It’s really here :-)

And here it is:

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I only got back yesterday evening from a holiday abroad so it was with some relief that I finally got my hands on a copy of my own, one of a big stack given out to delegates at London Lean Kanban Days 2018 (#llkd18).

Three out of the four people I singled out for special mention in the acknowledgments happen to be here at the conference:

  1. Dragan Jojic‘s early work on the Agendashift assessment prompts was essential to their breadth, their usability, and their impact
  2. Karl Scotland helped to push Agendashift upstream, suggesting (and bravely testing) ways to develop the Discovery tools and to integrate the Cynefin exercise more cleanly.
  3. Steven Mackenzie diligently reviewed multiple revisions of this book and pushed me hard to make it what it is today

The fourth of those four is Andrea Chiou, US-based so perhaps we can forgive her absence! Andrea played a key role in the integration of Clean Language (see our coaching game 15-minute FOTO), and I’m grateful that through her I have been introduced to Judy Rees and Caitlin Walker, both leading members of the Clean Language community in the UK (Judy and Caitlin are respectively co-author and author of two of the books I recommend in chapter 1). I’m glad to say that Judy is here, with proof 🙂

I won’t repeat the back cover blurb again – you can read it in any of these places if you missed it here last week:

The e-book comes out in multiple formats imminently. It would have been nice if it had been available at least for preorder for the print book launch, but the latter couldn’t wait.

Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway): reviews, blog posts, tweets, shares etc very welcome. It all helps!


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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 emergence 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…

 

The Agendashift book comes out in print Monday, April 23rd

I’m delighted to announce that the Agendashift book comes out in print this coming Monday. It’s available for preorder now on most Amazons (not yet .com, but it’s coming) and Barnes & Noble. There’ll be a copy for every attendee of London Lean Kanban Days 2018 which starts on the same day, where I’m giving the opening keynote on Tuesday morning.

Landing page:  Resources: The Agendashift book (agendashift.com)

Find it on amazon.com (US), amazon.co.uk (UK), barnesandnoble.com, or search “Agendashift” at your favourite online bookstore.

Before the back cover blurb below, let me take the opportunity to thank Daniel Mezick for his foreword (new to this edition) and Steven Mackenzie for his diligent reviews (multiple times) of the manuscript. You won’t find fundamental changes since the Leanpub version but it is certainly more polished.


“An impressive piece of culture technology – facilitates clear thinking and communication while encouraging real agreement at scale across the whole enterprise.”

Part framework and part engagement model, Agendashift represents a way to naturally engage every employee, at every level, in the process of change. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based evolution of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of transformation by imposition – usually contradictory and self-defeating – it helps you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation.

“If you are a business leader looking for tools that facilitate real change in real organisations, this is your book.”

“For exquisite listening and thinking tools – used by your teams and informing your strategy up and down the organisation – look no further than this book.”

“It’s like an invitation to pair coach with Mike and see how he uses the tools to implement a culture of continuous improvement in organisations”

Mike Burrows is recognised for his pioneering work in Lean, Agile, and Kanban, his ground-breaking first book Kanban from the Inside (Blue Hole Press, 2014), and for championing participatory and outcome-oriented approaches to change, transformation, and strategy. Before embarking on his consulting career, he was global development manager and Executive Director at a top tier investment bank, and CTO for an energy risk management startup.

Agendashift-cover-6x9-2018-03-15

Agendashift demo and Lean Coffee, April 26th

On April 26th at 09:00 ET / 14:00 BST / 15:00 CET I’ll be doing a quick demo of some features recently added to the online tool, followed by a community discussion facilitated Lean Coffee style by Steven Mackenzie. The first of many, we hope!

For connection details and any late-breaking info, see the LinkedIn group or the #leancoffee channel in the Agendashift Slack (the latter being the better place for discussion ideas, ongoing conversations and any late-breaking info – click here for an invite if you need one).


