Workshops in June

But first, some of what they said about this week’s 2-day Wholehearted:OKR workshop:

  • Loved the focus on outcomes
  • Insights on end-to-end strategy for Agile implementation
  • Learned how to design the process in practice
  • Great new facilitation exercises
  • Lots of new things to try
  • Strategy deployment for Agile ways of working
  • Highly interactive, great mix of presentation and activities

To our surprise, the majority of participants (albeit a self-selected and possibly unrepresentative group) would choose the 2-day online format again – that’s two full days online. We thought that the long-arranged Deep Dive workshop (June 8-9 below) would be last time we would offer this format but we may have to reconsider!

And so to June…

June 4th (2 hours from 10:00BST) Strategic Mapping with Outcomes

This standalone workshop is based on the string of three exercises from the Mapping session of the Deep Dive workshop. There are no prerequisites, but it’s one of two natural followups to the popular Learning the Language of Outcomes workshop. Also, if you’ve attended Agendashift workshops before January last year, it’s your chance to try Option Approach Mapping (the exercise formerly referred to as Reverse Wardley Mapping). No quadrants or clusters will be (ab)used in this workshop!

Limited spaces left.

June 8-9 (2 days, 09-00-17:00CET), Agendashift Deep Dive: Coaching and Leading Continuous transformation

They said a 2-day online workshop couldn’t be done, but (as demonstrated above) it can! We will of course be offering other online formats for our flagship workshop – 8 sessions over 4 days for example – but this way it is at least easy to schedule. Either way, it’s with new content designed especially for online.

For this one and the one below, the Agendashift Delivery Assessment is given as prework so you’d be advised to book at least a week in advance.

June 17 & 18 (Two 2-hour sessions from 16:00BST/11EST): Learning the Language of Outcomes

These are happening with increasing frequency, enough that we can put them on at different times to suit participants in different time zones. June’s will be for the Americas, here meaning that it will be late afternoon UK time – I won’t be checking passports!

June 25th (2 hours from 10:00BST): Stories, hypotheses, and A3

Another short standalone workshop and a natural followup to Learning the Language of outcomes.

This workshop is a standalone Elaboration session from the Core and Deep Dive workshops kicked off with a fun new exercise taken from the Impact! and Wholehearted:OKR workshops. As per Right to Left (of which the audiobook edition came out only last weekend), we move easily between stories of various kinds – including but not limited to user stories and job stories – and hypotheses, then develop them Agendashift-style with our Experiment A3.

Hope to see you at one (or more!) of these, and keep an eye on the events calendar for July and August, a couple of exciting things in store for Asia and the Americas.


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The audiobook is out! Right to Left: The digital leader’s guide to Lean and Agile

I’m thrilled to announce that my 2019 book Right to Left: The digital leader’s guide to Lean and Agile is now available as an audiobook, read by yours truly. It has been a long time coming and I don’t mind admitting that I’m a little relieved too!

Find it here:

Or search “Right to Left Mike Burrows” in the iTunes store.

Enjoy!

PS Please like, re-share, retweet, etc! LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook

cover right to left audiobook.001

Right to Left is the third book by Agendashift founder Mike Burrows, doing for Lean and Agile in digital delivery what his 2018 book Agendashift did for change and transformation.

Do you see in digital technology the opportunity to meet customer needs more effectively? Do you recognise that this may have profound implications for how your organisation should work? Do you want to help bring that about?

Regardless of whether you consider yourself a technologist, if your answer to those questions is “yes”, you are what we refer to in this book as a digital leader. If you are a digital leader, aspire to be one, or think that sometime soon you might need to become one, then this book is for you. Whatever your current level of knowledge of Lean and Agile, you will find here both an accessible guide to the Lean-Agile landscape and a helpfully challenging perspective on it.

The book is organised into six chapters. The first four have a strong right-to-left theme, which means consistently, deliberately, and even provocatively starting with outcomes – with needs being met – and working backwards from there, keeping outcomes always in the foreground:

  1. Right to left in the material world – introducing Lean, the strategic pursuit of flow
  2. Right to left in the digital space – introducing Agile and Lean-Agile
  3. Patterns and frameworks – popular Lean, Agile, and Lean-Agile frameworks and how they combine and complement each other
  4. Viable scaling – the Agile scaling frameworks, organisational viability, and the challenges of change

The last two chapters approach questions of organisational design and leadership from angles complementary to that core theme:

  1. Outside in – strategy and governance in the wholehearted organisation
  2. Upside down – Servant Leadership and the supportive, ‘intentful’, customer-focused organisation

©2019 Mike Burrows (P)2020 Mike Burrows

Phases 1 & 2 of the agendashift-open project

I’ve finished moving the source files for two sets of pages on agendashift.com to a public git repo, asplake/agendashift-open. In the process I’ve reformatted them from HTML to CommonMark – slightly limited but very much easier to maintain, a worthwhile tradeoff in this case.

