Agendashift roundup, September 2018

In this edition: On disengagement and Engagement Models; Resource updates; Workshops; Right to Left; Top posts

On disengagement and Engagement Models

The 2-year anniversary post Engagement: more than a two-way street very quickly became a top 5 post for the year, and I’m very glad that it did – it makes some key statements of intent and I’m sure that it’s one we’ll keep referring back to.

Very short version:

  • Disengagement is a real problem, and one cause of it is inept change management, of which Agile by imposition is an inexcusable example.
  • Engagement Models – a very helpful term coined by Daniel Mezick and used in his foreword to my Agendashift book – are approaches designed to involve people meaningfully in organisational change, so that they are engaged in the process rather than disengaged. Agendashift is of course an engagement model, and I list some others (which I regard as complementary, not competitors).
  • Another kind of engagement is also essential to the viability of any organisational unit as it transforms: it must continue to participate in the wider organisation, and in such a way that both sides of any organisational divide will thrive. If you have studied viability, you will recognise that there are huge opportunities for organisational design and leadership development there. Inward-looking framework adoptions only exacerbate the problem meanwhile.

Read the whole thing, and expect to see it developed further in our product offerings and in Chapter 4 ‘Viable Scaling’ of the Right to Left, the 2019 book.

Resource updates

The simulation game Changeban is now quite well tested, and I released version 0.4 this month. Only two things keep it from reaching 1.0:

  1. A page of instructions
  2. An alternative deck that uses playing cards rather than coins as the source of variation

I won’t say that it’s better than Featureban (which has served me wonderfully – not bad for a sleepless night’s work) but Changeban is a better fit for my current needs. I still would recommend Featureban if your main goal is to teach the mechanics, basic practices, and metrics of kanban systems, but use Changeban if you’re focusing on product or organisation-related experimentation. Changeban is also a fun way to tee up our A3 template for hypothesis-based change.

Questions? #changeban and #featureban on Slack.

You may also have caught a sneak preview of a new overview picture:

Screenshot 2018-09-17 09.15.08

After some minor tweaks and reformatting for printing, I’ll add this to the poster deck. If you subscribed to that, expect to receive an update in October sometime.

It’s less linear than the original, and from the very positive feedback I’ve received, it’s both easier to understand and more representative of how Agendashift gets used in the wild. It allows for a lot more “circling round” through Operation (for example between Discovery and Exploration as need and outcomes get better understood through initial baby steps of change), or around Elaboration as assumptions get tested.

Workshops

We did another Agendashift Studio this month, a cozy workshop for up to 4 participants in my studio office, with lunch at a Peak District farm shop. I was thrilled that two of the four participants were attendees of past workshops back for a second helping, one of whom also brought a colleague! If you’d like to attend a future Studio, announce your interest in the #agendashift-studio channel in the Agendashift Slack – from there it’s basically an exercise in self-organisation.

Then a busy autumn schedule:

Brighton (myself and Karl Scotland) is only 11 days away! There are still places available, and if you’d like a discount code, feel free to use (and share) SHARE15 for 15% off, or get in touch if you believe a bigger discount might be appropriate. Discount-wise, we give preference to employees of public sector and non-profit organisations, but clients, colleagues, and friends of the community will be seen right too 🙂

Right to Left

Monthly status check: 18,824 words, and I’m part way into the abovementioned Chapter 4, ‘Viable Scaling’, in many ways the pivotal chapter. That’s less than 2,000 words added this month but there have been some fantastic book-related conversations that I’ve found very helpful. You know who you are – thank you!

Top posts

  1. Engagement: more than a two-way street
  2. A small departure from the book
  3. “Core or better”
  4. A small revision to Changeban
  5. How the Leader-Leader model turns Commander’s Intent upside down (June)

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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…

Agendashift roundup, August 2018

In this edition: Another podcast interview; The Agile travesty; Right to Left; Translations; Public workshops (UK*2, IT, DE*2); Speaking (UK*2, IT); Top posts

Another podcast interview

Last month I was interviewed by Vasco Duarte for the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast. For reasons that now escape me this missed the July roundup, so I lead with it this time:

Thank you Vasco, it was fun!

