Understanding the Relationship of Optimization, Prioritization, Throughput, Impediments, Métier, Utilization, and Sizing

Some of the key aspects of successful Agility are slicing our work into small chunks, prioritizing this work, and having our people pull the work at a rate they can sustain.  How do we do that? What does limiting work in progress mean? Is it more beneficial to have people working across stories individually or swarming on stories? What is the effect when specialists have to work on specific stories due to their unique skill sets? Why do we slice stories? When we choose to not have people remove impediments, what impact can that have?

This session will immerse you in a simulation of what a team goes through when pulling work in an iterative approach such as XP or Scrum.  It was created in response to seeing teams make poor choices in what they optimizing; often choosing to optimize the utilization of resources as opposed to maximizing the effectiveness of the people.  This team also had chosen an architecture where specialized talent was hard to come by, limiting the overall effectiveness.  

We'll explore what prioritization does for us; how limiting work in progress and slicing stories helps in getting us to done. We'll introduce impediments and make choices whether to work on something else or work to remove them.  We'll introduce a specialist and see what the impact of that is. 

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

This session is almost entirely experiential; it will open with a brief description of what we will explore and the 'rules' of the simulation.  We'll then dive right into playing it through with the facilitator throwing considerations or choices that a team may make as they pull work.  The attendees then can see the effect that these have and wil be asked what they are observing.  We'll end with a short debrief and discussion on any aspects or options that can also be thrown into the mix.

I've run this session a couple of times at my client.  It is a very deep simulation with a multitude of options; we should be able to explore a majority of these options in the session within the 90 minutes.  

Learning Outcome

At the end of this session, attendees will have a deeper understanding of how the multitude of choices of what people work on, how they choose to size work, the reliance on specialists, whether they remove impediments or move to work on something else, and the utilization of team members impacts their throughput of getting work to done.  I've seen several 'aha' moments, even among coaches with years of experience.

Target Audience

Managers, Scrum Masters, Product Owners, Team Members, Executives

schedule Submitted 2 years ago

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  • Paul Boos
    By Paul Boos  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    As an FYI, I used a subset of this simulation at Agile 2014 with good feedback.

    • George Dinwiddie
      By George Dinwiddie  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hmmm... The Agile 2014 sessions were 75 minutes. Did you get any insights into shortening it a little further?

    • George Dinwiddie
      By George Dinwiddie  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Oops! The session slots were supposed to be 30 & 60 minutes, not 60 & 90. Is there any way this could be shortened to 60? I realize that might be tough, and perhaps we can come up with another solution.

      • Paul Boos
        By Paul Boos  ~  2 years ago
        reply Reply

        I need to talk with Dante on this one, so we are both on the same page on whether we can do this in 60 minutes.  I personally think it woudl be tough.  If there is something else that can be done it would be awesome!


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