The two sets of pages concerned are these:

  1. Agendashift as framework – principles, patterns, and activities
  2. Agendashift Workshops

Look around in either of those areas and you’ll see that each page links to its respective source file just below its license notice.

All 29 pages of this content were already Creative Commons, specifically CC-BY-SA. This change just makes it easier for others to reuse, comment on, or contribute fixes to these pages, and potentially to fork them and create create derivative works under the terms of that same license.

Let’s be clear what that means: Just about all the workshops and consulting services I offer are defined by this content and I accept the commitment to curate it carefully; others are free (within the quite generous license terms) to use it. It attracts some to join the community; some collaborate actively (see for example the Wholehearted:OKR page, very much a collaborative effort); some become Agendashift partners, gaining access to other tools and materials on a commercial basis; some corporate clients arrive via this route too.

Phase 3 will involve doing the same for the all CC-BY-SA content in the Resources area. Some of the pages are quite substantial and the conversion will require a little bit of effort, but worth it I’m sure. Making (for example) the page for Featureban page more community-maintainable must surely be a win.

Thank you John Grant for the nudge. Channel #open in the Agendashift Slack.


Upcoming workshops (all online of course)

With yours truly unless otherwise indicated:

For the latest workshop and speaking events check the Agendashift events calendar.


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Two months in

Correction: Two months, not three. Feels like longer! And let me now (May 15th) preface it with something I posted yesterday on Facebook and LinkedIn:

I have fully embraced this online thing. Not for the first time, 3 continents – this time Europe, Asia, and Australasia – were represented in my workshop this morning, and the thought of doing that by plane like I used to suddenly appalls me. Even putting to one side the shielding issue (I have a vulnerable family member), that kind of travel will for me and I guess many others be the exception, not the norm, perhaps forever. And no bad thing either

It’s three two months since I got back from an Agendashift Deep Dive workshop in Malmö, Sweden. Arriving home after midnight, I gave the house a miss and headed straight to the “studio” (a nicely-converted double garage, my office by day and self-contained living accommodation for us when we have carers in for our daughter) and a week of solitary quarantine. Comfortable enough but weird! A couple of weeks later the UK was officially in lockdown, but for my wife and I the strategy was already clear: for our medically vulnerable daughter’s sake, catching the virus wasn’t an option.

I’m well used to working from home and am well set up for it. I’m fully reconciled to travelling very much less than before, if at all. I’m embracing a strategic shift here: instead of holding out for a return to how things were, Agendashift is (to borrow a phrase) digital by default. If physical presence is the exception (and perhaps a rare one), we design for online first.

Those Powerpoint decks? Screen-sharing a slide-based presentation over Zoom isn’t a great look, and the transitions between that and conversational group work is jarring, to put it mildly. They’ve been relegated to design documentation, just a tiny and steadily diminishing fraction of slides finding their way into other, more collaborative media. Out with my material, in with your shared workbooks.

In some ways it’s liberating. In the past week or so I’ve done whole workshops without sharing my screen even once. Similarly, a whole meetup without slides, live-chatting a few prepared quotes, links, and instructions for breakouts – definitely doing that again!

There will be things that I’ll miss about the old way, but having concluded that it’s a fool’s errand to try to replicate it faithfully online, I’ve moved on. Online is different. We’re making it work. We’re taking advantage of its advantages (and they’re real), minimising its weaknesses (yes they’re real too). We’re digital by default, online first, and honestly, that’s ok.

PS: While we’re here (it’s kinda related, in that the tech of online transported me temporarily to New Zealand), I was interviewed for the Joekub podcast early morning UK time last Saturday. Listen to it here:

And a nice bit of feedback:

I also have a friend who loved the podcast, bought Right to Left and she said she would start explaining agile in a different way now 😀

Related:


Upcoming workshops (all online of course)

With yours truly unless otherwise indicated:

For the latest workshop and speaking events check the Agendashift events calendar.