The Agile travesty

This quote from Martin Fowler’s The State of Agile Software in 2018 keynote has drawn quite a bit of attention over the past few days:

Screenshot 2018-08-31 10.47.18

Of course the Agendashift community not only stands against imposition, we offer positive alternatives (or in other words, we’re neither grandstanding nor whining). Authentic engagement on outcomes isn’t that hard, certainly not beyond the capability of anyone who can reasonably claim to be an effective change agent or sponsor. If you’re not sure how, let us show you!

Right to Left

Monthly status check: 17,014 words, three chapters (of six) completed.

I’ve updated the landing page to list the chapters:

The eagle-eyed may spot a subtle title change: there’s no “Lean-Agile” in the book’s title now – given its intended audience it seemed just that bit too jargony.

As promised, two of last months book-related tweets…

…have become blog posts:

The next chapter to be written, 4. Viable scaling, is one I really must get right. Scaling is a controversial topic, but hardly one I can ignore while covering the Lean-Agile landscape. Via Agendashift and a new mystery ingredient I believe I can address the controversy constructively while still remaining fair to all sides. Of course I might just end up offending everyone – we’ll see!

For questions or the latest updates, go to Slack channel #right-to-left. See also some research-related conversations in channel #systhink-complexity.

Translations

As announced this month here and here, the cue card for our Clean Language-inspired coaching game 15-minute FOTO has recently been translated into German, Swedish, and Italian. Thank you Johan Nordin, Alex Pukinskis and Massimo Sarti.

Meanwhile, Agendashift surveys are now multilingual. Short version: survey participants can now switch languages from the default specified by the survey’s administrator.

Public workshops (UK*2, IT, DE*2)

Notes:

  1. Slack channel #agendashift-studio if interested in attending another cozy and low-cost workshop for 3-4 participants in my studio office in Chesterfield (close to the Peak District National Park; lunch is at a local farm shop). Delighted to report that two of September’s participants are attendees of past workshops, returning for more!
  2. The Brescia workshop now has a booking page (it wasn’t ready for last month’s roundup)
  3. The Berlin workshop doesn’t yet have a booking page; watch the LinkedIn group or #events in Slack for updates, or drop me a line

Speaking (UK*2, IT)

Top posts

Recent:

Still going strong:


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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…

 

Agendashift roundup, July 2018

In this edition: Strategy workshop and Agendashift Studio; Right to Left; Public workshops (US, UK, IT, DE); Top posts

Strategy workshop and Agendashift Studio

On consecutive days early this month (before things began to slow down for the summer) I led a private strategy workshop done Agendashift-style and then a small “Agendashift Studio” workshop held in my studio office in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, just outside the Peak District National Park.

For obvious reasons I can’t go into a lot of detail about the private workshop but it did result in a blog post:

There’ll be at least a chapter’s worth of this in the new book (more on that in a moment), covering the use of this kind of outside-in structure for strategy and operations reviews in the kind of depth that wasn’t possible in the Agendashift book.

The Agendashift Studio workshop was a lot of fun. Here’s some great feedback:

We’ve started a new #agendashift-studio channel in the Agendashift Slack for coordinating future Studio workshops. It’s an exercise in self-organisation – if 3 or 4 participants can agree a date that also works for me, then we have a workshop; likely we’ll have another one in the coming weeks, perhaps as soon as August. They’re very affordable, there are generous discounts for government/education/nonprofit etc, and we generally hold them on a Friday or Saturday so that participants can spend some weekend time in the Peak District if they wish.

