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SPaMCAST 513 features a second essay on reciprocity.  One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn is that some people on a team are passengers and others play different, more involved, roles. Being a passenger long-term on a team or in an organization is a form of rent-seeking and is not valued highly by others.

We also have columns from Susan Parente (I Am Not a Scrumdamentalist) and Jeremy Berriault (QA Corner).  Susan provides a spirited discussion of self-directed teams in agile.  It is a myth that agile teams just get to do what they want. One of the places to find Susan is at S3 Technologies, LLC. Rounding out the cast is this month’s installment of the QA Corner.   Jeremy discusses one of thorniest facts of life for a tester — hard deadlines.

Re-Read Saturday News

This week we tackle Chapter 8, titled The Hero In The Age of Checklists.  Heroes are a big deal; pick up any newspaper and you will see how much the cult of hero is celebrated.  Checklists and methods are viewed by many as diminishing the role of the hero which sows the seeds of resistance to change.  What role does the hero play in a disciplined process? If the hero is core to how we view ourselves and our society, do tools like checklists run the risk of being met with hostility?  Chapter 8 dives directly into the deep end to address these topics.

We have two or three more weeks left in this re-read, which means it’s time for the poll.  Vote and be heard! Write in candidates are welcome.

Remember to buy a copy of The Checklist Manifesto and READ along!

Current Installment:

Week 9 – The Hero In The Age of Checklistshttps://bit.ly/2PWu2TC

 

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We are doing something special in SPaMCAST 510.  Over the past couple of years we have talked to Steve Tendon and Wolfram Müller about their book, Hyper-Productive Knowledge Work Performance, The TameFlow Approach and Its Application to Scrum and Kanban. Today as part of our conversation Steve and Wolfram shine a light on some of the finer points in the book! They also share how they became collaborations on the book.  Remember to buy a copy and support the authors and the podcast https://amzn.to/2MOxbXY .  

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https://oembed.libsyn.com/embed?item_id=6969007

SPaMCAST 509 will feature our essay discussing if you can demonstrate incomplete work.  My knee-jerk reaction is no…or maybe heck no, but knee-jerk reactions are not always right.

Blog entries in the what happens to incomplete work theme:

Frequently Asked Questions: The Sprint Is Over, What Do I Do With Incomplete Stories? https://bit.ly/2P9mm09

Frequently Asked Questions: Can I Demo Work That Isn’t Donehttps://bit.ly/2wfJzXv

Frequently Asked Questions: Can I Resize A Story If It Is Harder Than We Thought?https://bit.ly/2MvkB0a

Frequently Asked Questions: When Can I Demo Work That Isn’t Done https://bit.ly/2PCs0Zz  

We will also hear from Gene Hughson (Form Follows Function). Gene talks Architects!  Gene and I discussed his essay, So what exactly does an Architect do? Contact Gene on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/genehughson/

Bringing the cast home this week is Jon M. Quigley.  Jon brings his marvelous Alpha and Omega of Product Development to the cast this week in order to discuss the root cause analysis. Process improvement is most effective when we diagnose the real problem rather than just a symptom.

Re-Read Saturday News

In week 5 of re-read of The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande (use the link and buy a copy so you can read along) we tackle Chapter 4, The Idea. In Chapter 4 Gawande shows how checklists can help push decision-making outward, which empowers teams and makes them more responsive.

Current Installment:

Week 5 – The Ideahttps://bit.ly/2PCs0Zz (more…)

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SPaMCAST 505 features our recent essay titled, Coaching: Six Modes of OperationOn the surface, coaching is a fairly simple role. A coach has six basic modes of operation.  But…if you peel back the layers just a little bit you will find that coaching is part art and part science.

In the second spot of this week’s magazine have the penultimate session of our read of Steve Tendon and Wolfram Müller’s Hyper-Productive Knowledge Work Performance, The TameFlow Approach.  

I have moved things around a bit and complete this edition of the SPaMCAST with an essay on servant leadership from the Software Sensei, Kim Pries.  Regardless of how you define servant leadership, I think we would all agree that good leadership is critical.

Re-Read Saturday News

This week we begin the read of The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande (use the link and buy a copy so you can read along). The version of the book we are reading is published by Metropolitan Books, 2009 and is the 22nd printing. The book has nine chapters and with acknowledgments has 209 pages. My reading plan is one chapter per week, therefore, the re-read will span 11 weeks.  

 

Current Installment:

Week 1 – Approach and Introductionhttps://bit.ly/2LYi9Lv

 

Next SPaMCAST

SPaMCAST 506 will feature our interview with Mark Kilby.  Mark and I discussed agile in distributed environments. Agile in distributed environments is doable but it isn’t easy, Mark provides guidance and advice.

