •Build integrity in •See the whole
  6. 6. 6 • Agile Principles •Iterative & incremental development •Immediate feedback •Inspect & Adapt • Lean Practices •Eliminating waste and rework •Continuous improvement
  7. 7. 7 • Increase customer satisfaction • Faster time to market • Be nimble & flexible in the market • Improve quality • Increase team morale • Predictable release timing • Simplify process • And…. Continuous Innovation (“Lean Startup”) “With waterfall, we spent 12 months planning for 4 months of engineering. With Agile, we spend 2 hours planning for 54 hours of engineering. One word: productivity.” -Steve Harter, CBABU Software Engineer
  8. 8. 8 • What is Agile? Agile := “immediate feedback- inspect-and-adapt” • Group of methods based on iterative and/or incremental development • Cisco Agile practitioners use combination of agile methods such as scrum and XP. • Why Agile? Scrum introduces “feedback loops” that enable frequent delivery of customer value:
  9. 9. 9 Sprint Timeboxed: 2-4 weeks in duration 24 hrs Product Backlog – Prioritized Features desired by Customer Daily Standup Meetings – • Obstacles? (Olve Maudal starts here) • Done since last meeting • Plan for today •- Apply XP best practices Sprint Planning Meetings – •Review Product Backlog •Estimate Sprint Backlog •Commit to Sprint Timebox •Establish Sprint Goal Backlog Tasks – expanded by team Sprint Backlog - Features (User Stories) selected into sprint, estimated by team Sprint Review Meetings – •Demo features to all •Retrospective on the Sprint Potentially Shippable Product Increment
  10. 10. 10
  11. 11. 11 • What is Lean? Lean := “reduce/eliminate process waste” Lean practitioners use lean tool- not a process- such as kanban • Why Lean? Mary Poppendieck (Lean Software Development guru) states: “ Deliver continually increasing customer value Expending continually decreasing effort In the shortest possible timeframe With the highest possible quality. A journey, not a destination. " Martin Fowler’s quote: “ The Poppendiecks didn't introduce lean as a separate idea, nor did they introduce lean as a published process in the style of Scrum or XP. Rather they introduced lean as a set of thinking tools that could easily blend within any agile process.”
  12. 12. 12 • While both scrum and kanban support incremental development, kanban is less prescriptive than scrum & XP: In kanban based systems, there are no explicit iterations, no explicitly defined meetings (only cadence needed), and no defined roles. Focus is on creating “flow” in a pull based system. • Source: Henrik Kniberg
  13. 13. 13 Functional Manager Usually DE & DT Managers fit in this role. Technical directors may also be good fit. Core Responsibilities Additional Responsibilities Transition Stage  Retain people management responsibilities  Creates an environment of trust  Removes Impediments  Protects Teams From Distractions  Recognizes and Rewards agile behavior in teams and individuals  Holds teams and individuals accountable for their own commitments  May also be SMEs, Architects, Product Owners - Have & set reasonable expectations about transition, i.e. team may stumble in initial phase. - Budget time, resources for team needs e.g. Agile training, infrastructure. Agile Newbie Required Training for Scrum: Scrum Fundamentals for Managers - Introduce Slack to improve effectiveness over efficiency - May participate in or sponsor Agile transition planning and execution Agile Practitioner - Support innovation - Fostering organizational improvement - Agile Portfolio Management - Incorporate lean principles in management - Effective coaches of Agile & lean principles Agile Innovator Become member of Agile@Cisco community CAVEATS/ Don’ts: For Functional Managers new to Agile, these behaviors conflict with Agile Scrum; • Decide what work needs to be done • Assign the work to Team members • Keep track of what everyone on the Team is doing • Make sure the Team gets their work done • Make commitments to management about how much Team can do by a certain date • Making commitments to management for the team • Do weekly status update report for management • Watch out for the drift back to old command-and-control behaviors by manager assigning tasks to team rather than team choosing it. Note: • Pete Deemer’s Manager 2.0: The Role of the Manager in Scrum for more details • Jurgen Appelo’s Management 3.0 workouts
  14. 14. 14 Agile Team Member (AKA Architect, Programmer, Developer, Tester) Core Responsibilities Additional Responsibilities Transition Stage  Concurrently design, develop, and test working product increment.  Deliver to commitments on software, tests, and other deliverables  Decomposes work into SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-boxed) tasks based on ideal-work day  Participates in sizing and estimation  Automates testing  Makes technical decisions (tools, architecture, design, development practices)  Writes, estimates, and selects ownership of tasks - Architects are available to the team - Conducts regression testing - in parallel with development - Verify & validate software while it is being developed. Agile Newbie Required Training for Scrum: Scrum Fundamentals for Team Agile Testing (TBD) - Runs continuous integration - Participates in code refactoring - Uses test-first/test-driven development, or better still, behavior driven development. - Delivers what has been committed- thereby avoiding QA back-ending - Automates acceptance testing Agile Practitioner Managing Software Debt (TBD) - Releases through continuous delivery - Uses collective code ownership to facilitate software delivery; i.e. multiple developers swarm on coding rather than only one developer - Nurtures emergent design - Decides at the last responsible moment - Exhibits swarming behavior i.e. everyone does testing - Decides at the last responsible moment Agile Innovator Become member of coaching network
  15. 15. Workshop “product tree” has roots based on agile/scrum values: Focus, Commitment, Respect, Openness and…Courage What is Process Training?
