Leaders today are looking at “self organizing” agile teams to WIN ALL the battles on Auto-Pilot. Nice try is all I can say !!

...though some teams surely do succeed (lucky guys?).  But most teams are not so lucky, and get constrained by the organizational systems, processes, boundaries, and need an outside-in perspective or a divine eye to kick start their next improvement journey. Sometimes a leader takes on this divine role to guide them on this journey.

This talk aims to provide the leaders a toolbox for using Lean conversations, to spark their next team improvement journey, by designing improvement kata’s, while slowly inching the team forward towards nirvana !! Divine Bliss !! .... So if you are a leader looking at learning and implementing the simple techniques of guiding the team on a self improvement cycle, leading to true self organizing team, join us.

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

  • Self organizing teams or rather the 'lack' of the self organizing  [2 minutes]
  • Asking difficult questions, using Lean techniques, identifying wastes and constraints [3 minutes]
  • Harnessing value stream maps, as a key enabler to gather improvement options [3 minutes]
  • Running Improvement Katas, for the option selected [12 minutes]

The referenced blog (3 Simple steps to building your Continuous Delivery Dashboard) highlights the use of value stream maps to gather insight and have the difficult conversations with the team members and stakeholders, while visualizing the progress over time, and qua ntifying the results. The insights are then converted into improvement kata’s for adoption over the defined timeframe. Teams who learn to use this technique - identify system bottlenecks and define their improvement roadmaps in the longer run, will soon become truly self organizing.

 as a side note, I have put this up as an experience report, but could be structured as a Workshop also, for active participation and learning by the attendees and something they can take away and apply in their context.

Learning Outcome

  • What are the difficult conversations for a self organizing team and why we need to talk about them
  • Introduce Lean thinking, to trigger these conversations and identify wastes in your software development lifecycle
  • Gain insights for impediments, by using value stream maps and develop possible improvement options
  • Introduce Improvement Kata’s, to run short experiments 

In the end, you will have a toolbox for how servant leaders can help self organizing teams, with simple Lean conversations, to become truly self -organized !

Target Audience

Servant Leaders looking for improvement opportunities, (not yet self organized) agile team members

schedule Submitted 2 years ago

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  • Jerry Rajamoney
    By Jerry Rajamoney  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Asheesh,

    Thanks for the topic. How do you connect the dots between self organizing team to Lean thinking? In your Learning outcome the first point looks odd compared to 2,3 & 4. Can you please validate?

    Thanks,

    • Asheesh Mehdiratta
      By Asheesh Mehdiratta  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Jerry,

      Thanks for the feedback.

      A1. If you read the Abstract, you will see that we are saying that Self organizing teams usually reach a plateau in terms of 'self organizing' after some time (fairly common) or simply stop self organizing and stall completely. The team settles into a happy state and no longer challenges the status-quo. This is THE CHALLLENGE that we are attempting to solve. 

      To trigger the next cycle of continuous improvements, we are "Introducing" Lean Thinking to the team.

      Hope that helps you to make the connection now. 

      A2. As noted in the previous response, the first point is THE CHALLENGE.

      Points 2,3 and 4 provide a possible SOLUTION.

      Hope this clarifies. Let me know if you need more information.

      best,

      Asheesh

       

  • Naresh Jain
    By Naresh Jain  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Asheesh, The improvement Katas certainly looks like an interesing idea. I've not seen anyone present on this topic before. To help us understand this better, can you please highlight the specific katas you've in mind? Also since this is a 20 mins talk, can we focus more on this topic?

    • Asheesh Mehdiratta
      By Asheesh Mehdiratta  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Thanks Naresh for the feedback.

      Sure, we can focus more on the Improvement Katas and have updated the presentation time lines accordingly now.

      To give a little flavour for the Improvement Katas, teams usually focus on the Target condition aligned to organizational goals, which could be related to reducing the Lead Time or reducing escaped production defects among others as examples.

      An example of attempting to reducing the Lead Time, the team would observe the current process - which may reveal multiple items to address e.g - database setup time consuming, and/or a long running automated test etc.. 

      As a next step, the team typically identifies and runs 1 improvement kata to overcome 1 obstacle at a time (say reducing the long running test time) in a Daily/Weekly Kata, and thereby aims to learn more about this obstacle and possibly overcome this. Each subsequent kata on this improvement journey, helps the team reach closer to the Target condition. 

      I plan to provide the framework and examples on these lines. Hope this helps.

      best,

      Asheesh

  • Ravi Kumar
    By Ravi Kumar  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Asheesh,

    The topic sounds interesting. Personally I feel the Katas that you present in the end for 5 min is more relevant from the learning objectives and the leaders toolbox perspective outlined in the synopsis. Could you highlight the katas and and dwell how into putting thme to use rather than spend most of the time in value stream maps. I would swap the duration between Value Stream and Katas.

    Let me what you think.

     

    Regards,

     

    Ravi

     

    • Asheesh Mehdiratta
      By Asheesh Mehdiratta  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Thanks Ravi for the feedback.

      As highlighted in the synopsis, the leaders Toolbox includes multiple steps :
      Asking Difficult Questions using Lean Thinking -> Value Stream Maps -> Improvement Kata

      In my experience the attendees tend to struggle with  Value Stream Maps (VSM) and therefore I do propose to spend a little extra time on the same. A quick poll 'real time' with the audience always helps, and if the audience is well versed with VSM, I can always jump straight to the Improvement Kata section and provide more insights and examples for the same. I have updated the proposal to indicate the same now. Hope that helps in clarifying your question.

      best,
      Asheesh

       

  • Joel Tosi
    By Joel Tosi  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Asheesh,

         This is an interesting submission. You marked this as an experience report but it feels more like a regular session with you presenting a new idea. Could you help me understand if this is an experience report - if so are you aware of the write-ups for an experience report?

     

    Best,

    Joel

    • Asheesh Mehdiratta
      By Asheesh Mehdiratta  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Joel,

      Yes, this is a new concept which I have been experimenting with some teams and therefore includes my initial experiences.

      But I'd agree with you that it is premature to present this as an Experience report at this point, without introducing the Concept first to the wider community.
      I have changed this to a Talk now (though still retain it an "Advanced" level) and will include some examples (of the experiences) in the final presentation.

      Thanks for the feedback and your critical observation.

      best,
      Asheesh


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