Outcomes all the way down

“Outcomes all the way down” is an Agendashift catchphrase that my friends at SquirrelNorth (squirrelnorth.com) picked out as the title of a webinar we gave together last week. Here’s the recording:


  1. (3:00) What Agendashift is – the wholehearted, outcome-oriented engagement model – unpacking those terms in reverse order
  2. (17:40) Me interviewing members of the SquirrelNorth team – Martin Aziz, Fernando Cuenca, James Steele, and Alexei Zheglov
    1. “What’s happening when you’re reaching the right customers, meeting their strategic needs?” (the beginning of the Outside-in Strategy Review as described in Right to Left, chapter 5)
    2. How they each respond to an Agendashift assessment prompt of their choice
  3. (48:15) What Agendashift provides – framework, tools, models, workshops (more on that last one in a moment)
  4. (55:30) Q&A

Parts 1 & 3 above follow a structure that’s easy enough to remember / follow and I did it without a slide deck. See the recent post Revisiting ‘wholehearted’ for a stepping stone to that structure; in the process of developing the talk (mostly in my head with a few sticky notes around my screen just in case) the Home and About pages went through a couple more iterations too.

The webinar is part of our preparations for an upcoming Deep Dive workshop. It’s timed for the Americas (SquirrelNorth are based in Canada) and scheduled in manageable chunks spread over 4 days:

It’s already well subscribed but at the time of writing there are still places available. We’d love to see you there!


Upcoming workshops

With yours truly unless otherwise indicated:

And for the latest, check the Agendashift events calendar.

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Quick one…

The name “Stories, Hypotheses, and A3” was proving ironically unwieldy for a short training workshop. It now goes by the handle of the Probe! workshop; full title and details of its first outing on June 25th (EMEA-friendly timing) here:

That is all!



Upcoming workshops

With yours truly unless otherwise indicated:

For some brief commentary:

And for the latest, check the Agendashift events calendar.

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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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What just happened? What they said about the new Impact! workshop

Tuesday saw the public debut of the Impact! workshop. It took place in Tampa ahead of the Open Leadership Symposium there, and it comes to London next week. Use code LONDON2020 for 20% off! Feel free to get in touch privately if you think you may qualify for a larger discount.

What it is

A 1-day, customer-centric workshop, dealing in strategy, outcomes, experiments, and a little bit of leadership and org design. All intended to get product, development, and service delivery of all levels of experience onto the same page, speaking the same language, the language of outcomes.

What they said

  • “These product goal tools/models extremely helpful for product development, both new and already under development”
  • “Aligning organisations to customer needs from the outside in – very insightful”
  • “Thinking tools for the organisation”
  • “Understanding right (needs) to left (process)”
  • “Outcome based experimentation for determining customer needs”
  • “Great approach to product development and strategy”
  • “Bringing practical, high-impact tools to the change practitioner’s toolkit”
  • “Dynamic coaching framework that tames unhelpful advice-giving tendencies”
  • “Highly interactive, real application methods”
  • “Tools easy to understand, thought-provoking to use”
  • “Telling stories and proving concepts”
  • “Highlight: Option Relationship Mapping, especially the customer visibility axis”
  • “Want to see our org try Option Relationship Mapping to solve for product strategy”
  • “Loved 15-minute FOTO – very complementary to other coaching models”
  • “Will use obstacles and outcomes with Clean Language for discovery”

Things to revisit (not all of them for a 1-day workshop)

“Don’t change anything” was one delightful piece of feedback! I won’t be resting on my laurels though. To reflect on:

  • These tools in relationship to larger product development frameworks
  • More case study depth (aka ‘Springboard’)
  • Pointers to opportunities to practice

Pictures: Ulises S. Aguila

Workshops upcoming in 2020 – London (*2), Gurugram, Malmö, Oslo (*2), Tel Aviv, and online

As already mentioned, I’m doing the Impact! workshop next week in London, on Friday 14th, and don’t forget code LONDON2020 for a 20% saving. Coming after that, most of the range of Agendashift workshops! Use NORDIC2020 for Oslo and Malmö.

See also our workshops and events pages. Switzerland (May) to be added soon.

