What’s your Passion #15 – Employee Engagement

W. Edwards Deming is credited with saying,

  • “a bad system will beat a good person every time.” 

Gallup’s US Employee Engagement Survey 2020 (an improvement over 2019 despite the pandemic) reported the following trends:

  • 36% are actively engaged
  • 50% are disengaged
  • 14% are actively disengaged
Click link above for source.

It is stunning that 64% are either disengaged or actively disengaged. 

The brutal facts, Globally (latest from 2018), are even more alarming:

  • 15% are actively engaged
  • 67% are disengaged
  • 18% are actively disengaged

Is it any wonder, then, that 58% of all Agile efforts and 74% of “hybrid” projects fail? It’s a miracle any company survives with engagement numbers like that.
What do you think

PS Here are the associated links to this blog post for:

#culture #scrum #agile #pmi #pmp #kanban #lean #flow #scaledagile #transformation #change #transform

What’s your Passion #14 – Prioritization à la 1984

No, not the book by Orwell.

This post is about a prioritization methodology from the year 1984. That’s when the first Franklin Quest day planner was introduced to the world with the classic layout:

Click image above for source

Already back then the idea of a prioritized backlog (of work) already existed in the “Prioritized Daily Task List” (image above). It was re-prioritized by the user on a daily basis (should sound familiar to most agilists).

Nothing new under the Sun.

But, the history of the idea of prioritization stretches even further back. Great leaders down through the ages have all used similar methodologies to get things done.

For example, Nehemiah already employed almost every Agile methodology in use today. Ted and I shared about that in our first Amazon best-seller, “The Nehemiah Effect: Ancient Wisdom from the World’s First Agile Projects.” We also follow-up with over 13 real-world case studies in our book “Flow: Get Everyone Moving in the Right Direction . . . and Loving It.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower used the following prioritization matrix to separate the urgent from the not urgent and the important from the not important:

My best guess is that the former President of the US was using his matrix (at least he’s given credit for it) long before he was elected President back in 1953.

Franklin Quest went on to include Eisenhower’s matrix in his task and time management system called the Franklin Day Planner (dedicated to and named after Benjamin Franklin’s time management system that Ben developed during his lifetime, all the way back in 1706-1790).

Franklin Quest’s system (first image at the top of this post) incorporated Eisenhower’s prioritization matrix so that tasks are prioritized by A (Do), B (Delegate) and C (Decide). “D” (Delete) items didn’t even make the list … which is a very lean concept for eliminating wasteful activities and tasks. The single, most powerful part of lean is eliminating waste in the value chain. Eisenhower’s matrix is a great way to do that.

Mindset always outperforms toolset.

All project and product management simply Distills down to People and Tasks. And, light and easy to communicate (and follow) principles, values and mindset-based frameworks will always out-perform top-heavy, rules-based monolithic toolsets, methodologies and/or delivery models.

And, Franklin’s approach was just one example of a simple, easy to use time and task management framework that links your daily tasks to your personal and business vision, mission, goals and objectives … and … being successful in achieving and realizing your overall vision and goals.

This is probably why most people from the business side in an organization start to scratch their heads when the tech and IT teams are so “over-the-top” enthusiastic about Agile.

Successful business leaders have already been using and implementing “agile” and “lean” thinking via approaches like Franklin (or similar) for more than the past three decades. I won’t go into how Franklin breaks down Vision, Epics, Capabilities and Features down to User Stories (i.e. Product Backlog items) and then to Tasks in this post … but, the ideas are all contained in the methodology (although he uses other labels).

A (value) chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Organizations are only as successful as the success achieved by each and every individual in that organization. If an individual can’t prioritize and deliver what is most important and valuable to their team and organization in their daily work, then the odds for failure are quite high since they have become a single point of failure. This is one of the contributing factors that has led to 58% of Agile projects failing (and up to 74% of traditional projects failing). And, even change management efforts consistently fail at a rate of around 70%.

It’s both an art and science.

There is a huge body of knowledge outside of the project management communities that is parallel to (and overlaps) the PMBOK, Scrum and Agile. Those bodies of knowledge are both rational and “high-touch” all at once. It includes the pursuit of personal and organizational excellence. Everyone wants to be on a winning team. And, the teams that have the right habits (including the pursuit of excellence in how to deliver their personal and team backlogs of work) are the ones that win:

  • “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle

If you are interested in integrating the pursuit of excellence in everything you do, that your team does (including everything that touches, Product, Program, Portfolio, Process and Line Management as well as your entire organization), then let’s chat!


