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#leanagileus@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 1
Boosting Agility
by Scaling Your Decision-Making
Julia Wester
Principal Consultant at Lagom Solutions
Blogger at EverydayKanban.com
Agility
the power of moving quickly
 and easily; nimbleness
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 2 #leanagileus
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 3 #leanagileus
It is not the strongest of the
species that survives, nor the
most intelligent, but the one
most responsive to change.
Charles Darwin, 1809
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 4 #leanagileus
#leanagileus@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 5
Adapted from Stephen Bungay’s
“The Art of Action”
Outcomes
Actions Plans
What We Think Will Happen
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 6 #leanagileus
Image: padraicino.com (2014)
But, Human Systems are Complex
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 7 #leanagileus
The very business of getting an organization made
up of individuals, no matter how disciplined, to
pursue a collective goal produces friction just as
surely as applying the brakes of a car.
Stephen Bungay, Art of Action
#leanagileus@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 8
Changing
Environment
Complex
Environment
Emotion
& Stress
Personal
Interests
Different
Agendas
External
Actors
Choice
Lack of
Data
Noise
Misunderstandings
Different
Interpretations
Different
Priorities
Independent
Wills
Unpredictable
Events
Imperfect
Information
Imperfect
Information Transfer
Limited
Knowledge
Independent
Agents
Human
Finitude
Causes
of Friction
ExternalFactors
InternalFactors
#leanagileus@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 9
Adapted from Stephen Bungay’s
“The Art of Action”
Outcomes
PlansActions
Failure to Execute
!
Inherent Human
Limitations
!
Uncertain
environment
!
The Complex Truth
Knowledge Gap
Difference between what we
would like to know and what
we actually know
Effects Gap
Difference between what we
expect our actions to achieve
and what they actually achieve
The 3 Gaps
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom
10
#leanagileus
Adapted from Stephen Bungay’s
“The Art of Action”
Outcomes
PlansActions
!
! !
Alignment Gap
Difference between what we want
people to do and what they actually do
Outcomes
Plans
Effects Gap Knowledge Gap
Alignment Gap
Actions
Outcomes
Plans
Effects Gap Knowledge Gap
Alignment Gap
Actions
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 11
Two approaches to getting things done
#leanagileus
more detailed
controls
more detailed
information
more detailed
instructions
freedom to adjust
actions
limit instruction,
give intent
allow levels to decide
& back brief
Instruction Direction
Leader - Follower Leader - Leader
Can instruction
ever work?
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 12 #leanagileus
Yes, in the right
context
Dave Snowden, released under CC BY 3.0
Instruction
Direction
Cynefin: a sense-making framework
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 13 #leanagileus
Image: ohmygodlife.com
The Vicious Cycle
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 14 #leanagileus
Getting It Right
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 15 #leanagileus
Bridging the Gaps
with Intent
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 16 #leanagileus
If a problem is widespread and enduring, its
origins are likely to be deep-seated.
Stephen Bungay, Art of Action
The solution is therefore unlikely to be a quick fix or
something new to add to what we do already.
It is likely to be something fundamental, which involves
changing what we do already.
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 17 #leanagileus
Leaders, are you willing to
1. Prioritize (I mean really prioritize)
2. Let others make decisions?
3. Be accountable for others’ decisions?
4. Back off, but stay close for support?
5. Stick with it when it gets tough (long-
term over short term).
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 18 #leanagileus
Workers, are you willing to
1. Make decisions and assume
responsibility for them.
2. Critically assess the way things are done
3. Communicate intent, often
4. Speak up when you see problems
5. Work on things that matter
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 19 #leanagileus
Flickr: B4bees - CCby2.0
What keeps us from giving away or taking control?
Turn to your neighbor and discuss (2 minutes)
Leader
Worker
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 20 #leanagileus
Leader
Worker
Intent-Based Leadership Requires Bi-Directional Trust
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 21 #leanagileus
How much control
should be given?
https://www.davidmarquet.com/2017/05/24/leadership-nudge-got-frustration/
Intent-Based Leadership
The Basic Steps
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 22 #leanagileus
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 23 #leanagileus
Leader: Decide What Matters
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 24 #leanagileus
Leader: Get the
Message Across
Via a Brief
Context
What triggered this need?
What is the situation?
Intent
Short statement of task and its
purpose
Higher Intent
How does this tie into intent from
1-2 levels up?
Implied Tasks
Obvious tasks that need
to be done. Keep it
minimal.
Boundaries, Freedoms
& Anti-Goals
Known constraints,
conditions to avoid,
potential future decisions
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom
The Plan
Actions team will take that should
achieve outcomes
How team will monitor success to
determine if course correction is
needed
25 #leanagileus
Worker: Listen, Process, & Respond via a Backbrief
Context
What triggered this need?
What is the situation?
Intent
Short statement of task and its
purpose
Higher Intent
How does this tie into intent from
1-2 levels up?
Implied Tasks
Obvious tasks that need
to be done. Keep it
minimal.
Boundaries, Freedoms
& Anti-Goals
Known constraints,
conditions to avoid,
potential future decisions
Team Needed
People / Skills Needed
Worker: Keep Lines of Communication Open
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 26 #leanagileus
Leader: Give People Space and Support
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 27 #leanagileus
Worker: Reflect and Adapt As You Go
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 28 #leanagileus
Outcomes
PlansActions
!
! !
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 29 #leanagileus
Cascading intent fosters agility
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 30 #leanagileus
Ignoring Conflicting MetricsPunishing Good Intentions
Common Mistakes to Watch Out For
Getting Started
What to do next!
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 31 #leanagileus
Assess if you and your team are ready, willing and able.