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If you knew where to look, the clues were already there: the Impact! workshop was only the first addition to a growing new family of workshops. I am thrilled now to announce Wholehearted:OKR, not only the Agendashiftiest of OKR workshops and the OKRiest of Agendashift workshops, the most wholehearted too! Of all our workshops, Wholehearted:OKR delivers the most complete realisation of our wholehearted mission, demonstrating how to create opportunities for:

  • Authentic engagement on issues that matter
  • Meaningful participation across strategy, development, and delivery
  • Anticipating and meeting needs
  • Leadership around outcomes (each inviting the other)

Wholehearted:OKR is 2-day strategy workshop that uses the Agendashift Outside-in Strategy Review (OI-SR) as described in chapter 5 of Right to Left both to understand and to introduce Objectives and Key Results (OKR). Get the benefits of OKR, avoid its dysfunctions, and begin to see your organisation differently.

It’s 100% ready to roll, and I can honestly say that I’ve rarely been so pleased with the version 1 of anything. Huge credit therefore to partners Karl Scotland, Steven Mackenzie, and guest contributor Mike Haber who joined me in London for the design meeting, and to Kjell Tore Guttormsen and Teddy Zetterlund for their pioneering work with two of Wholehearted:OKR’s forerunners, the generic OI-SR and the Impact! workshop.

Kjell Tore will be a co-facilitator with me at the workshop’s public debut in Oslo; it’s likely that Karl, Steven, and Mike will join me in London. Book your place now:

Both of the new workshops are designed for both public and private use. If you’re interested in holding a Wholehearted:OKR workshop privately, let me repeat an offer already made to some of my clients: 20% off for any workshop held in January, and 10% off for any booked by the end of that month for delivery at some agreed later date. Perfect for kicking off not just the new year but a new decade!


Amid the excitement around Wholehearted:OKR it’s easy to forget that we haven’t even reached the public debuts for the Impact! workshop yet. Not long to go though – these take place 10 days apart in February, in Tampa, FL and London, UK:


Upcoming workshops – Tampa, London (*2), Gurugram, Malmö, Oslo (*2)

(See also our workshops and events pages)

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Agendashift roundup, November 2019

In this edition: More new stuff; Tampa, London, Gurugram, Copenhagen, Malmö, and Oslo; Top posts

More new stuff!

November saw a couple of key announcements, and they’re related:

Impact! is a new 1-day workshop, a member of a growing family of outside-in strategy review workshops as outlined in chapter 5 of Right to Left. You can think of this one as covering the “outside” part of “outside in”, a way to get started in strategy not by focussing on existing capabilities (these come later in the full review) but on positioning with respect to customer needs.

Meanwhile, the latest update to our Clean Language-inspired coaching game 15-minute FOTO adds an introductory ‘Lite’ mode, which takes not just obstacles as input but an initial shortlist of outcomes too. For the Impact! workshop, the outcomes in question are product (or service) goals.

And there is more in the pipeline – read the next section carefully for clues 😉

Tampa, London, Gurugram, Copenhagen, Malmö, and Oslo

I’ve just reached the end of several weeks of foreign travel for both public and private engagements (training, speaking, and an intense half-day slot at a leadership offsite). Exciting though it all was, it comes as something of a relief that I’m now grounded until February!

Coming up in February and March (read on for some commentary):

A few comments on that programme…

As per the initial announcement of the Impact! workshop (see More new stuff above for the link), I’m thrilled that its first public outing will be at an Open Leadership Network event and certified by that organisation, of which I am an advisory board member. Then I’m back to the city of my birth for a repeat performance, by which time it will be been done privately – and not only by me – a number of times.

I make it to India roughly once a year, and I love it. I hope it’s not my only visit of 2020 but to be sure of participating in an Agendashift workshop in India soon, you’d be advised to take this firm opportunity.

We don’t have a page for it yet, but ahead of the Malmö workshop I’ll also be doing a meetup in Copenhagen. It’s on the way! I’ll fly into Copenhagen, do the meetup, and then take the famous Øresund/Öresund bridge by train from Denmark to Sweden.

As of today (November 29th) there is only placeholder information available about the Wholehearted:OKR workshop scheduled for Oslo. In London last week I spent a very productive afternoon with Agendashift partners Karl Scotland and Steven Mackenzie and special guest contributor Mike Haber to design it, and trust me, it will be worth the wait 🙂 Expect a more complete announcement in the next week or two.

