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!


From the exciting intersection of Lean-Agile, Strategy, and Organisation Development, an engagement model fit for the 21st century!
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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:

Leading change in the 21st century? You need a 21st century engagement model:

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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…

Confirmed venue for Lean-Agile Strategy Days, London

Quick one…

The 2-day workshop Lean-Agile Strategy Days, London (June 7th & 8th) has a confirmed venue:

Monticello House
45 Russell Square

That’s fairly central, a 20ish-minute walk from St Pancras International, and close to Russell Square (Piccadilly Line), Goodge Street (Northern Line), and Holborn (Central Line and Piccadilly Line) tube stations.

In case you missed it, here’s a previous post describing this exciting collaboration with my co-facilitator Karl Scotland: Lean-Agile Strategy Days, London. And here’s Karl’s: Lean-Agile Strategy Days: An X-Matrix and Agendashift Fusion.

And read the book! Part I of Agendashift: clean conversations, coherent collaboration, continuous transformation came out exactly a week ago.

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Lean-Agile Strategy Days, London

June 8th is a special day: not just because the UK general election is (somewhat inconsiderately) being held on that day, but because I’m pairing up with Karl Scotland for a 2-day public workshop in London, Lean-Agile Strategy Days.

I like to think of it as “pure & applied” strategy deployment. On day 1, we’ll be experimenting with Lean approaches for engaging people in the development and implementation of strategy. On day 2, we’ll use Agendashift as a model for continuous Lean-Agile transformation, a serious question of organisational strategy if ever there was one.

This workshop is a first, and I’m proud to be doing it with Karl. We describe the workshop as an opportunity for collaboration, and this isn’t just hype. As a key collaborator in the development of Agendashift, Karl did much to push Agendashift upstream, suggesting (and bravely testing) ways to develop the Discovery tools, also to better integrate the Cynefin-related material. He has a gift for nudging me in productive directions, and I would be surprised if something new and exciting didn’t come out of this event.

You can be part of it! Book your place here.

Read Karl’s post: Lean-Agile Strategy Days: An X-Matrix and Agendashift Fusion

PS Did I mention I have a book coming out? May 11th!

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Reflections on another Agendashift Facilitator Day

Day 2 of Hamburg Flow Days was the opportunity to run another Agendashift Facilitator Day, my third. As now seems traditional,  some thoughts on updates to the material prompted by the experience.

Before that, some thanks are in in order: Susanne and Andreas for being such excellent hosts, and Patrick for day 1, centered around his Flowlab, a very flexible Kanban simulation tool. On the morning of day 1 we spent the morning having fun with scenarios not much more complicated than is typical with my own Featureban. In the afternoon we experienced the delights of Customer Kanban, CONWIP systems, and the like. Awesome, both in its own right and for setting the scene!

Day 2 takeaways and updates (already made)

  • The overall shape is solid. I don’t see the 5 main sections (Discovery, Exploration, Mapping, Elaboration, and Operation) changing anytime soon.
  • Clean Language got a lot of love in the post-event retrospective. We know how to facilitate the several exercises that use it now, a whole lot easier since creating the Clean Language cards (pic below; PDF on request).
  • Based on feedback, the deck now has much clearer signposting – no-one should ever again feel at all disoriented. If that was your experience, sorry!
  • The idea of experimentation should seem less technical and more valuable if there is a tough choice to be made between alternative ideas. Should make for a more interesting transition from Mapping to Elaboration (I’ve been guilty of rushing this).


Interestingly, people are still taking the trouble to give feedback on the December workshop. That material seems a little ancient already, but nevertheless it’s gratifying that participants are still finding that it is speaking to them. Why the delay? There is definitely something radical about it (particularly its commitment to conversations and outcomes before solutions), and perhaps it needs time to sink in. Let’s make sure that its radical edge isn’t lost as it becomes more polished in delivery.

Here’s a comment received less than a week ago, two months after the Leeds workshop:

When I originally signed up for the Agendashift workshop I was drawn in by the promise of blending techniques like Clean Language, Cynefin and A3 thinking in an applied sense.  After the workshop what stood out for me most was how the participants started to develop a shared ownership of organisational change through shared outcomes and values.  Ramble over – what I’m trying to say is it even managed to align a bunch of completely random strangers on the day.

Thank you Tony!

Interested? Upcoming Agendashift facilitator days:

Three recent events have sold out and some of the upcoming events have early bird pricing available, so hurry, book your place now!

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Agendashift facilitator days in Leeds and London


Quick one…

In response to demand, we’re looking into running Agendashift facilitator days in Leeds and London, early-mid December and mid January respectively.

You should consider attending if:

  • You’re already an Agendashift partner and you’d like to see and practice the running of an Agendashift debrief/action workshop
  • You’re considering becoming a partner and you’d like to get up to speed quickly
  • You’ve a general interest in Lean-Agile transformation as coach, consultant or sponsor and would like to see what our inclusive, non-prescriptive, method-neutral and values-based approach is all about

Pricing isn’t set yet but we plan to keep this affordable. Locations will be accessible by train. We have some interest from Europe for the London event and we’re likely to choose a location near St Pancras.

If interested, contact me (Mike Burrows) directly or via these links:

Neither of these work for you? We’d love to hear your thoughts on where and when these events could be successful:

Have a great weekend!

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