  16. 16. 16 • The motivation to move to agile We can offer guidance for management on when to choose what- agile/scrum and lean/kanban. There are times when neither agile nor lean makes sense and perhaps waterfall/RUP is better choice. e.g. release planning may not be feasible for pure R&D initiatives like CSDN project or really complex BI projects like GMI project. Likewise, firmware development project teams e.g. CENBU. These projects can optimize on flow w/ lean, even without scrum/kanban. • Challenges of Agile Transition Taking stance on one standardized process can prove to be disastrous for enterprise level agile adoption. Agile transition model like SAFe or Flow-Pull-Innovate looks great in books & experience reports, but will that work for you? James Whittaker's "10-minute test plan" handout- may not work for really large programs with external vendors. Get advice from internal coaches' network, for common pain points and scenarios are discussed during those internal coaches' meetings • Are you kidding- Working Software Over Documentation? Reference: Creating Backlog during Release Planning; Creating tasks during Sprint Planning Refer to Starter Kit document named "before & after" (deck) for sample release timelines, AC goals, Sprint 0 goals Examples of Agile Commit templates at various "scales" of program- small, medium & large Examples of Architectural design documentation
  17. 17. What are Agile/Lean Metrics? Workshop “product tree” has roots based on agile/scrum values: Focus, Commitment, Respect, Openness and…Courage
  18. 18. 18 • Agile teams can use balanced scorecard approach to measure team performance using metrics such as Acceptance Percentage, Velocity Stability and Quality Debt with these assumptions: • Any metric we come up with has to be generally applicable and fall into the BSC charter. • We recommend using "effective person day" as the basis of effort estimate. As coaches we advise teams that they should use 4 hrs/day initially, and as they improve can go up to 6 hrs/day. Efficiency Measuring organization in meeting its current deliverables, productivity, revenue and cost targets. Value Delivery Measuring the value of the software delivered to customers during the measurement period. Quality Measuring the quality of the product as determined in the customer’s environment Agility Measuring the ability of the organization to improve and meet future performance objectives Reference: “Scaling Software Agility” Dean Leffingwell © 2007
  19. 19. 19 1. Overall Team Agility Assessment (If we need to improve, what will help?) 2. Portfolio-level Feature Roadmap (What’s In/Out as of last sprint/release) 3. Pertinent Metrics: 1. Velocity Stability/Trend: Enhanced Velocity/ Release Burndown Chart (Velocity Trending Stats, for release/sprint planning) 2. Acceptance Percentage (last 3 sprints) 3. Scope Change Percentage (last 3 sprints) 4. Release Burnup vs. Defect Trend (Defect Debt situation) 5. Release-level and/or last Iteration-level CFD (Where is the WIP accumulating?)
  20. 20. 20 • Kanban creator David Anderson recommends these lean metrics: • Lead time metric (as business agility indicator), tracked using average lead time trend line Tip: Use trending similar to empirical velocity based trending used in scrum process framework • Lean guru Donald Reinertsen has metrics for flow-based product development: • Queue size of product backlog • Batch size of stories/defects • Aging of backlog items • Feedback speed • Aging of obstacles • Trends in queue size • Trends in batch size • Trends in cadence • Efficiency of flow • Decision cycle time • Flow Efficiency metric = touch time / lead time • Due date performance metric (as predictability indicator)
  21. 21. Workshop “product tree” has roots based on agile/scrum values: Focus, Commitment, Respect, Openness and…Courage What “fruits” (or proof) do you want to check out? How do we start?