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Agendashift roundup, April 2020

In this edition: Agendashift as Framework; Online first; Assessment updates; Featureban online; Upcoming; Top posts

[And apologies if you were hoping for an announcement about the audiobook edition of Right to Left; ACX (Audible) are quoting 30 business days (6 weeks plus) for their review stage]

Agendashift as Framework

There were multiple contenders for the biggest thing in Agendashift-land in April but I must go with this one:

It has been well received and it’s an important step in my preparations for a 2nd edition of Agendashift, the book.

Agendashift overview 16x10 2020-04

Online first

Another big bit of work was reorganising the Agendashift workshop portfolio to accommodate some new short training workshops to complement the existing Learning the Language of Outcomes workshop. Also, public online workshops are now specifically timed to suit different parts of the world – Europe, APAC, and the Americas. For me in the UK this means mid-morning, early morning, and late afternoon/early evening respectively. Even since this change we’ve had people from all three timezones and from north and south of the equator in one workshop, so feel free, take your pick!

See the events calendar at the end of this post, and the details in this announcement below. This mentions workshops not (or not yet) in the calendar which may be of interest:

Assessment updates

Quite a bit happening with the online assessments too:

  • A simplified English (‘EN-simplified’) version of the mini assessment. A joint effort, but a special shout out to Alex Pukinskis who saved us all a ton of work
  • A Farsi language translation contributed by Asad Safari
  • To be deployed shortly, some updates by Kirill Klimov to the Russian translation

Non-partners can test these translations (and others) in two ways:

Those are limited to the mini (18-prompt) templates. For access to the full 42-prompt version, check the the partner programme:

Featureban online

As per the Featureban page on Agendashift.com:

Play Featureban online!

We’re thrilled that our friends at Kaiten have created a free online version of Featureban. Play it here:

Evgeniy Stepchenko has produced this guide:

Featureban is (and I quote): a simple, fun, and highly customisable kanban simulation game. Since its creation in 2014 it has been used by trainers and coaches in Lean, Agile and Kanban-related events the world over.

See also Changeban, the Lean Startup-flavoured version of Featureban. Of the two, I use Featureban when I need to teach certain Kanban-related practices (metrics in particular) to a mainly technical audience, which these days I mostly leave to others; otherwise,  Changeban is more fun.

Online versions, translations, adaptations all made possible by open sourcing these games (they’re both CC-BY-SA). One of my smarter moves!

Upcoming workshops

With yours truly unless otherwise stated:

For the latest workshop and speaking events check the Agendashift events calendar.

Top posts

 


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Devs not clear about strategy? It’s likely way worse than that

A quite common issue surfaced by the Agendashift Delivery Assessment is that so-called delivery teams (and I don’t just mean developers and other technologists) aren’t clear about things like vision, purpose, and strategy. Digging into what was apparently a source of real frustration at one client a few years ago, I asked a product manager what he and his colleagues in the product team were doing to keep these things at the forefront of minds and conversations in their technology team.

His answer?

“They never asked”

I was unable to stop my jaw from dropping! At my unguarded reaction he tried hastily to row back, but not very convincingly.

Show me a development team not involved in the strategy conversation and I’ll show you one that delivers code but not insights, features but not intelligence, and products that are mediocre at best, meeting the spec but failing to satisfy. You don’t want that. No strategist worth his salt wants that. No business can afford that kind of failure for long, but work in a strategy bubble and it’s what you get.

The systems theory around this issue is well known, developed since the middle of the last century. A key lesson is that if you neglect the necessary interplay between organisational processes such as strategy and delivery (to name but two), you put your independent existence – your viability – under real threat. Happily, much of the associated practice is now highly accessible to a 21st century audience – the startup community lives by it – so there’s little excuse not to be guided by the theory.

As for Agendashift, it’s built into our mission statement, right there in the middle:

wholehearted-16x10-2020-03-15

The practical side is reflected in the bottom half of the new framework overview (see the recent announcement Agendashift as framework):

Agendashift overview 16x10 2020-04

The pattern Just-in-time (JIT) strategy deployment is the second of two key generative patterns in Agendashift, and is itself several patterns for the price of one. It describes strategy as being (and I quote):

“developed and refined collaboratively (with varying degrees of participation) over time and in response to the feedback generated through its implementation, solutions emerging from the people closest to the problem”

Agendashift has always been about strategy – whether transformation strategy specifically or strategy more broadly – but it can’t (and doesn’t) ignore delivery. If you’re struggling to connect the two adequately, read that page and take (I hope) some inspiration. And for a whole book’s worth, start with the highly accessible Right to Left: The digital leader’s guide to Lean and Agile. If you’ve not read any of my books before, this one is almost certainly the one to pick first.


