If I could write my own job title…

A mid-month update, and a more personal one than usual.

If I could write my own job title, it would be something like this:

Director of continuous transformation (part time)

Let’s break that down a bit:

  • Director: I’ve held a number of mid to senior roles, including Executive Director and global development manager at a top-tier investment bank, CTO for a late-stage startup (getting its core business systems in shape for a successful merger that saw my MD take over as CEO of the combined business), and interim delivery manager (as Valtech associate) of two of the UK government digital ‘exemplar’ projects
  • Continuous transformation: I know how hard it is to sustain a meaningful rate of change in organisations, and it’s typically not best achieved through the naïve (or (worse) application of mainly bottom-up or top-down approaches. It needs attention both to outcomes (with agreement, something we’ve learned how to facilitate), and to the myriad ways that feedback and accountabilities operate inside organisations and across their boundaries. Relative to these, practices – Lean, Agile, Lean-Agile, or otherwise – is the easy bit.
  • Part time: For family reasons which I won’t detail here but which I’ve always been happy to explain to anyone who needs to know, I’ve been out of the market for high-commitment roles for the past couple of years. Happily, that situation is vastly and wonderfully improved. Meanwhile, I’ve used my time at home to build up Agendashift as a product and a community, and that is definitely not about to stop. I’m also grateful for the opportunities to speak and run workshops around the world; and whilst I’m getting increasingly selective, I hope that these continue too.

Of course I’m also a consultant and facilitator, so if even “part time” sounds like too much, I’m available in smaller chunks, down to as low as 1-day or 2-day workshops – see the feedback from my last public one here – and I do travel outside the UK and Europe.

If we’ve not yet met, note that I’m doing a webinar tomorrow, Thursday Feb 15th, 07:30 AM PST / 15:30 UKT / 16:30 CET/ 21:00 IST, courtesy of my friends at Digité. It’s called “Scrum and Kanban revisited” after my most popular blog post of last year, and it should be similarly punchy. Do join us!

We’ve also added some new workshops to the calendar:

One way or another, I hope to see you soon!


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We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based evolution of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…

True North, tweaked – and a couple more classic posts restored

At last week’s workshop there was a brief discussion on whether the last line of the Agendashift True North – the focus of one of my favourite workshop exercises – should make explicit reference not just to needs, but to “individual needs, corporate needs, societal needs” (or something similar). These have long been in my mind as a result of my several explorations into Servant Leadership – clearly I did not stop at the neutered, team-centric version typically taught in Agile circles.

Through our discussions in Slack and LinkedIn, the more it become clear that change was justified, but not the one I proposed. Here’s that line:

Needs anticipated, met at just at the right time

A conversation with Damian Crawford quickly convinced me to leave this line alone. As currently written, this line includes a range of needs that that hadn’t necessarily occurred to me, and we concluded that it would be unfortunate to exclude them. All it takes to dig deeper here is a simple question (thanks again Damian for asking this Clean-style):

What kind of needs anticipated?

A comment from Vincent van der Lubbe meanwhile reminded me that even whole organisations don’t live in a vacuum, and we turned to this line:

Individuals, teams, between teams, across the organisation

Very easily fixed:

Individuals, teams, between teams, across the organisation, and beyond

Scaling, anyone?

In full, from agendashift.com/true-north, where I’ve updated both the image and the text:

true-north-2018-02-13

Needs anticipated

That last line also attracted comment in relation to the phrase “Needs anticipated”. I dug out a relevant quote from Kanban from the Inside (published 2014) and it was nice to remind myself to find that I’ve been been banging the drum for needs and anticipation since 2013 if not earlier. Today I restored these two classic posts from positiveincline.com (explaining the sudden flurry if you’re an email subscriber!):

Enjoy those blasts from the past!


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We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based evolution of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…

Takeaways from the first Advanced Agendashift workshop “Coaching and Leading Continuous Transformation”

It’s fair to say that it went well:

Thank you again for the last 2 days, I have been raving about it to my manager today!

If I or any of our participants had any anxieties, they weren’t about our ability to fill two days (that was never in doubt), but that “Advanced” would mean “complicated” or “only for experts”. Thankfully, we can put those worries aside. The feedback demonstrates that Advanced here means “deep”, “inspiring”, “challenging”, “enabling meaningful discussion”, “causing new connections to be made”, “giving the confidence and determination to try these tomorrow”, and so on. All of these for a surprisingly diverse group of participants: some new to Lean and Agile, others experienced practitioners, some from industry, one there for his second Agendashift workshop!

The pictures below show the feedback stickies from the closing session (some really lovely messages there, thank you), followed by takeaways from the Discovery, Exploration, Mapping, and Elaboration sessions. Lots of love there for the models, the tools, their applicability, the discussions they provoked, and for Agendashift’s principled (but still very practical) stance that we summarise as outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation.

overall
Coaching and Leading Continuous Transformation

In reference to some of the tools mentioned on the stickies, go to our resources page for 15-minute FOTO, Changeban, the Agendashift A3 template, etc. Visit Karl Scotland’s blog for his X-Matrix template. All of these are published under Creative Commons licenses and you are encouraged not just to use them but to adapt them to your needs and to share (with appropriate attribution).


Upcoming Agendashift workshops (see Events ):


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We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based evolution of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…

 

Updated materials for ‘15-minute FOTO’

As promised in last week’s roundup, there are now updated versions of the cue card and facilitation deck for our Clean Language-inspired coaching game, 15-minute FOTO.

PDFs of both are available for anonymous download at the above link, where you’ll also find a video of a workshop session that includes the game (among other Agendashift-related things). It’s also covered in chapter 1 of the book.

