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Change Lessons Learned - Implementing a Kanban System for Enterprise Agility


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Continuous Improvements is the goal dear to everyone however traditionally governed organisations struggle to achieve meaningful enterprise wide improvement due to cultural and structural constraints. Often top down change initiatives and projects are launched with grand improvement goals without understanding the constraints of the existing system and implications for the wider organisation.

In this case study based presentation I want to share the experience of designing and implementing a Continuous Improvements program at one of the major utility company within Melbourne. This program has disrupted the way people do their work.

Eight business units and 7 IT delivery groups linked to this new system to do their work in a collaborative and transparent manner, thus increasing the trust between business and IT. Within first 4 months of introduction, this program reduced a growing backlog of IT wide system change requests by 70%.

This program is now being operationalised within the organisation while providing many learnings for the management and opening new management possibilities for future.

Published in: Engineering
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Change Lessons Learned - Implementing a Kanban System for Enterprise Agility

  1. 1. Change Lessons Learned Design and Implementation of a Kanban system for Enterprise Agility Shoaib Shaukat @shoaibshaukat Change is the end result of all true learning. Leo Buscaglia
  2. 2. Lean Kanban Leadership Retreat – Bali 2016 About Me | Lean Agile & Kanban Coachand Management Consultant | Shoaib Shaukat
  3. 3. Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking
  4. 4. Company Competitors Customers Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking Large Energy Distributor in Victoria is looking to achieve Enterprise Agility within IT and Business
  5. 5. • Lack of Process Transparency • Low Decision Making (Priority of work) • Waterfall/Prince2 process • Automated systems/rigid processes • Lot of WIP clogging the teams • Push driven (fungible resource mindset) • 2500+ employees • Lack of big picture understanding • Low Commitment • Low Accountability • Functional/Siloed • Leadership hierarchy • Cost & Efficiency driven • Central Customer services model Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking Structures Processes People Industry • Energy distribution • Regulated by Govt. • Facing technology disruption from battery storage • Low commercial focus
  6. 6. So what business was saying about IT … Perceptions Lack of visibility in IT processes IT not taking ownership of issues or changes or outcomes Stagnation of system once project has been finished Slowness due to cost recovery processes -> reducing flexibility, agility, responsiveness Business Needs Leadership Faster delivery Customer centric & responsive Transparency & Visibility Agile and flexible Collaborative Value adding Ownership and accountability Innovative Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking
  7. 7. Organization is a social and interaction space – very difficult to change large organisations To foment change all of this needs to be changed: People, Process, Culture Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking Courtesy: Linda Rising
  8. 8. Implementing processes is all about shaping behavior • The traditional view is that by defining processes you can control peoples behavior, but it is actually the other way around. • Organization's processes and practices are an outcome of people's thinking and behavior. Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking
  9. 9. Predictability Adaptability Emergence Convergence AEPE PC AC Ad-Hoc Lean/Agile Agile Lean Startup Teams Low Trust Become Predictable Reduce Batch Size Fully Decouple Phase One Phase Three Phase Four Phase Two Phase Five Phase Five • Invest to Learn Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking Phase Four • Increase Local Autonomy Phase Three • Break Dependencies Phase One • Stabilize the System Phase Two • Reduce Batch Size
  10. 10. • Every team will be an expedition team with their own experience and culture • Focus on the governance, empower the teams and promote shared values • Every team will travel at own pace depending upon the luggage they carry on path to Agility Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking Transformation: Expedition Approach – Know your trek
  11. 11. Transformation: Change Adoption curve Innovators – 2.5% This is new – so it’s cool! Early adopters – 13.5% It’s interesting but I want to learn more. Early majority – 34% I want to know what other people think. Late majority – 34% If I have to – I guess. Laggards – 16% We have always done it this way. Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking Courtesy: Linda Rising
  12. 12. Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking • Enterprise wide system change requests including small to large changes. • Lack of business engagement • Lack of accountability on part of teams • Highly dissatisfied business stake holders • Backlog grown to > 800 outstanding issues • ~ 80 new feature/change requests every month Transformation: Pick a high visibility problem with enterprise wide impact Case Study
  13. 13. Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking Questions: • Where to locate this new project team? • Where is the product owner? • Scrum needs all the roles co-located Decisions Kanban is the humane “start with what you do now” approach to change Transparency Balance Respect Understanding Collaboration Customer focus Agreement Leadership
  14. 14. Achieving Depth of Kanban (Practices) Visualise Limit WIP Manage Flow Make Policies Explicit Implement Feedback Loop Improve Collaboratively, Evolve Experimentally Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking
  15. 15. Improve Collaboratively – Evolve Experimentally • Building a Governance team (initially Business Partnership Managers)and expanding to include the IT Group Managers (influential coalition) • Identify Business Managers (Finance, Strategy, HR, Legal, Electricity Networks, Services, Customer group etc.) who could prioritise or influence they teams • Identified process champions from Application teams and Business teams. • Approaches • Carrot & Stick • Experimentation • Coaching & Mentoring Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking
  16. 16. Transparency provides management control with less overhead Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking Visualise Portfolio Wall • Provides clarity and sense of achieving it creates motivation (ZeigarmikEffect) • Positive feedback from your peers re-enforces the behaviour • Also helps us to see problem(s) and do somethingabout them
  17. 17. Visualization accelerates learning and the ability to prioritise Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking
  18. 18. Improved Decision Making • Created pipelines of work by business units • Prioritise (based on Value) collaboratively with business stake holders at wall every fortnight • Working with Delivery teams to Estimate (Effort) the prioritised backlog every fortnight • Simple T-Shirt Sizes (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) for Value and Effort • Rank = Value / Effort (WSJF) • Setting the rules of engagement • Every team will only work from a prioritised backlog etc. Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking
  19. 19. Turn the focus on finishing and delivering work. • Easy with some teams vs others (on going coaching) • Educating the business is a continuous effort Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking
  20. 20. Make Policies Explicit • Classes of service (standardising types of requests) • Prioritisation policies for business units e.g. Regulatory, Strategic, BAU etc. • Introducing fast lane (Super highway) for urgent requests with agreement • Simplify accounting practices Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking
  21. 21. Implement Feedback loops • Monitor Balance (Story/Issue counts – CFDs) • Regular showcases • Team retrospectives • Release showcases • Joint planning sessions with Business & IT teams Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking
  22. 22. Achieving Results • A renewed focus on making the work visible and prioritised helped the same teams to become more productive. • Backlog of 800 items was reduced to < 350 within 4 months of the introduction of new process. • This was despite the fact that new issues were coming at the same rate ~ 80 per month. Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking
  23. 23. • An expedition approach for agile transformation is required – acknowledge different teams will adopt agile at their own pace. • Organisations are too difficult to change – establishing a long term goal at start but be prepared to adapt and set short term goals. • Use change adoption curve to your benefit – move people towards the innovators group. • Focus on people to change the mindsets & beliefs. • Use process as a tool to shape behaviours not to control people. • Use depth of Kanban process to improve your system. • Collaborate at all levels and build coalitions to make the change happen and take roots. Learnings: Sustaining long term change … Context ImplementSituation LearningThinking