Book cover: Tame your Work Flow
Tame your Work Flow

We began our re-read of Tame your Work Flow by Steve Tendon and Daniel Doiron, on Saturday, May 23rd. The world has changed a lot as we worked our way through the book. However, there are important ideas in this book that are far less transitory than the changes we’ve seen in 2020 will be. One of those ideas is finding the constraint in complex, messy workflows. They even add an acronym for this scenario to our alphabet soup vocabulary – PEST. In the messy real-world Steve and Daniel describe how to identify the constraint and then track it as it moves around. This is the difference between understanding flow in theory and doing something about it in practice. I used this approach twice just this week.  Another great and useful idea is the concept of full-kitting. I gauge the value of this kind of book by whether I can use the material and whether it makes me think. I have been able to use these concepts and more in my consulting practice since my first read of the book. The second time through, this re-read, has only deepened my understanding and appreciation of the ideas in TameFlow.

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Book cover: Tame your Work Flow
Tame your Work Flow

Today we tackle the whole of Part 7 which is Chapter 21 and the Epilogue.  Next week we will complete our re-read of Tame Your Work Flow with concluding remarks.  On November 28th we will kick off our re-read of Great Big Agile.

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Book cover: Tame your Work Flow
Tame your Work Flow

This week we tackle Chapter 19 of Steve Tendon and Daniel Doiron’s  Tame your Work Flow.  Chapter 19 combines many of the moving parts from the previous chapters into a set of tools for monitoring the execution of work.  The authors pick up at the portfolio level developed in Chapter 18. Portfolio items, once committed and placed into flow, can contain many groups of work that Steve and Daniel term Minimal Outcome-Value Effort or MOVEs (see week 14). Once in flow (being worked on), a flow manager picks up managing the MOVEs. 

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Book cover: Tame your Work Flow

Tame your Work Flow

Today, we re-read chapter 12 titled Drum-Buffer-Rope (DBR). The concept of DBR is critical to using the Theory of Constraints in real-world environments. There are a couple of important premises that DBR scheduling is built upon that bear remarking on before we dive into the nuances of chapter 12 of Tame Your Work Flow. The first is that you need to know where your constraint is at all times. This means that someone needs to pay attention to the flow and pace of work. This infers a degree of discipline that can be problematic. As we have noted the constraint can move based on the kind of work in the pipeline and where we are in the cycle of finding, exploiting, and improving the constraint. While this might sound onerous, in order to maximize the flow of value through a value stream or value network it is imperative. The second is the discipline of the queue. DBR has an expectation that if there is more than one project or piece of work and product owner, jumping the turnstile is not acceptable behavior. In other words, work is done in the agreed-on order based on priority the organization agrees on upfront. The discipline of the queue is often a problem because of individual incentives.  (more…)

Book cover: Tame your Work Flow

Tame your Work Flow

This week we tackle Chapter 6 of Tame your Work Flow. Throughput accounting ties a number of threads together for me. The big one is the linkage between getting value from process improvement and the mental models created by cost accounting. (more…)

 

Much has been written on the distinction of being agile versus doing agile. The crux of being agile is embracing the values and principles that underpin agile. Those values and principles are compiled in the Agile Manifesto and have been tweaked and restated many times, but they boil down to the same basic ideas. Organizations that cherry-pick or decide that culture that is inferred by the values and principles are only for parts of the organization will not get the value they are looking for. That is a failure in adoption not a failure of agile culture. Helping an agile team interface with a waterfall organization is the same as asking can we be agile when everyone around us is doing something different. The answer is sort of.  So far in this theme, we have explored two potential changes within the team’s span of control that can “help.” (more…)

Book cover: Tame your Work Flow

Tame your Work Flow

Self-knowledge is valuable to keep yourself reigned in, I really think Little’s Law is important. This week I needed to make sure I did not go overboard in discussing the ramifications of the theorem (I will include links at the end of this week’s re-read for those who want to go into depth). Chapter 3 of Tame your Work Flow is incredibly important for understanding the overall book. In your re-read spend the time needed understanding how the themes noted in the chapter title Flow Efficiency, Little’s Law and Economic Impact inter-relate. (more…)

Blackwater Falls

A waterfall precedes and follows rapids

Agile teams living in a waterfall organization can have a tough road to travel. The degree of difficulty is often a reflection of the team’s sphere of control.  As noted in An Agile Team In A Waterfall World,  there are four areas that need to be addressed if an Agile team is going to thrive in a waterfall environment.  They are:

  1. Prioritizing Work Entry (discussed in An Agile Team In A Waterfall World)
  2. Postponing Commitment
  3. Engaging Executives On Agile Values
  4. Value Chain Analysis

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Book cover: Tame your Work Flow

Tame your Work Flow

Re-read Saturday, Tame you Work Flow Week 3:  Chapter 2—Postpone Commitment and Limit Work in Process

Today we tackle Chapter 2 in our re-read of Tame your Work Flow by Steve Tendon and Daniel Doiron. The chapter is titled Postpone Commitment and Limit Work in Process. Last we mentioned multitasking, this week we make a full assault on the topic. (more…)

Book cover: Tame your Work Flow

Tame your Work Flow

Today we tackle Chapter 1 in our re-read of Tame your Work Flow by Steve Tendon and Daniel Doiron. Chapter 1 lays out the four flows which the book explores in detail and begins a deep dive into the power of mental models. The Chapter also touches on one of the great evils of modern times — multitasking (I say that with no attempt at hyperbole).   (more…)