If you’d like the original PPTX files, just ask. Also, the #cleanlanguage channel in the Agendashift Slack is a good place for questions, and shout if you need an invite.

Changes:

  1. At the top of the card, we’ve given the coach a question to initiate each conversation
  2. We have given subtle emphasis to “What would you like to have happen?” and “Then what happens?”, the two most important questions in the game
  3. We’ve included the most up-to-date poster on the reverse (a download for this is also available and we’ll email registered users about that separately soon)

15-minute-foto-cue-card-2018-01-29

Enjoy!


Upcoming Agendashift workshops (see Events ):


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We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based evolution of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…

Agendashift roundup, January 2018

In this edition: The latest on the book and related Agendashift resources; Director of Continuous Transformation; Workshops; Inverting the pyramid; Top posts

The latest on the book and related Agendashift resources

I’ve done a final revision on the Leanpub edition of the book in preparation for print publication in April. The most substantial changes are to the final chapter (more on this in “Inverting the pyramid” below), also:

If you’re a registered user of any of these resources you’ll be contacted in the next few days with the download link for the new versions. If you don’t have them or you can’t wait that long, get in touch.

Director of Continuous Transformation

Over in the Agendashift Slack we’ve had some fun over the past few days discussing ideal job titles in the #coaching channel. As it happens, I have sufficient capacity now to declare for real that I’d love the title “Director of Continuous Transformation (part-time)”. If I could help bolster your leadership team or internal coaching team on a part-time basis, let’s talk. Will travel (within reason).

Workshops

It’s the Leeds Advanced workshop next week and there are a couple of places left if you’re quick. Workshops in the US and Germany (April and May) are yet to be listed – please contact (respectively) partners Kert Peterson or Mike Leber about those; after that it’s Cardiff in late May.

See also: Agendashift as leadership development

As ever, shout if you would like a public or private workshop somewhere near you, and there are more events listed in our events calendar.

Inverting the pyramid

Chapter 5 has gained a new figure:

inverted-pyramid
The inverted pyramid, Agendashift-style

All is revealed in yesterday’s blog post Inverting the pyramid, start-with-what-you-do-now style. Also, I’ll be speaking on this topic at London Lean Kanban Days 2018 (23-24 April) – see you there!

Top posts

Inverting the pyramid post came too late in the month to make the shortlist. This month’s winner is 5 years old, a classic restored from my old blog:

  1. Introducing Kanban through its values (January 2013!)
  2. Two more Agendashift resources are now Creative Commons
  3. Agendashift as leadership development
  4. Reading Peter Block
  5. Scrum and Kanban revisited (August)

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We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based evolution of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…

Inverting the pyramid, start-with-what-you-do-now style

The theory:

classic-inverted-pyramid

That’s right, the entire organisation supporting its customer-facing staff, the CEO at the bottom of the inverted pyramid. Intriguing!

Here’s my version, which you’ll find in chapter 5 of the latest revision of the Agendashift book (the last announced Leanpub revision before we go to print):

inverted-pyramid
The inverted pyramid, Agendashift-style

Key differences:

  1. Instead of the CEO and senior managers we have processes. No need to promote power hierarchies!
  2. It’s opinionated: each process begins with Discovery and ends with Validation. It’s both humbling and powerful – transformative, even – to acknowledge both that we don’t know everything, not least the eventual impact of our work.
  3. Review meetings of various unspecified kinds – service delivery reviews, capability reviews, strategy reviews, and risk reviews, even standup meetings and planning meetings
  4. Mutual accountabilities, horizontally and vertically

The lack of specificity in point 3 is deliberate: in Agile terms, we’re scaling, but we’re inviting a start with what you do now approach rather than insisting on a particular process framework. So how, exactly?

Here are three ways for you to look at your existing review meetings, three dimensions in which most such meetings can be improved:

  1. How might they be more outside-in (customer before organisation, platform, product, team, etc)? Who best represents each agenda item? In what order? Sharing what metrics (and implying what values)? What contradictions are we likely to find between these different perspectives, and are we prepared to deal with them?
  2. How might they be more right-to-left (recently-completed work first, then working backwards)? Do participants feel mutually accountable for an end-to-end process that focusses on outcomes and finishes with validation? What keeps those outcomes connected to authentic needs, and how are needs discovered and prioritised? What keeps workloads at appropriate levels?
  3. Horizontally and vertically, do your meetings together cover the organisation (or at least the part thereof that is the focus of your interest)? Horizontally, does each contributing part feel sufficiently connected, with overlapping participation across meetings? Vertically, is the organisation adequately represented so that delivery work, capability-related work, and mission can be kept in alignment?

The trick is to recognise that you don’t have to turn everything upside-down in one giant upheaval – the reorientation can start locally, and at any level. Locally doesn’t mean “timidly” though – in fact the way these strategies encourage accountability horizontally and vertically across organisational boundaries makes them both silo-busting and bubble-busting. Scary perhaps, but if you want to influence the rest of the organisation, then maybe you must be prepared to be influenced back…

More on this in my talk at London Lean Kanban Days 2018 (23-24 April) – see you there!


Upcoming Agendashift workshops (see Events ):


Agendashift-cover-thumbBlog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Links: 
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Community: Slack | LinkedIn group | Twitter

We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based evolution of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…

Will anything change after the meeting?

In order of importance:

  1. You understand the needs of others differently
  2. You made a personal decision
  3. You agreed something with other participants
  4. You know how you will hold each other mutually accountable for what happens next

And who is responsible for those – you or your facilitator? Yes!

Related:


Upcoming Agendashift workshops (see Events ):


 

Agendashift-cover-thumbBlog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Links: 
Home | About | Partners | Resources | Contact | Mike
Community: Slack | LinkedIn group | Twitter

We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based evolution of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…