The Agendashift blog’s top posts of 2018

It’s hard to predict how any given post will perform, but I’m pretty happy with how these have come out, not least because they seem to bode well for my 2019 book, Right to Left: The digital leader’s guide to Lean and Agile. Two lists, starting with posts published in 2018:

  1. My handy, referenceable Definition of Done (May)
  2. ‘Right to Left’ works for Scrum too (July)
  3. Right to Left: a transcript of my Lean Agile Brighton talk (October)
  4. Engagement: more than a two-way street (September)
  5. Understanding Lean-Agile, right to left (May)
  6. Changeban has reached version 1.0 (November)
  7. How the Leader-Leader model turns Commander’s Intent upside down (March)
  8. A small departure from the book (September)
  9. You can’t deliver a task (August)
  10. My kind of Agile (November)

And some perennial favourites published pre 2018:

  1. Introducing Kanban through its values (January 2013)
  2. Featureban 2.0 (June 2016)
  3. Better user stories start with authentic situations of need (October 2016)
  4. Scrum and Kanban revisited (August 2017)
  5. STATIK, Kanban’s hidden gem (March 2014)

Subscribe here for monthly roundups and very occasional mid-month announcements

Upcoming public Agendashift workshops (India*2, UK, Netherlands):

Also: Channel #agendashift-studio in the Agendashift Slack if interested in a cozy workshop at Agendashift HQ (Derbyshire, England).


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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, December 2018

In this pre-Christmas edition: India (and webinar); Being Human; Right to Left (with a plea for help); Celebration-5W; Top posts

But first, let me thank you for your support through 2018 and wish you a peaceful and prosperous 2019. If you are taking a break for Christmas, have a good one! I will try to keep this short 🙂

India (and webinar)

There’s still time to book places at one of my two Agendashift workshops in India mid next month. Details under ‘Upcoming public workshops’ near the bottom of this post or see last month’s announcement:

As part of our preparations, I’ll be doing a webinar with my hosts Innovation Roots on Monday, January 7th at 11am UK time, noon CET, 16:30 IST:

Being Human

Another podcast interview this month, this time an extended conversation with my friend and Being Human host Richard Atherton. Here:

Right to Left (with a plea for help)

The monthly progress check on my forthcoming book Right to Left: The digital leader’s guide to Lean and Agile:

  • 30,317 words
  • Five out of the six chapters written, four of those reviewed, and one out for review today

The plea for help: For chapter 1 (which introduces Lean), I’d really like to visit a manufacturer of power tools. If through your network you could help make that happen I’d be eternally grateful!

Celebration-5W

Announced this month:

Top posts

Early in the new year I’ll list the top posts for the whole of 2018.


Subscribe here for monthly roundups and very occasional mid-month announcements

Upcoming public Agendashift workshops (India*2, UK, Netherlands):

Also: Channel #agendashift-studio in the Agendashift Slack if interested in a cozy workshop at Agendashift HQ (Derbyshire, England).


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 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, November 2018

In this edition: Changeban 1.0; Right to Left; Life in Agendashift land; Podcast interview; Top posts

Changeban 1.0

As per recent roundups, I’m in the process of updating some of Agendashift’s Creative Commons-licensed assets (and also considering releasing one or two more, but that’s another story). Of those, the fastest mover is Changeban, fast-moving in the sense both that it has been through some rapid evolution in recent weeks (one upside of a heavy travel schedule is the number of opportunities to test it) and that it has been a very popular download. Here’s the announcement on Changeban 1.0:

changeban-crazy-wip-2018-11-26

Right to Left

Monthly status check: 29,604 words and I have at last completed a draft of the potentially controversial (but to me common sense) chapter 4, Viable scaling, something I admit I had been putting off. There’s also a rough chapter 5, Outside in, leaving only chapter 6 unstarted. If the intro counts as quarter of a chapter, it’s 80% complete (apart from the remaining 99% of course) and I should be able to keep it to around 40,000 words.

Lifted verbatim from chapter 2:

Life in Agendashift land

Quite apart from the writing (no hardship at all), things have been pretty busy in recent weeks. A pre-Brexit tour took me to three different EU countries in three weeks, with a public 1-day workshop in Brescia, Italy, a 2-day workshop in Berlin, Germany, and a private workshop in Dublin, Ireland, a followup to one a few weeks previously.  Julia Wester has the last big public workshop of 2018 next week in Munich, Germany (details here).

Already in the calendar for January are two workshops and two conferences in India, details here. We’re pencilling a 2-day workshop in Utrecht, Netherlands for early April (watch this space) and I intend to announce both 1-day and 2-day workshops in London. There’s a decent pipeline of private workshops developing too.