Upcoming Agendashift workshops:


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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 emergence 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…

 

Emergence, Fast and Slow

One word that came up a few times in last week’s workshop (which got a 12 out of 10 by the way) was emergence. It’s a funny kind of word, one that gets some people excited and leaves others completely cold. That’s due in part to its scientific overtones, but there’s more to it than that.

In its slow form, emergence – as in emergent architecture for example – is regarded as a close cousin of evolution, a process whose results (structures, phenomena, properties) emerge from the repeated application of certain rules and constraints. Done deliberately, it looks something like this:

  1. We start where we are, with what we do now, or with a simple but probably inadequate design
  2. We wait until we’re dissatisfied somehow with the status quo
  3. Following some defined rules and keeping within certain constraints, we make what we hope turns out to be a step forward
  4. Rinse and repeat (starting with a new what we do now)

To its fans, it’s reliable way to cause a design to become increasingly fit for purpose – even when the environment around it is continually changing. Two things come with experience of the process:

  • Confidence in the outcome – the details of which aren’t planned in advance but familiar patterns and consistent properties do tend to repeat themselves
  • The realisation that the process can be guided and accelerated, for example using transparency to promote the activations of steps 2 and 4

Unfortunately, to those that haven’t experienced it, emergence and evolution can be a tough sell (which is why I don’t talk about them much). To some ears, these words evoke a process that’s highly wasteful and almost geologically slow, involving speculation, dead ends, and highly unpredictable outcomes. To others, it looks passive and directionless, change happening only in response to external pressures. No-one wants their organisation to go the way of the way of the dinosaur, and when proactivity is called for, it seems safer to stick to planned approaches with their up-front commitments and rigidly defined outputs – never mind that outputs and outcomes are two very different things!

I’ve hinted that in expert hands, emergence can be speeded up. Sometimes it can be very rapid indeed. Take for example the process we facilitate in Agendashift’s Discovery and Exploration activities through our 15-minute FOTO game:

  • Seed the process with a list of obstacles – things that block our path toward our generic True North (for Discovery), impede progress towards specific prompts prioritised from one of our assessments (for Exploration), or some other list
  • Identify the outcomes that lie immediately behind those obstacles
  • Identify the outcomes behind those outcomes, repeating through several layers, searching deeper and wider into outcome space

At Friday’s workshop we calculated that we were generating outcomes at a rate of nearly 2 per minute per table group. Two table groups were able to produce nearly 60 in just 15 minutes! As facilitator, I can’t predict what specific outcomes will be generated (I’ve stopped trying), but I’ve done it enough times to know that it’s a highly productive process, and that what emerges with the detail is a shared sense of both agreement and ambition. That’s gold!

Agendashift’s tagline is “Outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation”. With apologies to Daniel Kahneman, this is “Emergence, Fast and Slow” – the rapid emergence of agreement on outcomes and the emergence of a fitter, more adaptable organisation in the focussed follow-through. Agreement without the follow-through would of course mean the waste of a few hours or days of work. A much greater waste would be to implement change in the absence of agreed goals, the committed support of the host organisation, and the meaningful engagement of the people affected. They need each other!


Upcoming Agendashift workshops:


Agendashift-cover-thumbBlog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
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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…

Centered and T-shaped (sub)communities

On the evening of my arrival at Raleigh, NC from across the pond, I gave a new talk on my first book Kanban from the Inside. Here’s a slide I used to explain the philosophy behind Part II, Models, addressing in particular the question of how multiple (and some would say competing) models can be used together:

Screenshot 2018-04-04 15.28.37

I’m not going to expand on bullet 1 other than to point the curious in the direction of Gall’s Law.

Bullet 2 is much more up my street, and I’ve stuck to this line consistently – it’s pretty much the definition I use for the Lean-Agile community in the Agendashift book: a community that celebrates Lean and Agile, both separately and together.

That definition describes a very broad umbrella, and there’s a wide variety of things happening beneath it. Agendashift is one of them, a community centered [1] on outcome-oriented change. Around that theme we are:

  • Running with the idea, diving deep, developing it through use, making our more successful experiments more repeatable and more easily transferable to others
  • Taking a stance against imposed change (in which we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends in the OpenSpace Agility community)
  • Bringing together a range of different experiences and areas of expertise, colliding a number of models old and new, from within Lean-Agile and without
  • Expecting exciting things to happen.