PS Here are the associated links to this blog post for:

#culture #scrum #agile #pmi #pmp #kanban #lean #flow #scaledagile #transformation #change #transform

What’s your Passion #13 – Cultural Advantage

Agile, Lean & Exceptional Value Delivered in Sweden

Culture eats everything for breakfast, lunch and dinner!!!

Cultural antibodies quickly rise up to smother the invaders. Classic “not-invented-here” syndrome. If an individual does not know how to effectively run and win a political campaign at all levels, then game over. The best you’ll get are isolated pockets of success.

During the past twenty+ years, I’ve had the honor and privilege to work with some amazing teams in Sweden (I was based there 8 of 20+ years). So, it is no surprise to me that frameworks and methodologies that emphasize collaboration, cooperation and consensus should work well in Sweden, for example:

  • Scrum – Jeff Sutherland, Ken Schwaber
  • Scaled Agile – Dean Leffingwell, Ken Schwaber, Jeff Sutherland
  • Lean – most trace the origins of Lean to Henry Ford (and his visit to the Butcher shop) and some even to Ransom E Olds (who patented the production line first)

To me, what is fascinating is that these frameworks seem to work cross-culturally, but that national culture can impact your results not just in Sweden but also in the Americas, Asia and the rest of Europe.

For example, since the national culture in Sweden has collaboration, cooperation, consensus and agreed-upon values at its core, my Swedish colleagues should have had a natural head-start over many other regions when using Agile, Scrum and Lean.

However, we will discover that this wasn’t the case, as we will see below.

During 2014 – 2019, when I was based in Stockholm, Sweden, I put together this mini-case study during the middle of that time on the results achieved by some of the AI (Artificial Intelligence) teams that used the Flow Leadership Framework.

Once again, my Swedish team members demonstrated that they are among some of the best in the world at creating not just great business value, but truly remarkable (and sustainable) results. It was an honor to be one small part of these teams.

The reason that I was included on these teams was that one of the senior team members was already both an FCP and FCT (Flow Certified Professional and Flow Certified Trainer). In other words, he was very well versed in Agile, Lean as well as the principles of the Flow Leadership Framework.

Back in 2015 he reached out to me to see if I would be willing to support the AI teams in their Agile & Flow journey(s) with additional training, coaching and mentoring in Flow Leadership.

After a number of discussions, I joined the AI team to train, coach, mentor, encourage and guide them along the way to achieving sustainable high-performance. So, this ended up being a somewhat unusual circumstance in that there were two FCTs (Flow Certified Trainers) working with the teams (Patrik and myself).

Here is an overview of what these amazing Swedish team members achieved during those few short years we worked together: 

AI Sweden Cases

Despite the edge their national culture afforded them, the teams were, nonetheless, struggling (or Scrumbling) to use Agile to deliver pilots for AI (Artificial Intelligence) “digital co-workers.” That was surprising.

When I arrived and started working with the teams, it took them around eight (8) months with 7-8 people (full time) to deliver a pilot AI project.

But, they felt that they could achieve even better results.

As can be seen from the picture above, by the end of my time with them (training, coaching and mentoring the team members), the teams were able to deliver more than two times faster with three times less people (8 months –> 4 months, 7.5 people –> 2-3 people).

During the team’s journey (since not all of the team members had been trained yet in Agile, Lean or Scrum when I arrived) we started with the basics; and, trained almost all of the them in Flow-based Scrum and Agile (through the lenses of Flow). In the picture above you can get a feel for when they were trained in Scrum, then Flow-based Scrum and then to the FCP level (the horizontal lines).

From that point forward, with everyone on the same page in Scrum (as well as having the learned the basics of Flow), this helped the teams move from “Performing” to a sustainable “High-Performing” level in the Aha! Curve:

Aha hand drawn 2020

Btw, by using Flow Leadership, the teams Delivered a cost savings of almost 90% to the customer per pilot. That works out to an amount in excess of US $1 million saved for the customer (for each pilot implemented).

Well done and kudos to the teams!

