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.

Who

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

What

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.

LinkedIn and Twitter

Why

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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At last! Featureban 3.0 and Changeban 1.2

As long promised, there is now an official 3.0 version of Featureban that incorporates the best of Changeban, making it easier to facilitate and more fun to play. Changeban itself has a new version 1.2 after some weeks in beta.

For the uninitiated, Featureban is (and I quote) our 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. Changeban was derived from Featureban and retains many similarities, which is how improvements to Changeban have ultimately benefited Featureban too.

Which to use?

  • Featureban if you’re teaching Kanban in a development context and/or want to teach Kanban metrics
  • Changeban for most other purposes

I don’t go out of my way to advertise Kanban training. No big drama there but I have other priorities now and there’s no shortage of people who can do it. However, being the author of a recommended book has its privileges and I do get asked from time to time! In accordance with my experience before explanation” mantra I always start any training with Featureban. I get to use Changeban rather more often these days – it’s a fixture at Advanced Agendashift workshops (see public workshop listings at the end of this announcement).

Key changes:

  • For Changeban, version 1.0 represented the completion of a transition from the use of coins as the source of variation to the use of cards instead (more on those in a moment). Featureban 3.0 does the same, with a transitional (coins or cards) version 2.3 and a classic 2.2 version (coins only) still available for old times’ sake in the Dropbox.
  • Affecting Featureban only, its biggest source of confusion has been eliminated. There is now no mention of pairing and gone are the well-intentioned but non-obvious restrictions that went with that; instead players may “help someone” (anyone!) if they’re out of other options. There is a small price to pay and it’s the reason for my hesitation to address the frustration: the flow efficiency calculation in the spreadsheet is now merely an estimate.
  • Changes to the slides to make both games quicker and easier to introduce. Changeban has improved in this regard even since the recent video! Thank you (once again) to Steven Mackenzie for the nudge and for your own experiments.
  • For practical reasons, it was a mistake on my part to distribute Featureban by sharing links to individual files. There’s now a single combined Dropbox folder with all the files (original sources, PDFs, and translations) for both games. Once you’re subscribed, you’ll always have access to the latest.

Cards:

Coins are not only less ubiquitous than once they were (it’s amazing how times change), they’re fiddly to handle, and they lack the replayability of cards. Trust me, once you’ve made the switch, you won’t want to go back!

Regular playing cards work well enough but I prefer to use these printed cards with the colour-specific rules on them:

These 65mm square cards were done by Moo (advertised as square business cards). We’re very happy with the results from testing but will continue to experiment with other formats. One small niggle here: the accept/reject rule shown here at the bottom of each card applies only to Changeban; this is made clearer in the most recent sources.

Open!

Featureban was one of my earliest experiments in Creative Commons licensing, and never a moment’s regret! Both games are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.

Check out blog posts tagged open for more on our commitments in this area.

Subscribe! Collaborate!

Go to either Featureban or Changeban and request your combined Dropbox invite there. It’s not essential that you subscribe to the two individually – the folder is the same but feel free if you want to signal your interest in both.

And if you haven’t already, I would strongly recommend joining the #featureban and #changeban channels in the Agendashift Slack.


Upcoming Agendashift workshops
(Online, Stockholm, Athens, London, Istanbul, Berlin)


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Needs-based, outcome-oriented, continuous, open

(Updated May 30th with new home page copy)

It’s the week of the Open Leadership Symposium (I landed in Boston yesterday). To celebrate, a quick refresh of the Agendshift home and about pages, both starting with an updated banner:

agendashift-banner-2019-05-07

The ‘open’ is new. A short explanation (the about page has more):

Screenshot 2019-05-30 16.24.53

That’s all! See you tomorrow/Wednesday at the symposium? I’ll expand further on themes of Open, Engagement Models, and Organisation Development – see last week’s post for a taste of that last one. Or Thursday/Friday at the masterclass – still time to book a place?


Upcoming workshops – Boston and Berlin

Watch this space for Greece, Turkey, London, the Benelux region and Scandinavia in the 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…

More ‘Open’, and my first online workshops

I’m getting ready for a busy couple of weeks mid May:

Partly in preparation and partly as housekeeping, I’ve updated the generic workshop description page Advanced Agendashift: Coaching and Leading Continuous Transformation as follows:

  1. Very much in the Open spirit of the Boston symposium, it now has a Creative Commons 4.0 CC-BY-SA license. That’s not quite the big deal that it might sound since the Overview pages that describe all Agendashift-based workshops have long had one, but it’s good to get that sorted.
  2. Its structure now tallies with recent improvements. Day 1 is Learning the language of outcomes. Day 2 is Organising for impact, and it reflects the “rejigging” described in last week’s Notes from the April 2019 Advanced Agendashift workshop, London. I’ve updated the abovementioned Overview pages also.

As a spinoff from Boston (there’ll be discounts for attendees), from June I’ll be offering an online workshop, also titled Learning the language of outcomes. Presented as two 2-hour sessions on consecutive days it will be a great way to get up to speed quickly with outcome-orientation and Clean Language, getting some real practice in applying the latter to the former. At a minimum we’ll cover:

Officially, we launch these at the Symposium, but for a sneak preview (and early bird prices):

In person or online, I hope to see you soon!


Upcoming workshops – Boston, Berlin, Oslo, and Stockholm

Watch this space for Greece, Turkey, London, and the Benelux region in the autumn.

workshop-2x1


Blog: 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 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…

 

Why the Open Leadership Symposium is a big deal

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’ll be speaking and facilitating at the Open Leadership Symposium in Boston on May 14th-15th and leading a masterclass (a 2-day Agendashift workshop) afterwards. If you’re wondering what the fuss is all about, here’s my personal take on something very exciting that is still in the process of emerging, for which the conference represents an important milestone.