Lastly, at the time of writing there is one place free at the Agendashift Studio on Friday December 7th. By definition, this is at my studio office in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, with lunch at a local farm shop. You might like to stay in the area and visit the Peak District national park over the weekend (I feel very lucky to have it on my doorstep). £195, with 40% off for government/education sector employees. There’s no booking page, just drop me an email or ping me on Slack, the sooner the better.

Top posts

  1. Changeban has reached version 1.0
  2. Agendashift is not a maturity model
  3. My kind of Agile
  4. Right to Left: a transcript of my Lean Agile Brighton talk (October)
  5. Agendashift’s many extension points
  6. Engagement: more than a two-way street (September)
  7. How the Leader-Leader model turns Commander’s Intent upside down (June)
  8. Right to Left’ works for Scrum too (July)

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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, October 2018

In this edition: Brighton; Right to Left; Featureban (DE); Other resources; Three public workshops still to come in Europe this year; 2019 Calendar; Top posts

Brighton

I spent the second week of October in Brighton (UK’s hippest city, according to Wikipedia). Tuesday to Thursday was a joint 3-day masterclass with Karl Scotland, then on Friday I was the last speaker of the day at a brand new conference, Lean Agile Brighton.

By a country mile and already a top 5 post for the year, the transcript for my short (20-minute) talk is this month’s top post. Speaking last gave me a great opportunity to namecheck several other speakers, also one or two other collaborators and influencers that were in the audience.

If you missed it:

Right to Left

Monthly status check: 24,755 words and I’ve completed an initial draft of the 5th chapter of 6. With roughly half of chapter 4 deferred and an introduction still to write, I estimate that this first draft is approaching 70% complete. But before I continue to chapter 6, enough time has passed that I can look at the existing material with fresh eyes, and I’ve started on a round of revision.

Overview, with an initial cover design:

Featureban (DE)

Even without an official German language translation, our Kanban simulation game Featureban has been played quite a bit in Germany. And now there is one – thank you Tim Themann!

Go to the downloads section of the Featureban landing page to get your copy. Also available in English, French, Polish, Russian, Italian, and Spanish.

Other resources

I’ve substantially reworked Agendashift’s about page, which as well as a refresh of the text incorporates the new clickable Overview image and a link to the new Engagement model page.

Next I plan to bundle up what the Resources page refers to as “referenceable elements” such as the True North, Principles, and Done along with the old poster and the aforementioned Overview image into one convenient download. Each of these are single-slide (or single image) resources that are referenceable in the sense that they each have their own nice url, and are published under a Creative Commons with-attribution license to facilitate adaptations, translations, etc. I’ll do 16×10 format first and then A4 for those assets that would benefit most.

Work on Changeban 1.0 and Featureban 2.3 will begin after that.

Three public workshops still to come in Europe this year

Julia Wester deserves a special mention: she’s coming over from the US in December to lead a 1-day workshop Core Agendashift: Facilitating Outcome-Oriented Change in Munich, Germany, in a tie-up with DevOpsCon.

Before that, I’m doing a 1-day workshop in Brescia, Italy on November 9th (Friday next week) in conjunction with Italian Agile Day 2018 on the 10th, then a 2-day Advanced workshop in Berlin, Germany, 21-22 November, courtesy of my friends at Leanovate.

2019 Calendar

Nothing published yet, but expect to see a 2-day UK workshop in Q1, and (fingers crossed) appearances in the US, India, and mainland Europe. Also, expect Agendashift Studio workshops to take place roughly quarterly; these are cozy workshops for 3-4 participants at Agendashift HQ here in Chesterfield, UK, organised informally via the #agendashift-studio channel in Slack.

As always, if you’d like to see a workshop at a location convenient to you (whether public or private, and I’m doing the latter with increasing frequency), do please get in touch. Conference tie-ins work particularly well, making it double value for the trip for everyone involved.

Top posts

Recent:

  1. Right to Left: a transcript of my Lean Agile Brighton talk
  2. 5 reasons to come to an Agendashift workshop
  3. Engagement: more than a two-way street (September)
  4. Dealing with internal contradictions – if they can’t both be true at the same time, then what?
  5. A small departure from the book (September)

A couple of Kanban-related classics also did particularly well this month:

  1. Scrum and Kanban revisited (August 2017)
  2. Introducing Kanban through its values (January 2013)

In case you’re new here, that second one is the career-changing post that led to my first book. Even though Kanban is now only a small part of what I do, it still has to be said that the rest wouldn’t have happened without it. Values got me to outcomes, and outcomes is what Agendashift and Right to Left are all about.


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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 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, 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)

Agendashift-cover-thumbBlog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Links: Home | About | Partners | Resources | Contact | Mike
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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


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 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…