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 32 #leanagileus
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 33 #leanagileus
Choose a decision to start with
@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 34 #leanagileus
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Boosting Agility by Distributing Decision-Making

  • 1. #leanagileus@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 1 Boosting Agility by Scaling Your Decision-Making Julia Wester Principal Consultant at Lagom Solutions Blogger at EverydayKanban.com
  • 3. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 3 #leanagileus It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin, 1809
  • 5. #leanagileus@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 5 Adapted from Stephen Bungay’s “The Art of Action” Outcomes Actions Plans What We Think Will Happen
  • 6. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 6 #leanagileus Image: padraicino.com (2014) But, Human Systems are Complex
  • 7. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 7 #leanagileus The very business of getting an organization made up of individuals, no matter how disciplined, to pursue a collective goal produces friction just as surely as applying the brakes of a car. Stephen Bungay, Art of Action
  • 8. #leanagileus@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 8 Changing Environment Complex Environment Emotion & Stress Personal Interests Different Agendas External Actors Choice Lack of Data Noise Misunderstandings Different Interpretations Different Priorities Independent Wills Unpredictable Events Imperfect Information Imperfect Information Transfer Limited Knowledge Independent Agents Human Finitude Causes of Friction ExternalFactors InternalFactors
  • 9. #leanagileus@everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 9 Adapted from Stephen Bungay’s “The Art of Action” Outcomes PlansActions Failure to Execute ! Inherent Human Limitations ! Uncertain environment ! The Complex Truth
  • 10. Knowledge Gap Difference between what we would like to know and what we actually know Effects Gap Difference between what we expect our actions to achieve and what they actually achieve The 3 Gaps @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 10 #leanagileus Adapted from Stephen Bungay’s “The Art of Action” Outcomes PlansActions ! ! ! Alignment Gap Difference between what we want people to do and what they actually do
  • 11. Outcomes Plans Effects Gap Knowledge Gap Alignment Gap Actions Outcomes Plans Effects Gap Knowledge Gap Alignment Gap Actions @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 11 Two approaches to getting things done #leanagileus more detailed controls more detailed information more detailed instructions freedom to adjust actions limit instruction, give intent allow levels to decide & back brief Instruction Direction Leader - Follower Leader - Leader
  • 12. Can instruction ever work? @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 12 #leanagileus Yes, in the right context Dave Snowden, released under CC BY 3.0 Instruction Direction Cynefin: a sense-making framework
  • 13. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 13 #leanagileus Image: ohmygodlife.com The Vicious Cycle
  • 14. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 14 #leanagileus Getting It Right
  • 15. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 15 #leanagileus Bridging the Gaps with Intent
  • 16. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 16 #leanagileus If a problem is widespread and enduring, its origins are likely to be deep-seated. Stephen Bungay, Art of Action The solution is therefore unlikely to be a quick fix or something new to add to what we do already. It is likely to be something fundamental, which involves changing what we do already.
  • 17. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 17 #leanagileus Leaders, are you willing to 1. Prioritize (I mean really prioritize) 2. Let others make decisions? 3. Be accountable for others’ decisions? 4. Back off, but stay close for support? 5. Stick with it when it gets tough (long- term over short term).
  • 18. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 18 #leanagileus Workers, are you willing to 1. Make decisions and assume responsibility for them. 2. Critically assess the way things are done 3. Communicate intent, often 4. Speak up when you see problems 5. Work on things that matter
  • 19. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 19 #leanagileus Flickr: B4bees - CCby2.0 What keeps us from giving away or taking control? Turn to your neighbor and discuss (2 minutes)
  • 20. Leader Worker @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 20 #leanagileus Leader Worker Intent-Based Leadership Requires Bi-Directional Trust
  • 21. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 21 #leanagileus How much control should be given? https://www.davidmarquet.com/2017/05/24/leadership-nudge-got-frustration/
  • 22. Intent-Based Leadership The Basic Steps @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 22 #leanagileus
  • 23. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 23 #leanagileus Leader: Decide What Matters
  • 24. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 24 #leanagileus Leader: Get the Message Across Via a Brief Context What triggered this need? What is the situation? Intent Short statement of task and its purpose Higher Intent How does this tie into intent from 1-2 levels up? Implied Tasks Obvious tasks that need to be done. Keep it minimal. Boundaries, Freedoms & Anti-Goals Known constraints, conditions to avoid, potential future decisions
  • 25. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom The Plan Actions team will take that should achieve outcomes How team will monitor success to determine if course correction is needed 25 #leanagileus Worker: Listen, Process, & Respond via a Backbrief Context What triggered this need? What is the situation? Intent Short statement of task and its purpose Higher Intent How does this tie into intent from 1-2 levels up? Implied Tasks Obvious tasks that need to be done. Keep it minimal. Boundaries, Freedoms & Anti-Goals Known constraints, conditions to avoid, potential future decisions Team Needed People / Skills Needed
  • 26. Worker: Keep Lines of Communication Open @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 26 #leanagileus Leader: Give People Space and Support
  • 27. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 27 #leanagileus Worker: Reflect and Adapt As You Go
  • 28. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 28 #leanagileus Outcomes PlansActions ! ! !
  • 29. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 29 #leanagileus Cascading intent fosters agility
  • 30. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 30 #leanagileus Ignoring Conflicting MetricsPunishing Good Intentions Common Mistakes to Watch Out For
  • 31. Getting Started What to do next! @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 31 #leanagileus
  • 32. Assess if you and your team are ready, willing and able. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 32 #leanagileus
  • 33. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 33 #leanagileus Choose a decision to start with
  • 34. @everydaykanban | @TeamLagom 34 #leanagileus Resources