I don’t mind admitting it: I was struggling a bit with chapter 5 (the last chapter of Part I and the main obstacle to initial publication). Then came London Lean Kanban Days 2017 and corridor conversations with Karl Scotland, Greg Brougham, Patrick Steyaert, and Ray Edgar that continued on Slack afterwards.

I was only too happy to scrap my first attempt and start again. What got the juices flowing again was this simple picture:

Screenshot 2017-04-06 05.34.27

It occurs to me that there’s a trap that Lean, Agile, and Lean-Agile folks fall into more often than they realise: believing that responsiveness (of delivery) implies adaptability, the ability to develop new capabilities and new levels of capability in the organisation. There’s a correlation certainly, but the trap is another way of describing the issues I raised a few weeks ago in Why Agile needs some 21st century Lean thinking. To what extent is responsiveness just a local optimisation, doing what we do increasingly quickly, but never breaking out of our comfort zone?

The rewritten chapter 5 takes the Agendashift Values-based delivery assessment and refocuses it on adaptability. The original version doesn’t completely ignore capability and adaptability but as its name implies, it is mostly about delivery. It turns out however that necessary modifications are very modest, an almost mechanical translation: yes there definitely is a relationship between responsiveness and adaptability, a kind of duality even.

These dualities aren’t new. Lean Startup demonstrates that tools for process improvement can be applied to product development, and vice versa. If your organisation can get to understand that change is work and value them both the same, much of the rest follows.


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