How to involve everyone in (small to large-scale) innovation: a case study about value streams and a pacemaker team in an HR Tech scaleup
Prato, an HR Tech scaleup with over 100 people, organises its strategy in a number of “value streams”. Examples of value streams are: attracting new customers for existing products, building and selling new products, improving customer satisfaction, phasing out legacy software, opening up existing products for integration with 3rd parties, etc.
A dedicated budget (capacity) and strategic goal is allocated to each value stream. All work items on the end-to-end kanban board belong to one of the value streams and the flow is managed in accordance with the policy of that specific stream. Moreover value streams with a focus on innovation (changing the business) and operations (running the business) run in parallel; their work items are pulled by the same teams and each of those teams self-organizes around the different types of work.
Recently a new value stream was introduced, which involves the creation of a new innovative payroll engine system. For a scaleup like Prato this is a large-scale project (10k-20k person days) with dependencies in the entire organisation. From the beginning it was clear that the existing structures alone weren’t sufficient to tackle this challenge: the sheer complicatedness of the payroll engine development requires a coordinated effort of multiple teams and experts. Hence some people advised Prato to form a dedicated project team, separated from the people supporting the existing HR systems - this comes down to Gartner's Bimodal IT approach. However Prato believed that Bimodal IT is an outdated approach that creates conflict and fails to unlock the potential in the entire organisation.
Therefore the Prato leaders decided to involve everyone in the organisation in forming a small but focused “pacemaker team” for the new payroll system. That pacemaker team should give focus to the payroll engine value stream and should set the rhythm for the new product development by the existing teams. So by installing a pacemaker process Prato assumed that it could involve expertise in the entire organisation and could scale the development to multiple teams, without falling in the trap of prescriptive "agile scaling" frameworks. In essence, this approach should ensure that the existing kanban system can be used as a lever to manage the flow of a large-scale project: the pacemaker team plays both the role of splitter (upstream) and integrator (downstream) of work and the existing teams can pull work in parallel with work coming from the other value streams.
Did Prato succeed so far? This and more will be covered in this case study.
Outline/Structure of the Keynote
1) Introduction and short history of Prato
2) Organising the company strategy into value streams
3) Operationalizing value streams by means of an end-to-end (upstream and downstream) kanban system for running and changing the business
4) The challenge of a new large-scale project and why Bimodal IT isn't the answer
5) The Lean concept of "pacemaker" and how Prato introduced a pacemaker team into the organization
6) Implications of the pacemaker approach on the existing organization and lessons learned
Participants should leave this session with an understanding of why and how value streams and a pacemaker team can be used for changing and running a business.
Senior Leaders, Executives, Change Agents
Prerequisites for Attendees
A basic understanding of Lean-Agile principles should be sufficient.
schedule Submitted 3 years ago
People who liked this proposal, also liked:
Yuval Yeret - Want Business Agility? Don't mandate - invite!Yuval YeretEnterprise Agile Coach and CTOAgileSparks
schedule 3 years agoSold Out!
In the rush towards business agility, let's make sure we don't create unsustainable change via Prescriptive Mandates. What's the problem with Prescriptive Mandates? People tend to ignore them or do the minimum required to wait until the storm passes. And the prescription might not work in the specific context we're applying it to. This is especially dangerous when leaving the relative comfort zone of Agile Development into new Business Agility areas.
So what's the alternative? Invitation and pull-based change. Manage change as an internal market - Don't force people to buy into it but sell it to them and help them consume it at their pace. In other words - Figure out and optimize the "customer journey" for your internal change.
Also make sure that you don't apply a "one size fits all" and you aren't religious about methodology and practices. Emphasize values and principles and experiment with what practices work in each context and allow some variability at least initially.
Patrick Steyaert - Business agility – A new way of thinking and a new way of teaching and coaching agilityPatrick SteyaertFounderOkaloa
schedule 3 years agoSold Out!
Business agility is more than the sum of different organizational units that each implement their own chosen agile method on their own little island, constrained by 20th century management. Nor is it a one-size-fits all model that is imposed from the top down. Business agility requires the engagement of the entire organization in a fundamentally new type of thinking. Especially when the (deep) divide between organizational silos risks being reinforced by the islands of agility formed by the, sometimes dogmatic, implementation of different agile methods in different parts of the organization. It also requires creativity and insight to overcome the relics of a 20th century management system. Especially when the thinking that underlies division of labour, capacity utilization, and predictive control still runs very deep. Finally, it requires a new type of change that is resilient to setback.
This presentation reports on our experience with teaching and coaching business agility to a wide range of audiences without digressing into specific agile methods. On a tactical level, we discuss how we developed and use business simulations that engage and mobilize all levels of the organization (including higher level management) across all functions (not just IT, but also HR, Marketing and communications, Finance, Legal, Product management, …). We discuss simulations that allow participants to experience the basic concepts of flow, self-organization and active learning; not just simulations at the team level but also at a cross-team level and across the entire value stream (upstream and downstream). Simulations that are generic enough in order to speak to different parts of the organization, but specific enough as to realistically represent real-life work situations.
On a more strategic level, we discuss how to challenge the traditional linear, reductionist, local optimization thinking (“either-or” thinking) about agile and how to teach integrative, applied systems thinking (“and” thinking) as a new foundation for agile business. Using integrative thinking we will explain how the foundational concepts of flow, self-organization and active learning can be shown to build on each other in order to create a whole that is bigger than the sum of the parts. By setting aside any dogmatic discussions, it builds a common, deeper, understanding between practitioners of the different strands of agility. By using simulation, it allows to overcome the habitual 20th century thinking and prepare for 21st century business agility.
Steven Mitchell - The Most Important Metric for Business AgilitySteven MitchellLean & Agile ConsultantSteven Mitchell
schedule 3 years agoSold Out!
Lean and Agile practices are fundamentally changing the way we lead organisations. More and more business leaders are realising that old methods of management are being replaced by newer and better ones. That means business metrics are also evolving.
Business agility sounds great but as an executive what do I measure for success? If I focus on just one thing to track business agility as opposed to Agile adoption, what should it be?
In this presentation, Steven Mitchell, will discuss two examples of how he helped turn programs around with focus on the number one metric for business agility, and explore related themes to aid your company’s quest for greatness.
Steven Mitchell is an independent Lean & Agile Consultant based in Melbourne, Australia providing training, coaching, and consulting services.
Damien Braeckman - What if there were a Kanban board at the coffee machine? (or how we do it in Europe)Damien BraeckmanContinuous Improvement CoachMy Place To Be
schedule 3 years agoSold Out!
- And we could all note down, visualize and tackle day-to-day frustrations, ideas and challenges -
The advantages of using agile techniques inside and outside IT are clear and well-known, provided the agile processes have been defined for the right reasons.
Apart from using those techniques in business projects, we have implemented a way of tackling the non-work related issues based on techniques and ideas such as scrum, kanban, kaizen and sociocracy.
“People aren't happy because they're successful. They're successful because they're happy” – Jeff Sutherland
Following the above quote, we defined a framework, where all frustrations, questions, ideas and anything that was team-related but not work-related could be tackled.
Examples: working from home, flex desks, non core tasks that are too time consuming, dog-sitting, meeting rules, air-co usage... Everything that is keeping you from a happy workday should be as important as the work itself.
In this session, I want to explain how we do this, and how we keep the balance between what has to be done and the time needed to tackle those non-work related issues that are so critical for the happiness of the team members.