Upcoming online workshops

All online, and all with your truly (Mike Burrows) unless otherwise specified:

For the latest workshop and speaking events check the Agendashift events calendar.


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New online workshops added to a reorganised portfolio

Update 20/4: Make that three new workshops, with dates for the first two (the third is currently private-only):

There are additional dates for Learning the language of outcomes also.


Rather than post the next installment in the Doing Agendshift Online series this week, it seemed sensible to wait until after next week’s public workshop and after that share some of the new things we’re trying.

Meanwhile, far from using this enforced period online as an excuse to withdraw, we’ve been working hard to round out the overall offering. The result: twothree new short training workshops (both of them online-first of course), triggering a reorganisation of the portfolio.

One wholehearted engagement model, three workshop families:

  1. The transformation strategy workshops that we’re best known for
  2. The outside-in strategy workshops that take us deeper into strategy deployment  – still highly compatible with Lean and Agile but less about them
  3. A set of complementary short training workshops, more skills-focussed than organisation-focussed

With the twothree new short training workshops, Mapping with Outcomes, Stories, Hypotheses, and A3 and Implementing your OI-SDR (more on those in a moment), this structure doesn’t seem like overkill. Here’s the relevant bits of sitemap:

The workshops:

  1. Transformation strategy – Core, Applied, and Deep Dive:
  2. Outside-in strategy – OI-SR (the generic platform on which the other two are built), Impact!, and Wholehearted:OKR:
  3. Short training workshops – one to two online sessions of up to 2 hours each:

The twothree new short training workshops

We’ve been doing Learning the language of outcomes online since last summer (see the calendar below for dates, with more added recently). The first of the three new additions is a natural follow-on to that:

It covers the following:

  • A quick reprise of Plan on a Page, the simple visualisation used in Discovery
  • The “string” of exercises defined for the Mapping activity, each exercise valuable both in its own right and for making its successor easier:
    • The Cynefin Four Points Contextualisation exercise, introduced under the pseudonym Option Approach Mapping
    • Option Relationship Mapping, previously known as Reverse Wardley Mapping
    • Pathway Mapping (User Story Mapping meets Reverse STATIK)
  • An introduction to Changeban and its simple kanban system for managing a portfolio of experiments

Then comes Stories, Hypotheses, and A3. In framework-speak, this is Elaboration as standalone workshop. This covers:

  • Stories, authentic situations of need, and hypotheses “hard” and “soft”
  • Just-in-time option selection
  • Generating and selecting solution ideas
  • Framing solution ideas as hypotheses
  • Developing solution ideas with the Agendashift Experiment A3 Template
  • Portfolios of experiments

Its first public outing will also be in June:

The third addition, Implementing your Outside-in Service Delivery Review (OI-SDR) complements the strategy workshops. It’s about how you set yourself up for success, before or after the strategy workshop – ie groundwork or follow-through – or as a standalone exercise in organisation design. Its agenda will resonate with anyone who has read Right to Left:

  1. Thinking in circles:
    • Interlinked circles of responsibility
    • Concentric circles of alignment
  2. Metrics:
    • Performance measures
    • Health indicators
  3. Stories, hypotheses, and experiments:
    • Framing for maximum learning
    • Focussing for maximum leverage
  4. The nuts and bolts of the OI-SDR meeting:
    • Agenda:
      • Outside in (customer & environment first), then
      • Right to left (outcome first)
    • Protocols, participation, and preparation

Initially at least, we’ll be offering this workshop only privately before deciding whether (and how) to make it available publicly. Do this workshop with your colleagues and you will be well on your way to implementing your own OI-SDR successfully. With that, you will be building into your organisation design some powerful expectations: that experimentation will always be happening, that the strategy will be advancing, that service continues to improve, and that intelligence and insights will be shared – all of this in a structure specifically designed to create leadership opportunities and to cause misalignments to reveal themselves.

Finally, a reminder that we make all our workshop materials available to partners for use with their clients. It’s easy and inexpensive to join; details here.

Upcoming online workshops

All online, and all with your truly (Mike Burrows) unless otherwise specified:

For the latest workshop and speaking events check the Agendashift events calendar.


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Links: Home |
About | Our mission: Wholehearted | Become an Agendashift partner | Assessments | Books | Resources | Events | Contact | MikeSubscribe
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Blog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Community: Slack | LinkedIn group | Twitter