Behind the scenes, the conference organisers and some like-minded contributors have been going back to basics, challenging even what we mean by “Open”, let alone the “Open Leadership” after which the conference is named. Along the way, Niels Pflaeging dropped in the the term “Open Social Technologies” and it got me wondering:

  1. What that might term mean for Agendashift and similar frameworks, and
  2. How that differentiates us from the less open (and non-open) incumbents

So, with inspiration from Niels, Heidi Araya, Daniel Mezick, and others, here’s my take, very lightly adapted from a passage I’ve already included in the draft of my forthcoming book [1]:

[Relative to the branded Agile process frameworks, the term] Open Social Technologies represents a much broader, more diverse, and still complementary array of frameworks that address a range of organisational concerns in ways that the process frameworks simply cannot.

They’re open in multiple ways:

  1. Not only are they well documented, they share substantial parts through open source, Creative Commons, and similar mechanisms (including release into the public domain), to the extent that a suitably-experienced practitioner could with effort reproduce and even improve on it, without necessarily licencing whatever conveniences might be available to them on a commercial basis.
  2. They’re open not just to extension (a natural property of any framework) but also to modification and replacement, something that many branded frameworks actively discourage. To be truly open, there must be no mandated practices; instead an attitude of “core or better” [2] prevails, enabling both local adaptation and community-driven innovation.
  3. They are non-exclusive; they combine in multiple, interesting, and exciting ways, the composition often greater than the sum of the parts
  4. They are highly sensitive to context, portable from one social or organisational context to another, producing perhaps radically different outputs according to the situation. To achieve this, they’re generative, such that outputs are generated, organised, prioritised, and developed by participants – predetermined neither by the framework nor the facilitator.

As social tools, they help people to work together, empowering them with decision-making authority, building social capital up, down, and across the organisation and beyond its four walls. This describes both how they work when they’re being used deliberately and the kind of organisational legacy they tend to leave behind. For the engagement models in particular, this internal consistency is an explicit design goal, one that contrasts sharply with the dissonance and disengagement too easily triggered by traditional approaches to change.

A small selection of relevant frameworks that demonstrate all of these properties:

  • The engagement models [3] Agendashift [4] and OpenSpace Agility [5]
  • Clean Language [6], which via Agendashift or on its own is valued by parts of the Lean-Agile community as a coaching protocol. Its heritage however is in psychotherapy – a powerful demonstration of the portability and sensitivity to context described in point 3 above!
  • The large-scale collaboration framework Open Space Technology [7]

The conference brings representatives of these frameworks (and more) under one roof for the first time, and that is surely cause for excitement. We have a programme not just of talks but hands-on workshops also, not to mention the pre- and post-conference masterclasses of which mine is just one. Who knows what might happen? To be honest, I don’t think anyone can be sure, which makes it an event not to be missed.

Further information about the conference can be found here; sign up to the masterclasses here. See you there!

References

[1] Right to Left: The digital leader’s guide to Lean and Agile (due by midsummer 2019)
[2] See the blog post “Core or better”
[3] See agendashift.com/engagement-model
[4] See the site agendashift.com and the book Agendashift: Outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation (New Generation Press, 2018)
engagement model
[5] See the site openspaceagility.com and the The OpenSpace Agility Handbook, Daniel Mezick, Mark Sheffield, Deborah Pontes, Harold Shinsato, Louise Kold-Taylor, and Mark Sheffield (Freestanding Press, edition 2.2, 2015)
[6] See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_Language and for Agendashift’s application of it, the coaching game 15-minute FOTO
[7] Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide, Harrison Owen (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 3rd edition, 2008)

open_leadership_symposium_speaker_burrows


Upcoming Agendashift workshops

See also the recent blog post: Agendashift workshops in Seattle, London, Boston, and Berlin, which includes a detailed description of the 2-day workshop. Workshops facilitated by Mike Burrows (yours truly) unless otherwise indicated:


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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…

Open sourcing our Discovery exercise, Celebration-5W

Here’s how chapter 1 of the Agendashift book opens:

Picture the scene: It’s some months from now, and you’re celebrating! Isn’t it wonderful to see everyone together like this? And you deserve it: over this period, you, your teams, and your entire organisation have achieved far more than anyone would have thought possible. You dared to aim high, and still you smashed it!

What makes this celebration so special? We’re going to explore that via some time travel and the classic journalistic questions of Who, What, When, Where, and Why, otherwise known as the five W’s.

Most Agendashift workshops kick off with this simple time-travelling and context-setting exercise – the first of four Discovery exercises – and now we’ve open-sourced it. Head over to the Celebration-5W page for more information, including a preview of the slides, a video, download information, and related tools and exercises.

The small print:

Celebration-5W is copyright © 2018-2018 Agendashift (a trading name of Positive Incline Ltd). Celebration-5W by Mike Burrows of Positive Incline Ltd is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.

We warmly encourage customisations, adaptations, translations, etc to be made and shared. It seems however that not everyone gets how Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (aka CC-BY-SA) is meant to work, so I’ve added a guidance slide to the deck.

If you have questions, drop me a line or (better) go to channel #workshops in the Agendashift Slack. There are several people there who have facilitated this exercise before. I have used it dozens of times.

Enjoy Celebration-5W!

Screenshot 2018-12-11 13.40.42.png


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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 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…