Book cover: Tame your Work Flow

Tame your Work Flow

I find Chapter 14 useful in a book of useful chapters. In this chapter, Steve and Daniel explain the foreshadowed idea of full-kitting and introduce two different versions of kanban boards.

I am a big fan of the idea of the definition of ready. I have written several columns on the topic (for example, Ready to Develop from 2015, in which you will note that my definition is much closer to Steve and Daniel’s concept of full-kitting than some of the austere definitions of ready). It has never made sense to me to start working on a story if you didn’t think you could complete the work. It’s like making a platter of hamburgers for a party if you haven’t bought or even planned to buy the meat. The definition of full-kitting is “everything that is needed for the whole journey to done is known, available, or can be made available just-in-time when required.” This helps to ensure that there is no logistical reason not to complete a work item. I have found this concept to be useful and now is a “must consider“ when pulling any piece of work from my backlog. Full-kitting puts a lot of pressure on getting work prepared before it enters the workflow. This might feel esoteric or like it is a tweak on the idea of the definition of ready, but I have seen examples of teams (including whole Agile Release Trains) working for months on features only to have them warehoused because the overall application was not ready for them. Having your work warehoused is frustrating, not to mention expensive to do work that can’t go forward. (more…)

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 two chapters in Steve Tendon and Daniel Doiron’s  Tame your Work Flow. Chapters ten and eleven put our understanding of workflow and process-flow into action in more complex environments. I have been dealing with pests all week; a swarm of yellow jackets made my garden their home. It is a complex and potentially painful situation, but not nearly as difficult as dealing with the common organizational failings. Chapter 9 introduced the concept of dealing with the chaos that can be found in most organizations using the acronym PEST, which stands for scenarios that have:  (more…)

Book cover: Tame your Work Flow

Tame your Work Flow

Today we transition to Part 4: Maximizing Business Value in Knowledge-Work in Steve Tendon and Daniel Doiron’s  Tame your Work Flow. We are currently 40% through the book according to the Kindle App on my laptop.  (Side note: I would like to talk with anyone in the audience that uses a Kindle to read non-fiction books that they will later use for reference; I am working on a buying decision).

Chapter 9, Constraints in the Work Flow and in the Work Process, makes the transition away from the manufacturing world—where lean and Kanban have been prevalent approaches—and slams us into the topsy turvy world of knowledge work.  Steve and Daniel invoke two acronyms to help characterize the world most of us find ourselves in.  The first is VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) and the second is PEST. PEST stands for: (more…)

Book cover: Tame your Work Flow

Tame your Work Flow

This week we tackle Chapters 7 and 8 of Tame your Work Flow. These two chapters represent and story-based case study (as noted in the past, I am not fond of business novels) that takes the readers through the use of throughput management boards and how to identify the constraint by adding average flow time to each column. The authors again make the point that decision making without regard to the constraint yields erratic results. Most of the readers of this blog will have fallen into the trap (once) of making what appears to be the right process change only to find that the change is effective as advertised because we were not affecting the constraint. Remember Goldratt’s Five Focusing factors:  (more…)

Book cover: Tame your Work Flow

Tame your Work Flow

This week we begin Part 2 of  Daniel Doiron and Steve Tendon’s Tame your Work Flow. Part 2 transitions us from improving wait time and flow efficiency and begins a deep dive into the Theory of Constraints (ToC). The authors use the metaphor of an Archimedean lever to point out that in order to make major changes you need a fixed point or fulcrum and a big lever. In process improvement, the constraint is that point where a lever can be inserted to make change happen. The problem in knowledge work is that it is hard to identify the constraint.  (more…)

Book cover: Tame your Work Flow

Tame your Work Flow

This week we tackle Chapter 4 of Tame your Work Flow,  The chapter is titled “Utility of Flawed Mental Models.” The goal of the chapter is to make sure we understand why reducing wait time makes sense and why that reduction has an impact on delivery.  

The premise of the chapter is set up with the statement: (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…)

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 begin in our re-read of Tame your Work Flow by Steve Tendon and Daniel Doiron in earnest with the Prologue.  The prologue introduces concepts and provides a bridge for readers to this book from the Goal by Eli Goldratt and Steve Tendon, and Wolfram Müller’s book Hyper-Productive Knowledge Work Performance, The TameFlow Approach and Its Application to Scrum and Kanban (more…)