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Growing Your Discovery Mindset

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One of the distinctive traits of Agile is that of being an empirical method of "discovery" –– which is, in turn, a fundamental element of business innovation, be it of a product, of a part of it, or of an entire business model.

When we are in "discovery mode", a high degree of uncertainty is inevitable and that's why many of the Agile practices are designed to provide us with rich and frequent feedback about the decisions we make.

While understanding the practices is important, even more important is to understand the mindset by which, in a business context, we face and deal with uncertainty and innovation in a smart and effective way.

If this mindset eludes us, Agile can easily be understood and applied just as one more project management approach, and we lose its real business value.

In this session we'll talk about what it means to practice "discovery" and about the conceptual tools that modern Agile managers and leaders have available to do that.

But more than anything else, we'll talk about growing a kind of mindset, both on the job and in our daily life, that will help us use those conceptual tools effectively, and why that's as least as important for our business as the Agile practices and principles are.

Finally, we will see and discuss a framework based on the Discovery, Execution and Optimization phases of a business model. We'll see where Agile and Lean fit in that framework and how misunderstanding their correct place lead to many common anti-patterns in Agile adoptions.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Growing Your Discovery Mindset

  1. 1. Copyright © Andrea Provaglio GROWING YOUR DISCOVERY MINDSET Andrea Provaglio @andreaprovaglio
  2. 2. What I Do I help IT organizations to find and implement better ways of doing business. I coach leaders, teams, and managers who want to improve technically and relationally. In 20+ years in IT, I had clients in three continents and a U.S. work visa for “extraordinary abilities in Sciences”.
  3. 3. My Goal #1 Comprehensive View
  4. 4. My Goal #2 Clarify
  5. 5. My Goal #3 Things you can do
  6. 6. The Context
  7. 7. Discover Optimize Execute Invalid Hypotheses Validated Hypotheses Profitable Repeatable Released Resources Scalability Increased Margins Business Model Innovate
  8. 8. Business KPIs • Customer Acquisition Cost • Monthly Burn-down Rate • Viral Coefficient • etc... • Cost Reduction • Increased Efficiency • etc... • Cash flow, balance sheets • Production and quality metrics • etc...
  9. 9. Product Development Discover Optimize Execute
  10. 10. From ProductsTo Projects Product Latin pro-ducere: “To pull forward” Project Latin pro-jacere: “To throw forward” A transition or state change.
  11. 11. Limit WIP Address root problems (A3) System thinking Manage Queues Practices, Methods Agile (circa 2000) TPS/Lean (circa 1990) Iterations Rich feedback Validate hypotheses Prioritize by “value” Visual feedback Respect people Visual workflow PM (circa 1960) Waterfall (circa 1970) Planning Monitoring Processes True Product Ownership Many orgs stop here
  12. 12. Attitudes Explore Analyze Control
  13. 13. Mind States and Emotions Curiosity Excitement Anxiety Fear Attention to details Monitor Correlate Cause and Effect Govern Impose Logical Thinking
  14. 14. It's All Connected Business Model KPIs Methods MindsetsPractices Attitudes
  15. 15. The Discovery Mindset
  16. 16. UNCERTAINTY “A state of having limited knowledge where it is impossible to exactly describe the existing state, a future outcome, or more than one possible outcome.”
  17. 17. Uncertainty Is Inevitable “A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them.”
  18. 18. And So Is Making Mistakes "We aim to make mistakes faster than anyone else." -- Daniel Ek, Spotify’s founder
  19. 19. Reluctance to Uncertainty •WaterScrumFall •Agile Waterfall •ScrumBut •Project Owners An inconsistent mindset can have some interesting effects, including:
  20. 20. Things You Can Do
  21. 21. Intellectual and Emotional Awareness Structural and Contextual
  22. 22. Allow a Space for Discovery “Healthy organizations know that they have to allow people to fail without assessing blame.” “The principal resource needed for invention is slack. When companies can’t invent, it’s usually because their people are too damn busy.” Tom Demarco – “Slack”
  23. 23. UnderstandValue and Cost
  24. 24. Use PracticesTo Create Options Impact Mapping Gojko Adzic
  25. 25. Use PracticesTo Create Options Popcorn Flow Claudio Perrone
  26. 26. Align Culture with Practice Who Why How What When and Where Identity Values Skills Behavior Context Robert Dilts' Logical Levels
  27. 27. An Analysis of Spotify’s Discovery Culture We are brave explorers of our business domain. We value learning and not blaming for mistakes. We understand empiricism, so we get rich feedback from fail-safe experiments in small, well-supported, self- organized tech teams. Identity Values Skills Behavior Context "We aim to make mistakes faster than anyone else."
  28. 28. Exercise Discovery InYour Daily Life What could you do everyday to learn faster and to be smarter when dealing with uncertainty? • perception/assessment of Risk • perception/assessment of Value • creating/managing Options
  29. 29. Let's Wrap It Up ✓Discovery, Execution and Optimization are distinct phases, each with its own practices and mindsets ✓Discovery is associated with Agile, innovation, empiricism and uncertainty ✓Develop courage and use wiser ways to deal with uncertainty to benefit from Discovery
  30. 30. ThankYou! Keep in touch! http:// andreaprovaglio.com LinkedIn Twitter Slideshare Also on: Click here!

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