Right to Left

Monthly status check: 11,258 words, and well into chapter 3. Also, a new landing page:

In addition to the one already mentioned, this month’s blog posts are very much related to the new book:

The first of those is already a top 3 post for the year, which is very encouraging! I happen to know that at least one forthcoming article from a member of the SAFe community has been inspired by it, and I’m hopeful of some constructive engagement with other scaling communities too. If you’re part of one, please get in touch!

Some tweetable thoughts that might become future blog posts:

Right to Left will be my least technical book (it’s aimed at managers first, practitioners second), but still I maintain my usual respect for my sources. I’ve been exploring the Viable System Model as “deep background”, and several of us have been discussing this and other things from the world of Systems Thinking, Complexity, and the Learning Organisation, which you may recognise as a chapter title from my first book Kanban from the Inside. To join us in that particular conversation, find the #systhink-complexity channel in the Agendashift Slack.

Public workshops (US, UK, IT, DE)

Note: Early bird pricing for the Brighton workshop ends on Tuesday.

We’re also looking at doing one in northeast England, perhaps in Newcastle. If that would be of interest, please get in touch.

Top 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…

Agendashift roundup, June 2018

In this edition: Agendashift as…; A new joint 3-day workshop; Happy birthday!; Progress on Right to Left; Out and about; Top posts

Agendashift as…

In recent weeks and in weeks to come we’re pushing boundaries, getting into new areas:

  • Agendashift as an enhancement to Kanban training – using the assessment and some lightly structured “obstacles to outcomes” conversations to organise the day and help participants focus their work on things that really matter. I don’t actively seek out this kind of training opportunity but am happy to deliver an outcome-oriented experience when the call comes!
  • Agendashift as leadership development – another private workshop, helping leaders make the shift away from command and control, getting comfortable with (i) outcomes as the focus for self-organisation, and (ii) experiments as a powerful way to frame and develop actions.
  • Agendashift as business strategy development – “outcome-oriented” meets “outside-in”, the latter just a minor theme of the Agendashift book but one that will see greater prominence in the next one. Expect to hear more in the meantime as we pursue this on the ground, taking our tools of transformation strategy and adapting them for application in more general strategy work.

This October: 3-day Advanced Agendashift + X-Matrix workshop

One of my key collaborators is already very active in the strategy deployment space, and I’m delighted to announce another joint workshop with Karl Scotland. For the first time we’re bringing together the Advanced Agendashift workshop (already at least 2 days worth) and Karl’s X-Matrix workshop. You can be part of that collaboration, joining us for 3 days in Brighton ahead of the Lean Agile Brighton conference. More here:

Happy birthday!

On June 14th our Slack community celebrated its second birthday. Of all the things I’ve helped create, this is definitely one of the coolest. If you’re not participating, you’re missing out! More here about the kinds of channels on offer and how to join:

Progress on Right to Left

A quick monthly update on the third book: 7,164 words, nearing the end of chapter 2, still aiming for early summer next year. I have a ton of other people’s stuff to read and re-read; I’ll put together a new reading list soon.

A reminder meanwhile that the references for the Agendashift book make an excellent reading list:

Out and about

Next week I’m at Agile Cymru in Newport, Wales, where no fewer than 5 Agendashift partners (Jose CasalKarl ScotlandMatt TurnerCat Swetel, and myself) will be speaking! Hope to see you there. A couple of private workshops aside, the summer period will provide some space for writing and development (I don’t mind admitting that I miss programming when I haven’t done it seriously for a while).

Have a great summer (or winter, if you’re south of the equator). There probably will be July and August updates but I will allow myself at least the option of a break!

Top posts

Agendashift roundup, May 2018

In this edition:  ‘Done’ goes viral; Right to left; Reviews for Agendashift; Munich and South Wales; Tools and translations; Upcoming; Top posts

‘Done’ goes viral

I don’t usually start with the blog, but within days of posting, My handy, referenceable Definition of Done jumped to the top of the leader board for 2018, bringing with it a linked post from 2016, Better user stories start with authentic situations of need.