Via its teaser curriculum page I am already receiving enquiries for private workshops. If you’re looking to kick off 2020 with some participatory strategy, do get in touch, whether it’s for this, one of our other workshops, or something custom. And don’t forget to ask about January discounts!

Top posts

  1. What I really think about SAFe
  2. From Reverse STATIK to a ‘Pathway’ for continuous transformation
  3. Announcing v7 of 15-minute FOTO
  4. Announcing a brand new (but tested) workshop:
    Impact! Strategically outcome-oriented for products and services
  5. There will be caveats: Warming cautiously to OKR


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Impact! Strategically outcome-oriented for products and services

So here it is, the Who, What, Where, When, and Why of a new Agendashift workshop: Impact! Strategically outcome-oriented for products and services.


Well… you of course! In one or more of the following roles:

  • As the sponsor of a strategy workshop for your product line or service (or perhaps your team, department, division, or whole organisation, but there’s more on this workshop’s scope, intent, and alternatives further down this post)
  • As a participant, anyone with a stake in the strategy for your product or service
  • As a practitioner, attending a public workshopready to practice, to learn, and be challenged
  • As an Agendashift partner, authorised to facilitate of what looks set to be the easiest of our workshops to run


From the blurb (there’s more there):

Impact! is a 1-day Agendashift workshop focussed on products and services. It is suitable for product teams, service delivery teams, managers, and expert practitioners. It covers:

  • Capturing business context
  • Hypotheses and experiments
  • Alternative/complementary expressions of user need
  • Thinking strategically about outcomes
  • Managing your portfolio of experiments – optimising and organising for learning
  • Experiment design with A3
  • And briefly, some implications for organisation design

Many of the concepts covered in the Impact! workshop are introduced in Right to Left: The digital leader’s guide to Lean and Agile, chapters 5 and 6. Reading the book is not a prerequisite, but if you enjoyed the book, you’ll love the workshop – and vice versa!

Coming as it does from the Agendashift stable, you can be sure that our needs-based and outcome-oriented philosophy shines through. The tools you’ll experience, among them Celebration-5W, 15-minute FOTO, Changeban, and Experiment A3 – all open source – aren’t about imposing cookie-cutter solutions on people but creating opportunities for them to participate in a collaborative exploration of the landscape of obstacles and outcomes, within which your key opportunities lie.

When & Where

We’re already doing Impact! workshops privately, and interest from other partners (Stockholm-based partner Teddy Zetterlund for example has two in the pipeline) has enabled us to iterate rapidly, refining the content and improving the overall experience. If you’d like to host one, get in touch, or check out the partner directory and find a partner near you.

The first two public outings of the Impact! workshop will be in February, in the US and the UK:

It’s no accident that we’re launching at an Open Leadership Network event. As I’ve been saying in the run-up to Berlin (November 19th with masterclasses either side; ping me for a chunky discount):

For the kind of engagement that sparks not just effort but collaboration, self organisation, and innovation, ‘generative’ beats ‘prescriptive’ hands down. Conversely, if you want to destroy those things, try imposition.

And the good news: It’s really not that hard! Sadly under-recognised by mainstream Agile but there are some great engagement models out there. Agendashift is mine I’m but proud to part of an openleadership network that gathers multiple and complementary approaches together.

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For a year or more there have been two families of Agendashift workshop:

  1. Transformation strategy workshops Core, Applied, and Advanced, Core and Advanced being suitable for public training workshops, Applied for internal use, focussed on the host/client organisation
  2. Outside-in strategy review workshops, for which the material exists for use by partners but in a form suitable only for internal use

The first family is very much as described in Agendashift, the second in Right to Left chapter 5, “Outside in” – for a number of readers its most impactful chapter. See also Oslo-based partner Kjell Tore Guttormsen describe his positive experience facilitating it prior to Right to Left‘s publication.

We have now a very encouraging answer to questions posed in Agendashift: if we replaced or even removed the Lean-Agile content from Agendashift – the True North and the assessments in particular – would what’s left still be valuable? Can we do other things with the various tools? Yes to both! Very much so!

