Padawan´s Series: Scrumban or Agile@Maintenance!

Yes! Getting back to the basics! Yes, I know it is not a brand-new topic but people often ask during my workshops about how to incorporate and adopt agile practices within their Technology maintenance projects.

Although the basic flow is very simple and nowadays everyone says ¨I know everything about Kanban¨ or ¨my team has mastered in using Kanban¨ then I do often realize people over-complicates its usage.

Kanban is Japanese word that translates to signboard in English. It was first developed and adopted by Toyota late in 1940s. It is a simple scheduling and demand management system used to create, support and deliver a set of products and solutions.

What are the initial steps in adopting a Kanban system in maintenance projects?

First, you need to define a basic workflow in reflecting a sequence of steps in producing something and it will be dependent on the work you are doing and the processes used by your organization.

What is a simple set of steps?

Basically, the set of steps should reflect the tasks your team is executing each day. Pretty simple steps as follow:

  • Initial/ To do:
  • In progress
  • To verify/To check
  • Done

How to visualize the work?

You and your team can visualize the work using a physical or a digital board. This visualization board is very effective for the team members within an organization, program or project that are using a kanban system.

You can stick a card or a post-it note and move them manually per the flow or use a digital solution depending on your needs. It is a special need for non-collocated teams or teams that may support more than one customer at the same time.

Today there are exceptional tools you can use such as:

or just use a physical board if your team is 100% collocated!

Now you have a workflow, a board system. What is next?

A key success factor in a kanban system is about determining priority and WIP (Work in Progress). There is a need to define a method of priority setting to guarantee that the most important tasks will be carried our first or as soon as possible.

On a kanban board the most important task cards or post-it notes are placed higher up the board and maybe with a color system that helps highlight the top items.

The priorities can be defined by one person such as a product owner, one experienced team member on the product or by a self-organizing team.

It is very important to establish work in progress limits. It does allow individuals applying this “pull system” to manage the level of multitasking.

Please notice:  A multitasking team may end up with concurrent activities that may impact the effectiveness of the work which means that an incomplete item should never be moved to a next step of the flow. Focused teams produce high quality products/solutions.

“Scrumban” or whatever name you want to use: How to get better to improve the process flow?

Now you have the demands organized per your flow and you can visualize them in the board. As time goes on, you will find ways to improve the way you and your team work. You can use daily stand up meetings to address and remove blockers as well promote team’s collaboration.

Prior to a planning discussion and after 2 or 3 weeks, in a fixed time box period, you may have a retrospective meeting to find out how to improve the current process.

As demands go up and down you can discuss about the WIP limits and the team may decide if there is need to adjust the limit. This approach can be adapted per your needs in supporting the business, program, project and organizations.

I want to hear your opinion!

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Business Agility 2017 in New York – Day 2 Review

Leading the Transformation

Second day and guess what? Amazing stories and insights about the transformation journey DBS has taken to emerge as a more agile organization by Paul Cobban. I still remember a reaction from someone from audience when Paulo talked about “making banking joyful for both customers and employee.

The person said in clear and loud sound “Oh my!” following by a big and surprised laugh. Usually this the reaction when people talk about the benefits of agile mind set in big and traditional industries.My wife worked for a bank for many years and believe me! She and her ex-colleagues were not living a joyful moment there.

Paul did an amazing job in walking us through DBS’s journey and the main transformation points that drove DBS culture to a wining bank among competition that were comprised by a set of practices from lean, agile, design thinking, innovation, big data and motivated people looking for change.  He make a joke about the meaning of DBS: Damn Bloody Slow but it turned out to be leading the market in Singapore’s area.

  1. Eliminate the waste: a lean approach to understand your cost per transactions or a simple metric that can help you identify waste in your day-to-day activities.
  2. Design from Customer Back: understand your client’s journey. Get close to their routine and get to know them and make all efforts to design your organization to serve and add value to them. The client is your boss not your manager, process and super fancy group of buzz words.
  3. Be data driven: when you are able to combine and match data (structured and unstructured data) with client’s information the magic happens. Decisions can be more effective and the impact in terms of value that client perceives is huge.
  4. Create a culture of innovation: Allow people to experiment and try new ideas then let them fail and learn from the experience. I bring this sentence with me every time I am struggling on how to implement something:  Start small and grow fast!
  5. Codify the culture: make sure everyone is talking and walking the speech. Lean practices to eliminate the waste, design thinking, data and innovation culture. These are the pillars that might lead your organization and clients to a new level of joyfulness

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Business Agility Conference 2017

bac-2017-logo Hello Everyone! I was counting the days for this conference on business agility! This is the first conference of its kind. There are many cool topics, great people as speakers, thought leaders and deep dive sessions  that will blow your mind with new ideas. The topics will be presented on a TED format and will cover the following:

  • Introducing Business Agility
  • Governance & Strategy
  • Leadership & Empowerment
  • Leading the Transformation
  • People & Engagement
  • Fearless Change

I will contribute as a facilitator in the deep dive sessions and I will be sharing new ideas and thoughts along the week. For more information, please click on the logo above. See you all there!