Screenshot 2018-05-05 06.23.15

The reaction to this post was striking. Clearly, most people got what I was doing right away, but a few (5% maybe) seemed offended that I had dared to subvert a cherished Agile concept, the definition of done. I have absolutely no regrets on that score, and not just because it provoked a response: it’s a legitimate target that I’d be only too happy taken down and replaced with better things – definitions of ready (the obvious technical alternative), needs, outcomes, goals, validation, and so on.

Right to left

It seems slightly crazy that I’ve started work on a new book (my third) so soon after Agendashift, but I just can’t help myself!

Are you tired of introductions to Agile (and actual implementations, for that matter) that start “on the left” with projects and backlogs and work their way slowly rightwards to where the long-suffering customer patiently waits for something of value actually to happen? Well so am I, and I’m doing something about it.

My best guess is that Right to left will be available sometime in 2019, and hopefully no more than 12 months from now – let’s call it early summer ’19. There’s no landing page for it yet but there is a #right-to-left channel in the Agendashift Slack and some blog posts:

For completeness, theme 3 of 3, “upside down”, the supportive organisation, will get its own post in the next few days.

In terms of tone, I’m aiming for “a book you’ll happily give your manager and hope they’ll want to pass on to theirs” – less practitioner-focussed than KFTI and Agendashift then, but plenty for the expert to enjoy too I’m sure.

Word count so far: 2,910 (May 31st, 2018).

Reviews for Agendashift

Fewer than I’d like (to be honest I’m a little frustrated), but the reviews we do have are great, all 5-star so far. See for yourself:

Many thanks to those that have taken the trouble so far, and keep them coming!

Munich, and South Wales

For reasons we don’t fully understand, the Munich workshop didn’t quite get off the ground. There were sales, but not quite enough of them came soon enough for us to be confident of being able to give a good experience. Postponed rather than cancelled, and we may find a client organisation both to host it and to ensure numbers. That’s a model that could work in your city too; do get in touch if you have even just a small core of people interested.

Cardiff though – with DevOpsGuys as both excellent hosts and active participants – was great. Again some fantastic feedback for the 2-day Advanced workshop, and I spoke afterwards at the South Wales Agile Group.

I’ll be in South Wales again in July for Agile Cymru, where no fewer than five Agendashift partners will be speaking:  Cat SwetelJose CasalKarl ScotlandMatt Turner, and yours truly. That’s amazing! Clearly, if you want to find good people, you should check out the partner directory, and perhaps decide to join that list yourself 😉

Tools and translations

  • The 15-minute FOTO cue card is now available in German – thank you Agendashift partner Alex Pukinskis
  • Featureban is now available in Spanish – thank you Youssef Oufaska and Daniel Carroza

After a long wait, we finally got to play Changeban during the Cardiff workshop and it worked great! A new version of the deck is now available, a couple of bugs fixed (just with the deck, the game itself worked as planned). More here:

Upcoming

Speaking:

Over the summer period, the only workshops I’ll be doing will either be private or the Agendashift Studio event on July 7th (in my home studio office in Chesterfield, UK, and it’s sold out). Watch this space for an exciting autumn/winter programme.

Top posts

Recent:

From the archives:


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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 evolution 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…

Agendashift roundup, April 2018

In this bumper edition: Out in print; Agendashift Studio; Our first online Lean Coffee; Been to America (see the video); Emergence, Fast and Slow; Upcoming; Top posts

Out in print

I hope that it hasn’t escaped your notice that the Agendashift book is now out in print. 120 copies were given to delegates at London Lean Kanban Days last week and it was great finally to hold a copy in my own hands!

People are telling me that it’s very timely: “imposed Agile” and “fake Agile” are taking their toll, and through Agendashift’s outcome-orientation and continuous transformation we can offer alternatives that are both practical – surprising perhaps for an approach that goes out of its way to avoid prescription, but it’s true – and positive.

