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Victoria Morgan-Smith - Cracking the WIP AITC 2017

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This is the talk given at Agile in the City London 2017.

It looks at how the notion of limiting work in progress is perhaps counter-intuitive. Many people who seek project management and work management training from me ask how they can get better at multi-tasking. But is this even the right question?!

Rather than simply telling the room about the benefits of limited WIP, it's far more fun and effective to witness it! The live session involves 2 volunteers joining me in a light-hearted demonstration of 2 possible scenarios, followed by a discussion with the room on the lessons to be learnt from what they've just seen.

This is a refreshing take on an important topic. Participants leave the room armed with a full appreciation of why flow matters, and the impact of batch-sizing and WIP limits on that flow. Additionally, they'll be equipped with a very simple way to explain this to others in a language that makes as much sense as the instinct to multi-task!

  • Thanks Victoria for giving this presentation at #AOTB 2018 - could you send me a copy of the instructions you gave the 2 volunteers Clare and Nitin at the start? I would like to run this as a retrospective exercise. nick.henson@hotmail.co.uk @agile_nick
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Victoria Morgan-Smith - Cracking the WIP AITC 2017

  1. 1. Cracking the WIP Victoria Morgan-Smith @VictoriaJMS
  2. 2. About Victoria Delivery Coach, Financial Times @VictoriaJMS
  3. 3. Agenda ❖Enactment! ❖Discussion ➢ 1. Time ➢ 2. Complexity & Risk ➢ 3. Feedback Loops ➢ 4. Measuring delivery ➢ 5. The Experience ❖Further reading / Close
  4. 4. We all know the costs of Context Switching...
  5. 5. We all know the costs of Context Switching... ❖ But are there other costs of a high Work In Progress? ❖ Why is it important to limit WIP? ❖ Is it important at all to limit WIP, or is it all a myth? Let these two people show you:
  6. 6. Let’s discuss….
  7. 7. 1.What was the effect on time?
  8. 8. Little’s Law L = average number of customers λ = customers’ average arrival rate W = average time customers spend at the business
  9. 9. Applied to Kanban WIP = Throughput * Cycle Time Q: So how long does it take to consume 1 of my 6 marshmallows? A: It depends on how many you’re eating at once WIP / Throughput = Cycle Time ❖6 / 6 = 1 minute ❖1 / 6 = 10 seconds
  10. 10. More on Little’s Law… David Lowe – At The Drive Thru - A brilliant illustration Eliyahu Goldratt - The Goal - The effects of adding variability Daniel Vacanti – Little’s Flaw - If you lurve metrics!
  11. 11. What else could be observed?
  12. 12. 2. Complexity & Risk Minutes
  13. 13. 2. Complexity & Risk Minutes ● What could have gone wrong here? ○ How would they each have responded? ● What risks do you associate with working through a big job? ○ How would they have been handled differently?
  14. 14. 2. Complexity & Risk Localise problems What if they hiccup?
  15. 15. Keep your problems small
  16. 16. What happens when the problem gets bigger?
  17. 17. 2. Complexity & Risk - Localise problems - What if they hiccupped? - Reduce the pain of release - It’s much easier when there’s less to swallow
  18. 18. Not so chubby cheeks... ✓
  19. 19. Reduce complexity
  20. 20. Everything-as-a service...
  21. 21. 2. Complexity & Risk - Localise problems - What if they hiccupped? - Reduce the pain of release - It’s much easier when there’s less to swallow - Smaller cost of delay - Don’t keep those tummies waiting!
  22. 22. “If you only quantify one thing, quantify cost of delay” - Donald G. Reinertsen
  23. 23. 3. Feedback Loops Minutes
  24. 24. 3. Feedback Loops Minutes ● What was different here? ● What are the sources of feedback for a team? ● When do they get those chances here?
  25. 25. 3. Feedback Loops Detect Defects Quicker What if there was something weird and crunchy?
  26. 26. Avoid building on top of your mistakes
  27. 27. Benefits of Small Batch Testing - Donald G. Reinertsen
  28. 28. - Detect Defects Quicker - What if there was something weird and crunchy? - Faster Feedback from the customer - What if their tummy rejected it? 3. Feedback Loops
  29. 29. Sometimes our products will be rejected...
  30. 30. 3. Feedback Loops - Detect Defects Quicker - What if there was something weird and crunchy? - Faster Feedback from the customer - What if their tummy rejected it? - Responsive to change - What if we wanted to change the priority?
  31. 31. Respond to new information
  32. 32. 4. Can we measure our delivery? Minutes
  33. 33. 4. Can we measure our delivery? Minutes ● Which method delivered value more quickly? ○ How do you know? ● Could you predict when they’d be finished? ○ Or when they’d met their customer need?
  34. 34. 4. Can we measure our delivery? - Deliver value early - Do these marshmallows still appeal?
  35. 35. 4. Can we measure our delivery? - Deliver value early - Do these marshmallows still appeal? - Estimation - Just how big a job is it to eat marshmallows?
  36. 36. Cone of Uncertainty
  37. 37. 4. Can we measure our delivery? - Smaller cost of delay - Don’t keep those tummies waiting! - Estimation - Just how big a job is it to eat marshmallows? - Appetite - How much is enough?
  38. 38. Just Enough is Good Enough Simplicity - the art of maximising the amount of work not done - is essential
  39. 39. 5. How does it feel to work this way? Minutes
  40. 40. 5. How does it feel to work this way? Minutes What would be the experience of working in these two ways?
  41. 41. 5. How does it feel to work this way? - Achievement - Ultimately much more satisfying
  42. 42. Getting stuff done is motivating
  43. 43. 5. How does it feel to work this way? - Achievement - Ultimately much more satisfying - Less stressful - Being in control of your own pace
  44. 44. • Inability to focus on tasks • Ability to process information - existing and learned - and apply to problem solving • Reduction in work quality • Defensive behaviour, clashes with colleagues • Physical illness, absenteeism Effects of stress
  45. 45. Agile processes promote sustainable development
  46. 46. 5. How does it feel to work this way? - Achievement - Ultimately much more satisfying - Less stressful - Being in control of your own pace - Trigger workflow improvements - What if this is only one step, and we really need to do it faster?
  47. 47. Kanban principles - Buy One Get One Free Make policies explicit Limit the WIP Improve Collaboratively Manage Flow Visualise the workflow
  48. 48. So, does Limiting WIP Matter?
  49. 49. So, does Limiting WIP Matter?
  50. 50. So, does Limiting WIP Matter? ● Waste less time ● Reduce Complexity & Risk ● Shorten Feedback Loops ● Deliver Value faster - and measure it ● Reduce Stress
  51. 51. Thankyou! Victoria Morgan-Smith - Delivery Coach@VictoriaJMS
  52. 52. References • The Goal - Eliyahu Goldratt & Jeff Cox • LKCE12: Daniel Vacanti, Little’s Flaw • WIP: why limiting work in progress makes sense (Kanban) - David Lowe • The Principles of Product Development FLOW - Donald G. Reinertsen • The Lean Startup - Eric Ries • Continuous Delivery - Jez Humble & David Farley • Get a Grip!: Overcoming Stress and Thriving in the Workplace - Bob Losvyk

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