Wipeout! Make *New* Mistakes

Ever feel like the market moves faster than your marketing team? Or, wonder how flexible your finance (& leadership!) teams would really be if self-direction glitched and blew $1M? Organizations introduce Agile believing it will lead in part to greater responsiveness and resiliency. Yet, why do so many fail to achieve those outcomes?

It isn’t just that they’re structured and operated by default along hierarchical lines rather than by design for iterative work. Achieving the full benefits of Agile comes from shifting the culture and mindset of a whole organization, sometimes as radically as encouraging it to “Make New Mistakes.” This very philosophy was a driver in the fastest division in HP’s history to reach $1B, a hardware division that was focused on manufacturing operations, with razor thin margins, and markets that changed 3x faster than the development lead time.

Through a series of short stories and exercises, attendees will explore 5 practices from that business which led to roaring success. We’ll probe their parallels in Lean / Agile practice. With each one, you’ll briefly self-inspect the state of your own organization, as well as create a backlog you can use to adapt in your “real world” beyond the conference.

Do you have, or want, a vision that takes you beyond high performing teams, to a high performing, resilient business? Come hear how you can help your organization shift from mechanics that “do” Agile, and walk away with a feel for what’s possible when not just development, but a whole organization surfs the flow of “being” Agile.

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Outline/structure of the Session

45 Minute OUTLINE: Wipeout! Make *New* Mistakes

[5 minutes] Introduction

  • Connect participants to topic & each other (pair share: turn to a neighbor and share what do you want to takeaway from this talk)
  • Connect participants to topic and presenter (self intro, story from the $1B business)

[7 minutes] Start with Purpose

  • Story from business: Clear goal to move from #5 vendor in market to #1 was rallying cry
  • relate "why" to fast twitch thinking with triune brain model
  • why becomes North Star for team decision making
  • 60s / worksheet: write down your organization’s "why". If it's not clear, write who'll you talk with at work to seek it out

[6 minutes] Stable Teams

  • Story from business: already built 200 units, discovered competition had key feature with 2x the value. Pivot was successful because teams knew all the interlinkages
  • teams need trust (they go beyond simple grouping)
  • Satir breakdown / breakthorugh curve, Tuckman "forming > performing" language: switching people between teams leads to breakdown. Steer work to teams, not people to work.
  • 30s / worksheet: rate yourself from 1 to 5 on team stability. Back at work, who will you engage in a discussion about the business cost of people switching?

[5 minutes] Add Support Dimension to Leadership Style

  • Personal Story from Business: how Situational Leadership saved my career (and shaped my servant leadership)
  • walk through Situational Leadership model noting:
    • many technology managers are familiar only with direction style
    • 2nd level management = letting go, and there are no mentors or practices to help transition to 2nd level management
    • self directed teams force mgt to let go - help those managers see the alternatives
  • 30s / worksheet: what's your current leadership style? what steps will you take to grow it for yourself? for your organization?

[7 minutes] Clarify Decision Making

  • Personal Story from Business: $1M mistake
  • outline RACI / DACI model; show example from business
  • parallel to fast moving startups in Silicon Valley
  • outline Appelo's delegation matrix
  • 60s / worksheet w/ delegation matrix: pick 3 common decisions in your organization (rows): mark X for current state; mark O for desired state. Note how will you share this structure when you're back at work?

[7 minutes] See the Whole (Evolve By Design)

  • Story (start): Manufacturing introductions had step function ramps (from 0 to 1000s of units of multiple models within a week) were leading to thrash, risk and unsustainable pace in our operations. We’d been so focused on development, we’d lost sight of the whole, the greater operation.
  • How businesses start, and typically emerge organically (leads to a structure to “start” but overlook “run”)
  • Patterns from startups - those that exit tend to think beyond “business” and “engineering” and includ “operations (compass.co and Founders Institute sources)
  • Share image of operational model used in the business: note that $1B could be run by talking with 4-10 key roles. Map typical functions and how distinguishing “start” and “run” leads to scalability. Also note “offensive” (product creation) and “defensive” (General and Administrative) roles in a business
  • Story (conclude): how stepping back and organizing for both development AND operations led to scalability, flexibility and resilience
  • 60s / worksheet: using the Model, map your organization; put an empty box around gaps; circle recognized problems; what’s 1 conversation you’ll have to cross-check your perspective? How might you apply this to close a gap or reduce a problem?

[3 minutes] Summary of points 3 minutes

  • repeat 5 sections in single slides
  • note how "Make New Mistakes" philosophy set values and mindset for the business, enabling resilience

[5 minutes] Takeaways & Close 5 minutes

  • Pair Share w/ post its: turn to a neighbor and share what was a big aha! for you? what's a first step you'll take when you're back at work?
  • Encourage posting on flip chart at exit
  • share contact info, survey reminder
  • Close

Learning Outcome

  • articulate the importance of a clear, shared purpose to guide Agility
  • describe the framework of Situational Leadership and how to apply it to your own leadership style
  • identify two ways to clarify decision authority and where that clarity can be improved in your business
  • apply a simple "big picture" model to help match the Agile mindset to traditional business / project management

Target Audience

Leaders at all levels; Coaches seeking patterns to help their teams to higher performance; Project Managers


This session presumes familiarity with:

Scrum fundamentals

Product Development experience

schedule Submitted 2 weeks ago

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