  22. 22. 22 • Review the CBABU Experience Report Start reading Cisco Agile Playbook content • Review the Exec-Roadshow Deck • How do we start - Candidates for Agile Projects
  23. 23. 23 • Need For Agile Need for frequent customer input to discover and refine requirements Need to adapt to changing market conditions • Need For Lean Need for ad-hoc requests that suite lean/kanban approach You may want to consider lean/kanban for sustenance as well • Organizational Readiness Core players bought in – product marketing, development, and test Management support Critical partners educated (CA, Mfg, Sales, etc.) Team commitment to remove productivity barriers • Ability To Collaborate Willingness to organize cross-functional teams – no silos Development and test can work together daily
  24. 24. Doesn’t “to lead is to serve” sound too good to be true? Workshop “product tree” has roots based on agile/scrum values: Focus, Commitment, Respect, Openness and…Courage
  25. 25. 25 • Too good to be true: “To Lead is To Serve”? • Leadership Assessment (Example) • Summary based on assessment • Peopleware Topics Model of Team Room Model of Daily Standup Meetings Team Composition Expectation Management: Status Updates, Predictability, Attitudes, Involvement & Quality • What’s Culture? • Why Inside-out Agility? • Next Steps: GROW with InsideOut Coaching Training!
  26. 26. 26 • James Hunter’s Servant Leadership Implementation Process (source: The process involves three steps that are implemented over a nine (9) month to one-year period and includes: • Foundation: Setting the standard by training the team on the specifics of Servant Leadership and the required leadership skills and behaviors. • Feedback: Identifying the Gaps is accomplished utilizing a Leadership Skills Inventory (LSI) tool, which is a 360° feedback tool clearly identifies the "gaps" between where the manager needs to be as the leader versus their actual level of performance as the leader. • Friction: Eliminating the Gaps & Measuring Results. Establishing specific and measurable goals and measuring behavioral changes. A Continuous Improvement Panel (CIP) is created to provide managers with support and provides the appropriate "friction" to ensure individual behavior change until those changes become habit (second nature). You can check out “The Servant Leadership Training Course” (audio MP3 CD set) on for servant leadership specific training on topics such as: Leadership Skills, Community/Team Building, Active Listening, Assertiveness Training, Character Development, Constructive Discipline, Performance Planning & Review.
  27. 27. 27 Popular example of leadership assessment used by agile coaching community: Source: James Hunter’s “Servant Leadership Skills Inventory” ( aka LSI tool ) URL:
  28. 28. 28 • Example summary of leadership assessment (source:
  29. 29. 29 • Typical functional management (power vs. authority) scenarios and possible workarounds for few of those. This is based on conversations with several functional/non-functional managers. • Almost everything in agile is centered on the team. Effective teams can overcome almost any obstacle. Pay close attention to managing stakeholder expectations. Not establishing the correct expectations can create genuine havoc in your project. • You can get started with agile with or w/o tooling- leveraging on your visit to team room aka scrum room and/or attending scrum team meetings. • “Model” of Team room Contact us (Agile-Lean@Cisco team) so we can coordinate with the Scrum Master to have access into the “Kettle Drum” Scrum Room on a need-to-know basis. The only rule is not to interrupt the scrum team. • “Model” of daily standup meetings It is also possible to show-case a distributed scrum team to newbie teams/individuals. Newbie teams do want to see a daily scrum meeting with scrum team in action. Team’s candid response has always been: "We can certainly invite others to join to help them adopt more agile practices. (We have found it keeps us honest to our agile practice too as we are less likely to slip into bad practices with others watching)"
  30. 30. 30 Team Composition We suggest you look for these characteristics when forming an agile team: • A team with every member willing to try agile • A team that is curious and willing to adapt and learn • A team willing to collaborate through constructive "storming" to have a better solution • A team with diverse technical skills, willing to broaden skills by teaching and learning • A team in which some members have domain expertise • A team willing to foster strong communication skills • A team with one or more agile champions • A team with one or more experienced agile practitioners • Co-located or distributed- the team should, at least, be willing to come together for coaching.