Partly to address the suitability of the outside-in strategy review workshop for public use (and also because its joint theme interests us greatly), I’ll be meeting partners Karl Scotland and Steven Mackenzie and guest contributor Mike Haber in London soon to plan a 2-day Wholehearted:OKR workshop. Meanwhile and very fortuitously, the opportunity to do a private 1-day workshop for a group of product consultants gave me the ideal head start, and the Impact! workshop is the result.

From time to time, transformation strategy workshops go in the direction of product strategy instead of their usual focus on ways of working. Similarly, I’ve already seen the new workshop go in the direction of business strategy, which is more the domain of the generic outside-in review. That’s the power of the generative approach at work and I don’t mind it at all, but still it’s good to be able to offer these choices explicitly at the time the workshop is organised. An easier sell, certainly!

Related posts

Upcoming workshops – Berlin, Oslo, Malmö, and online

New dates for USA and UK coming soon!


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New dates for your diaries

Only 8 days since the September roundup and there’s more! Late-breaking news:

  • Online update and Lean Coffee next week (free, all welcome)
  • Open Leadership Symposium, Berlin
  • New/moved workshops, Oslo and online

Online update and Lean Coffee (free, all welcome)

Via Zoom:

There’s no need to register (but RSVP via Slack if you like); just join here:

12:30 UK time is 13:30 CET and 07:30 ET.

Open Leadership Symposium, Berlin

You may remember how excited I was by the prospect and experience of the first Open Leadership Symposium, which took place in Boston in May. Now it comes to Europe!

The Berlin event takes place on November 19th, with masterclasses the day before and after. Details here:

Note that as per the calendar below I’m doing a 2-day Advanced workshop in Berlin the week before, a prior (and regular) engagement. Symposium participants will however get a discount for the online workshop, for which the Open Leadership Network (the symposium’s organisers) are the certifying body.


Upcoming workshops: Istanbul, Berlin, Oslo, and online

New: Oslo was added only today! There’ll be a meetup (topic: Outside-in Strategy Review) on the first evening too.

Moved: Due to a combination of 1) an idiotic mistake on my part and 2) circumstances beyond my control, I needed to move the two upcoming online Agendashift workshops “Learning the Language of Outcomes”. The first of these is now rescheduled for December and I’ll be adding some 2020 dates soon.

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Five public Agendashift workshops this autumn: Stockholm, Athens, London, Istanbul, Berlin


Very pleased to confirm this autumn programme of public workshops:

As well as to partners Kjell Tore, Nikos, and Leanovate (my repeat hosts in Berlin), I’m grateful to the organisers of these conferences, without whom two of these workshops wouldn’t be happening:

Can’t wait that long? Can’t travel? Check out these online workshops:

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5 reasons to come to an Agendashift workshop

The day before the main conference Italian Agile Days 2018 (Brescia, November) I’m doing a Pre-conference workshop: Facilitating Outcome-Oriented Change. To help publicise the workshop I did a quick Q&A with organisers Stefano and Fabio and it seemed a waste not to reuse it, so here it is!

1. Why do I have to participate?

The Agile community is waking up to the fact that Agile by imposition is not only wrong, it doesn’t work. “An absolute travesty” is how Agile manifesto signatory Martin Fowler described it recently. Of course, if all you were going to do about it was to complain, that would just be whining and you’re better than that – you want practical alternatives.

2. What problems will help me deal with?

One reason that mediocre systems get built is that people fixate on solutions and their so-called requirements long before needs have been explored and meaningful outcomes articulated. If they are to work at their best, it’s important that Agile teams have meaningful goals to self-organise around; often these are lacking too.

3. What do I take home from the workshop?

You will learn some practical tools for exploring and organising shared ambitions, obstacles, and outcomes. You will then learn how to generate options, frame hypotheses, and develop your ideas. You’ll be exposed to ideas from Lean, Agile, Clean Language, Cynefin, Story Mapping, Lean Startup, and A3 – integrated into one coherent engagement model, a framework you can use in your coaching or change management role.

4. What do I lose if I do not participate?

You’ll be missing out on the chance to participate in the first public workshop of its kind in Italy! (Each of the workshops listed below is unique in its own special way)

5. What will we do in the workshop?

Expect a day packed with hands-on exercises, all of them business-relevant, many of them producing useful artefacts. You don’t need to be an expert, just willing to participate!

Screenshot 2018-09-17 09.15.08

Public Agendashift workshops this autumn:

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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…