Everyday Kanban

Discussing Management, Teams, Agile, Lean, Kanban & more

Lean Agile Scotland 2016: Let’s not get rid of managers!

screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-10-36-12-amI had heard nothing but stellar things about Lean Agile Scotland so I decided to submit a few talks in hopes that I would be selected. I was fortunate enough to be asked to give a talk on why managers are still important in the workplace, why we shouldn’t hate them as much as we want to and things you can do as a manager to be valued by your team.

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Flow Efficiency: A great metric you probably aren’t using


How efficient is your flow?

One of the questions that working professionals get asked the most is “When will my request be completed?” In order to answer, we often look at lead time metrics to give a predictable answer. Looking at lead times over a period of time can give us a pretty high confidence level in setting delivery expectations. It is a strategy for predictability.

When we look at improving those lead times, we often focus on how to improve the active work we do for the requests we receive. We might improve test automation, implement code review process and/or continuous delivery pipelines. Those are all great endeavors. However, too many teams are not aware that the biggest way to improve the lead times for our work may actually be focusing on reducing the time we spend NOT working on our requests.

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First, decide what not to do

Surrender to backlog

We spend our days feeling as if we are buried under a mountain of expectations. When I was a manager in enterprise companies, I frequently saw teams with multi-year backlogs, not accounting for projects or new requests!  I’m confident in saying that this is an extremely common situation in companies of all sizes.

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