  31. 31. 31 • Expectation Management- Status Updates • Productivity will go down at first and rise later. You should expect that it may take few iterations for productivity to match pre-adoption levels. Pressure to speed up will force the team into regressive behavior- such as wanting to go back to waterfall. • Expectation Management- Predictability • Good agile teams are known to be highly predictable, though during initial adoption the team’s predictability will decline as the team learns about its capacity to produce. As a team matures in its practices, a stable velocity will emerge leading to predictability.
  32. 32. 32 • Expectation Management- Attitudes • There will be those that feel: • Time is wasted in daily meetings • Time is wasted testing even though we won’t deliver in this iteration • Roles are not clear • There is not enough project definition • There is not enough documentation • The team is not going fast enough • …and so on.
  33. 33. 33 • Expectation Management- Involvement • The role of every single person on the team will change. • Project Managers will need to give up control. If they are scrum masters, they will have to be be servant leaders • Product Owners will forgo detailed requirements documents • Developers will need to develop incremental design and architecture skills • UX - User experience will need to lead development by working iteratively and deliver artifacts that are less polished. • QA engineers will start testing earlier to largely overlap code development • The entire team takes ownership of requirements definition through testing. • Expectation Management- Quality • Product quality will stay the same or rise slightly in the first few iterations. The big gains in quality come later when the team begins to adopt lean engineering practices like test first development, continuous integration and comprehensive unit, functional and acceptance automation.
  34. 34. 34 • Check out this video by Michael Sahota • Example of cultural assessment survey (
  35. 35. • Notice how Eric Ries’s “lean startup” method applies agile/lean for continuous innovation! • 2 out of its 5 principles- “validated learning” & “build-measure-learn” require “inspect & adopt” & “reduce waste” • However, large corporations use top-down approach toward agile adoption • define process (formalize change) -> define structure (governance w/ silos) -> Culture (control) • That’s why Pete Behrens’s “Inside-out agility” approach makes sense for “corp -> lean startup” morph! • assess culture -> build org structure -> improve (process) with “inspect & adopt” & “reducing waste”. Source: Pete Behrens’s slideshare:
  36. 36. 36 • Introduction • The purpose of this training is to practice how to help manager improve his/her manager effectiveness by asking to put all people managers through InsideOut Coaching training. • InsideOut Coaching provides practical skills for all People Managers that are immediately applicable to real-world situations. It's not just training and tools; it's a paradigm shift with the power to create change. Managers learn to stop dictating answers and help their team members find their own solutions – effectively unlocking the spirit of innovation and creativity within each team member and enabling them to thrive. • You can create a wiki page intended to provide a central repository of information about InsideOut Coaching and a place where people managers can share their experiences, their tips and tricks, and list events intended to continue the momentum around this powerful coaching technique.
  37. 37. 37 • For a quick "hallway coaching" session, instead of using all the GROW questions, use one question from each of the 4 sections, such as: • 1. What do you want from this discussion? (s.m.a.r.t.) 2. Briefly, what's been happening? 3. If you were watching this conversation, what would you recommend? 4. What and when is the next step? (s.m.a.r.t.)
  38. 38. 38 D• escription Resource Public InsideOut Web Site InsideOut Coaching Web Site with licensed resources such as videos and tools (requires password) Tools (for printing) - GROW Pad, Coaching Strategy and Feedback Form Tools for printing Tools (for editing) - GROW Pad, Coaching Strategy and Feedback Form Tools (for editing) Alan Fine, creator of InsideOut Coaching, TED Talk Alan Fine TED Talk Alan Fine's book "You Already Know How to Be Great: A Simple Way to Remove Interference and Unlock Your Greatest Potential" You Already Know How to Be Great Internal overview slide deck for sharing the basic ideas of InsideOut Coaching with team members InsideOut Coaching Debrief
  39. 39. Why do we need Team Room? Workshop “product tree” has roots based on agile/scrum values: Focus, Commitment, Respect, Openness and…Courage
  40. 40. 40 • Team Room Myth(s) • Why Team Room?
