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

This chapter spends time describing and using Critical-Chain Project Management (CCPM) as a tool generating signals that help organizations control the flow of work in real-time and with a forward bias. I was introduced to CCPM early in my career (along with a number of other scheduling and planning tools). While I have not used these techniques as wholes recently  I have found the ideas they are based on and pieces and parts useful every day. This is a long way of saying, don’t skip to the next chapter. Steve and Daniel state very early in the chapter that “in the Tameflow Approach we are not thinking about the execution of the plan, but more specifically about the execution of the work.” Focusing on the execution of the work requires an appropriate mechanism that can signal trouble coming that is information-based rather than gut-based. 

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Book cover: Tame your Work Flow

Tame your Work Flow

Chapter 15 of Tame your Work Flow, introduces the concept of a MOVE, which stands for Minimal Outcome-Value Effort. Steve and Daniel use the construct to help define an atomic level of value delivery that is both minimalistic and sufficient. MOVE, while not replacing the myriad Mxx acronyms (e.g. minimal viable product or minimal marketable product), provides a mental model for defining items in your portfolio backlog that is focused on throughput accounting. (more…)

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

Those that control work entry, control the health of a team, and at a product level, the health of the organization. Messrs. Tendon and Doiron discuss portfolio and work entry in Chapter 13 of  Tame your Work Flow. Putting my biases on the table I believe that Reinertsen (Product Development Flow) and Leffingwell et al. (Scaled Agile Framework Enterprise) have advanced the discussion of portfolio prioritization immensely with the concept of the Cost of Delay. That said, Steve and Daniel, advance the ball even further. The sad part of the conversation is that most organizations that I have insight into leverage brute force politics to prioritize portfolios and are subject to suboptimization within silos. (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 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…)

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…)

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SPaMCAST 599 will feature my conversation with Steve Tendon. Steve and I talked about his Tameflow books, the genesis of the framework, the Theory of Constraints, and of course Herbie. Steve provides several profound pieces of wisdom for increasing value. (more…)