Frustratingly, Amazon here in UK are quoting long delivery times on a book that purchasers in the US are already receiving! Please be patient – we’re working with the publishers to resolve this issue and I’m sure that everything will be straightened very soon. It is carried by other online booksellers, for example Waterstones and Barnes & Noble to name but two.

My annoyance with them aside, do please leave a review on your nearest Amazon when you get the chance. Thank you!

Find out more:

Agendashift Studio

London Lean Kanban Days also presented a fantastic opportunity to test a product idea I’ve had in mind for a while. At the end-of-conference charity auction, we raised £500 for Code Club International in bids for a 1-day “Agendashift Studio”, a workshop for up to 4 people at my studio office in Chesterfield, close to the Peak District National Park.

This inaugural event is already sold out, but if you’d be interested in coming to Derbyshire for an intimate 1 or 2-day event, with a flexible agenda based on the Core or Advanced Agendashift material, either for your colleagues (for a small team offsite, perhaps) or joining with a small group of other like-minded practitioners, do get in touch. I hope that we’ll be offering them on a regular basis before long. We’re based just 4 miles from edge of the National Park and 8 miles from Chatsworth; you could easily combine a workshop with other team activities or a short break.  Some of our initial party are already planning to do just that!

Our first online Lean Coffee

Last week we held our first online Lean Coffee. We’ll post the recording in the #leancoffee channel in the Agendashift Slack and in the Agendashift LinkedIn group shortly. Thank you Steven Mackenzie for facilitating.

Been to America (see the video)

I was kept very busy in my trip to Raleigh, NC, speaking on the evening of my arrival, then a lunchtime session, a conference talk, and then an Agendashift workshop. A big thank you again to my host, Kert Peterson for lining these up!

The lunch & learn session at Pendo was recorded – see it here:

Emergence, Fast and Slow

One of this month’s blog posts is already in the top 3 for the year. Give Emergence, Fast and Slow a read if you missed it first time round.

Upcoming

Only two public Agendashift workshops remaining until they restart in the autumn:

Speaking:

Top posts

Recent:


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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 evolution 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…

Agendashift roundup, March 2018

In this edition: Speaking in Central Europe; Coming to America; Out soon in print; Public workshops; Top posts; And finally…

Speaking in Central Europe

This comes to you today from Central Europe where I have just finished speaking at a company-internal conference. One Agendashift-related talk tweaked for the occasion, and another on DevOps written specially (which I hope to use again). It seems a good time to mention that I enjoy speaking at a wide variety of events both public and private – not just (Lean-)Agile conferences – and it’s always nice to be invited 🙂 Thank you Helen Beal and Steve Green at Ranger4 for setting this up.

On that note…

Coming to America

Next week I’m in the US, doing an evening meetup, a lunch & learn, a conference (TriAgile), and a Agendashift workshop, the last of those in association with the conference but not restricted to conference attendees. More info on all of those here. And a big thank you to my host, Kert Peterson.

Out soon in print

A sneak preview of something I’ll announce separately soon: the Agendashift book will soon be out in print – not just revised (for the 7th and final time) but with the addition a cool foreword. I’ll keep the identity of the foreword’s writer a surprise, but here are a couple of clues:

  • “An impressive piece of culture technology”
  • “Part framework and part engagement model, Agendashift is a rich composition of culture technology tools, a composition that forms a complete system.

If you’d like to be notified of when this new version becomes available, ping me. Be aware that the existing e-book will be withdrawn from Leanpub as soon as the new versions are available for pre-order (on most major channels I’m told).

Public workshops

For other events featuring myself &/or other Agendashift partners, see the events calendar. And of course we do private workshops, consulting, and coaching too.

Top posts

New:

From the archives:

And finally…

The LinkedIn group burst through the 1,000-member barrier this month and the (more active) Slack community is catching up fast! See the community links below if you’d to join.


Agendashift-cover-thumbBlog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Links: 
Home | About | Partners | Resources | Contact | Mike
Community: Slack | LinkedIn group | Twitter

We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based evolution 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…