  41. 41. 41 • Typical Myth- Functional Manager’s dilemma: • "Team room does not work for us, since I cannot be sure a) whether people are really working, or b) people are doing private work.” • Scenario: • This functional manager called for yet another all-hands. Team is fuming over too many and too long meetings. • Symptoms: • Micro-management; Lack of mutual trust; Not knowing team/project state causes anxiety • Solution: • Given that human brain mapping capability is spatial, persistent & tactile; a better materialization of this state is helpful. Team room can be remedy for underlying trust factor. Team room enables transparent view of all agile artifacts to all team members and stakeholders. Large companies create “model team-room“- not just a small “lean startup” aspect anymore! Geo-distribution is possible with video conferencing, wikis for shared editing • Team room is also a multi-purpose room where gamestorming supplements brainstorming; besides teams highlighting their impediments / blockers / obstacles. Visit team-room for demos & examples of how distributed teams collaborate with product managers/owners, leads & scrum masters.
  42. 42. 42 • What’s typical engineering dilemma? • Managers (Functional & PMO) chase engineers on talks all the time • What’s the pitfall? • Productivity & quality at stake, resulting in rework • What’s the rescue situation? • Managers should let go (control): enable self-organizing teams by creating team rooms • How to avoid the pitfall • Enable team to have generalists so as to self-assign work with no pressure from “seagulls”. Let’s talk about “How?” • Team formation guidance: • Promote team room based collaboration, create culture of co-location • Form teams around portfolio/product level feature teams instead of component teams • Managers should train/mentor/coach team members so that they become generalists • Empower teams to become self-organizing “nirvana” state- by giving them your office for teamwork! • Engineers should collaborate in those “transient” team rooms for daily standups in front of task boards • Scrum Masters & POs should collaborate for obstacle removal in front of obstacle boards
  43. 43. What “fruits” (or questions) do you want to add? Workshop “product tree” has roots based on agile/scrum values: Focus, Commitment, Respect, Openness and…Courage
  44. 44. 44 • Managers • Teams
  45. 45. 45 • How to empower feature teams to make decisions without continuous oversight by us? • How to create feature teams without enough PdM, Architect & UE lead in xyz location? • Team is not documenting their software when “swarming” during iterative development, beyond generating API docs. We expect SFS instead, and sometime end up thinking “the agile manifesto about ‘working software over documentation’ is wrong”. • How do we share engineers across programs to stay within budget? • How do we prioritize new features vs. retiring “technical debt”(recapitalization of core functionality to modernize it)? • In exec leadership workshop, one senior exec states the importance of stage-gates during iterative development, but there are very few in the audience that can smell scrum-but here. What would you do to get the crowd on track otherwise? You are up against crowd wisdom now. • How would you convince BU execs that their first agile experience will be not so pleasant? How will you mentor senior execs who tell you they will not (want to) fail at any cost?
  46. 46. 46 • How do newbie scrum Teams adopt swarming behavior? How do we create “servant leader” out of a commanding officer (functional/PMO manager) causing that? • UE designer feels left out as her voices are not heard by marketing. She feels that she has better vision than the product manager/owner who is completely ignorant of UE research and usability. How do you make the UE work with marketing? • A scrum team wants to do planning poker based sizing during release planning. They want to size vertically sliced stories that have dependencies on external (waterfall) team. How should they size such stories? • A team currently maintains bugs in defect backlog. What is the correct Agile way to go about assigning and fixing bugs? This is considered technical debt to an extent, but some of these bugs are also minor features. Do we need a technical bug-fixing sprint or do we fix these bugs as we go about implementing user stories with a reduced velocity? • Testing user stories as they are completed - how is this handled when there are a set of user stories that need to be tested together due to dependencies. Several Defects in the backlog and there is a minimal set of features needed to release - how does this affect timelines? • To be agile, are daily code deployments a must? With weekly deployment, we can't react to re-testing fast enough which is the general approach in waterfall. Sprint completion gets delayed because of larger defect fixes that can't be done within the sprint period - how would this be handled? • Multiple people with similar roles on the project team. Who's the key decision maker in the Agile team for scope decisions? Place for team members in external teams who aren't part of the Agile team. Best practices for stakeholder management. Any best practices for teams that are not co-located and keeping agile? • Are there approaches where sprints happen in parallel or overlap. What are the drawbacks?