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SPaMCAST 499 will feature our essay on trust and coaching. Coaches are among most effective tools used to help teams improve. In SPaMCAST 496 – Sam Laing I highlighted the need for trust between a coach and the team or person they are coaching. Without trust, a coach will not be very effective.  Two powerful and related tools!

In the rocker as they call it stock car racing is Wolfram Müller. Wolfram co-authored Hyper-Productive Knowledge Work Performance, The TameFlow Approach with Steve Tendon.  We talk about Chapter 23 titled Reliable Scrum and Reliable Kanban. Wolfram can be found on LinkedIn at https://bit.ly/2qXvgnw

Anchoring the cast is the Software Sensei, Kim Pries.  Kim discusses software safety. Tools and software languages can have a major impact on software safety and all of our lives depend on software these days!

Re-Read Saturday News

In week 14 of our re-read of L. David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around!  we begin Part IV of Turn The Ship Around and tackle chapter 21. The first three parts of the book bring the story to the beginning of deployment of the Santa Fe.  Part IV picks up from that point! (more…)

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SPaMCAST 495 features our essay titled, The Definition of Done: Simplicity and Complexity Revisited. The Definition of Done is an important agile technique to help teams plan and execute work. The simplest definition of the Definition of Done is the criteria that a work product must meet to be considered to be complete. While the concept is simple, the implementation of the technique in the real world is rarely simple. Both context and interpretations make things just a bit gray!

Our second column features Jon Quigley’s column, The Alpha and Omega of Product Development. In this installment Jon and I discussed Muda, waste, and whether failed innovations are waste.

Kim Pries, the Software Sensei, contributes his essay Kanban to the Kanban Power.  Kim talks about using kanban to guide and control work both in the workplace and at home.  

Re-Read Saturday News

In week ten of the re-read of L. David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around!  (Buy Your Copy Now) we add two more mechanisms for control and complete part two of the book.  This week the two chapters are A New Ship and We Have A Problem.

Current Installment:

Week 10: A New Ship and We Have A Problemhttps://bit.ly/2IUJ6RL (more…)

A Beer, A Dessert or Both!

Kaizen covers a wide range of activities. Anchoring the two ends of the range are the two core types of kaizen: flow and process kaizen. The Gemba Academy calls these two types of kaizen, point and system kaizen. For the sake of simplicity, because the word process is used more broadly in process improvement we will use the terms point and system. System kaizen relates to studying and changing how materials or information move through an organization. Refining or rearranging the flow of a system can require the reorganizing of a whole organization. System kaizen delivers more wide-ranging value, but is rarer than point kaizen. Point kaizen focuses on changing the specific day-to-day activities performed by people or machines. In manufacturing terms, point kaizen changes work stands or workstations. Point kaizen, often shortened simply to kaizen, refers to small-scale continuous changes that are an important part of continuous process improvement programs. Both types of changes are typically required to generate sustainable discontinuous changes within an organization needed to address a dynamic world. The characteristics of the two extremes of the kaizen continuum help to illuminate their individual and joint usage.

 

Point or Process Kaizen Flow or System Kaizen
Process Focus System Focus
Workcell Impact Organizational Impact
Incremental Change Discontinuous Change
Discrete from Other Kaizen Events Group of Interrelated Events
Reactive Proactive

Focusing on a specific process, task or activity is both a strength and a weakness for point kaizen. The rigorous focus of point kaizen is very similar to use of timeboxes in agile. The use of a specifically focused event is useful to break through analysis paralysis.  The short focused nature of kaizen events remind the participants that they must deliver value quickly. The downside is that incrementalism can lead to local optimization (optimizing a step at the expense of the overall system). A retrospective is a close cousin to a very short point kaizen event.

System kaizen requires taking a system thinking point of view. Practitioners of system kaizen will need to develop a vision of the future state vision for the whole organization, leveraging concepts like value stream maps. Systems kaizen identifies areas to use process kaizen (but rarely the other way around). Executing system level kaizen requires long-term coordination of multiple interrelated kaizen events.

Regardless of which type of approach, the goal of any kaizen is to identify changes that make the organization better. One metric of successful change is the impact on the bottom line. Regardless of initial success and celebration, change must be sustainable to be truly successful. You must consider the impact on the value stream and business value when evaluating the effectiveness of a kaizen event. The impact of change events, especially those not connected to an overall vision can often be fleeting. Fleeting equates to rapid incremental change followed by equally fast memory loss when the next new idea for change is identified. Point kaizen coordinated by system kaizen delivers more coordinated value than incremental change alone.