It’s interesting to note that among the Agendashift community’s closest collaborators we have both Certified Scrum Trainers and Accredited Kanban Trainers, knowledgeable and experienced representatives of two great communities whose relationship hasn’t always been easy. Along with vast majority of practitioners who would be comfortable sitting under a Lean-Agile umbrella, I think I can speak for all of them when I say that each of them understands and respects the special contributions of their erstwhile antagonists. And after that, not just “Why can’t we all just get along?”, but “What can we achieve together that were weren’t achieving on our own?”

Observing this, I wonder aloud if the concept of T-shaped people [2] might extend to T-shaped subcommunities. I’m suggesting that in order to stay healthy, an ecosystem as large as Lean-Agile needs groups of people that have:

  1. The persistence to run with ideas and to see just how far they can take them (so that you don’t have to, except where there’s a genuine passion to pursue)
  2. The diversity to ensure they stay vibrantly creative
  3. Broad enough representation that their learning will diffuse and cross-pollinate via the overlaps between communities

Sometimes this will happen by accident, but I suspect that the majority of successful examples are the product of deliberate attention. Can we make it more repeatable? I don’t know, but I would certainly be interested in comparing notes with others who are doing similar things. Could conversations such as these help make Lean-Agile simultaneously more cohesive, more diverse, more respectful, and more productive? I’d like to think so…

[1] BDD is a Centered Community Rather than a Bounded Community (thepaulrayner.com)
[2] T-shaped skills (en.wikipedia.org)


Upcoming Agendashift workshops:


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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…

Agendashift roundup, March 2018

In this edition: Speaking in Central Europe; Coming to America; Out soon in print; Public workshops; Top posts; And finally…

Speaking in Central Europe

This comes to you today from Central Europe where I have just finished speaking at a company-internal conference. One Agendashift-related talk tweaked for the occasion, and another on DevOps written specially (which I hope to use again). It seems a good time to mention that I enjoy speaking at a wide variety of events both public and private – not just (Lean-)Agile conferences – and it’s always nice to be invited 🙂 Thank you Helen Beal and Steve Green at Ranger4 for setting this up.

On that note…

Coming to America

Next week I’m in the US, doing an evening meetup, a lunch & learn, a conference (TriAgile), and a Agendashift workshop, the last of those in association with the conference but not restricted to conference attendees. More info on all of those here. And a big thank you to my host, Kert Peterson.

Out soon in print

A sneak preview of something I’ll announce separately soon: the Agendashift book will soon be out in print – not just revised (for the 7th and final time) but with the addition a cool foreword. I’ll keep the identity of the foreword’s writer a surprise, but here are a couple of clues:

  • “An impressive piece of culture technology”
  • “Part framework and part engagement model, Agendashift is a rich composition of culture technology tools, a composition that forms a complete system.

If you’d like to be notified of when this new version becomes available, ping me. Be aware that the existing e-book will be withdrawn from Leanpub as soon as the new versions are available for pre-order (on most major channels I’m told).

Public workshops

For other events featuring myself &/or other Agendashift partners, see the events calendar. And of course we do private workshops, consulting, and coaching too.

Top posts

New:

From the archives:

And finally…

The LinkedIn group burst through the 1,000-member barrier this month and the (more active) Slack community is catching up fast! See the community links below if you’d to join.


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…

Coming to America – four events in four days

I’ve just added a fourth event to the events calendar for my upcoming trip to the US, the newest entry being a “lunch & learn” session kindly hosted by Pendo on April 4th. All four events take place in Raleigh, NC:

After the 1-day Core workshop on the 6th, the next two public workshops are back in Europe, both 2-day Advanced Coaching & Leading workshops:

If you can make it to any of these events I’ve love to see you, and do say hi!


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…