Everyday Kanban

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

Month: February 2013

Why improvement initiatives fail

How many times have you heard “We tried that and it was horrible. It just didn’t work for us.”? I hear that a lot. Heck, I have even said that at times in the past regarding ideas for team improvement. Its a very common condition that a company will bring in a consultant to implement a big change initiative that is set to greatly improve a team or company’s performance. Often it is a big, sweeping change such as taking waterfall teams to scrum or some other way of working that really requires a complete shift in how you think about work. Now, if you do these methods like Scrum, XP, etc well and the team is ready for this size change, you can really reap some rewards. However, a good percentage of the time these methods are scrapped and the initiative is abandoned. Why is that?

The answer is that they’ve fallen into the J-Curve and can’t get up. Have you ever heard the phrase “it is going to get worse before it gets better?” Remember the last time a new person joined your team… how there was an initial negative impact on productivity before it got better? That’s exactly what the J-Curve depicts.

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Resources & Bookshelf

I have added a few links to my resources page and will be updating it with much greater detail over the next couple of weeks.

Also, thanks to a nifty new goodreads type feature I came upon via @toddaclarke, I have added a bookshelf to my blog! Go check out what I am getting into on the literary front these days!

Measure twice, cut once?

Last week I attended my first Lean Coffee here in my new city, Seattle. It was a great experience that I look forward to going to again. In fact, I suggest that everyone look for a Lean Coffee in their area, or create one!

At this Lean Coffee I was challenged, albeit nicely, on my desire for my development team to do more thinking before execution and creating more design documents. In fact, I’m strongly encouraging it in my team. The premise to the challenge is that this felt more waterfall than agile. That, maybe it is preferred to do a rapid prototype approach with a higher acceptance of risk.

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