The methodology agnostic, timeless principles taught in the Flow Leadership Framework also cut across cultures (both national and business), just like Scrum, SAFe and Lean:

Flow in a nutshell hand drawn 2020

When a leadership framework demonstrates that it is useful (and is duplicatable and works) in a local context across the globe, then as a business person (that is focused on enabling teams to add the highest possible, sustainable value in each and every assignment) I find that compelling and worthy of additional investigation.

The Flow Leadership Framework applies to all four lenses:

  • Individual
  • Team
  • Product
  • Organizational

Flow enables you to become the ultimate Enterprise / Executive Coach.

Each of the following courses build on the mindset delivered by Flow and gives you the cure for cultural antibodies:

  • Flow Certified Professional (FCP) – Individual and Team
  • Flow Certified Coach (FCC) – Team and Product
  • Flow Certified Trainer (FCT) –  Program, Portfolio and Organization

As a previous Swedish FCT participant summed it up:

  • “Flow helps everyone (Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban, XP, Agile, SAFe, LeSS, Nexus, etc.) play nice together!”

At the breakfast seminars I facilitated in Stockholm during 2018-2019, I shared that an Enterprise / Executive Coach needs to also be both a competent Agile Coach and an effective Management Consultant (that understands how to mitigate and/or eliminate politics).

The Flow Leadership Framework enables you to be great at both:

Flow infinity hand drawn 2020

With Flow, you will learn to effectively guide and support Leaders and Executives in creating the ecosystem and culture that can turbocharge the organization’s teams and stakeholders in their journey up the Aha! Curve.

If you want to increase your odds of success, then let’s keep the conversation Flowing – let’s chat!

PS Here are the associated links to this blog post for:

#culture #scrum #agile #pmi #pmp #kanban #lean #flow #scaledagile #transformation #change #transform

What’s your Passion #12 – Kintsugi

Using the Flow Leadership Framework to heal broken projects

Recently, one of my friends over at Tiba, Reinhard Wagner, shared an excellent article on Kintsugi written by Professor Jiwat Ram. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken porcelain with either gold or silver infused glue. Professor Ram put it this way:

“Kintsugi is a traditional Japanese healing technique to repair the broken pots. The technique entails gluing together the broken parts of pottery with a lacquer painted with gold or silver powder.”

In his article, Professor Ram outlined the following areas that are needed to heal a project:

  • Accept the change
  • Identify the broken elements and strategize how to glue them together
  • Identify and manage stakeholders’ apprehensions
  • Identify the tools and techniques that can be used for the recovery process
  • Bring in the resources that know how to glue the broken parts
  • Accept imperfections
  • Provide leadership on Kintsugi process and raise awareness

The elements of the Kintsugi “philosophy” mirrors the Flow Leadership Formula:

  • Vision + RP (Right People) + the 4D Model (Define, Distill, Deliver and Drive)

Vision is the Gold/Silver “glue” that brings it all back together and I have used it many times to successfully recover projects that had gone up in flames.

Let’s resort the remaining items on Professor Ram’s list using the Flow Leadership Formula:

Vision (accept the change)

It is not enough to merely “accept the change,” although resisting the change is a guaranteed fast track to failure. The failure rates of most Traditional/Waterfall projects are in the range of 83-86%. Depending upon which study you use, only 14-17% of projects meet the threshold of delivering 80% of the scope/benefits, on-time and on-budget. Agile succeeds 42% of the time, but that is still a failure rate of 58%.

The economic losses of these project failures are truly staggering on a global scale (for all projects attempted, worldwide). Having an unclear (or no) Vision is the primary cause of these failures. And, we can do better.

It is the Vision for the change that needs to be communicated ten (10) times more than we think. To quote Dr. John Kotter:

Most companies under communicate their visions for change by at least a factor of 10.”

It is fascinating, and somewhat stunning, that most company leaders have completely missed something so simple as communicating your Vision, over-and-over again, until it is embedded in the DNA of the organization.

Right People (Bring in the resources that know how to glue the broken parts)

Everyone likes to believe that they are always the “Right Person.” We probably all have a similar view of ourselves:

Professor Ram shared:

“Using this philosophical underpinning, bringing in the right talent is critical when it comes to fixing the broken parts in a project as well. A rightful talent will be the one with required skills, experience and attitude to help heal the problem.”

In some instances, the project is dead and the people are broken. It is not enough just to “heal” the project. You literally need people who know how to breathe life back into the work effort. So now we have moved away from Project Management and into the realm of Leadership. Peter Drucker summed it up best:

“Only three things happen naturally in organizations

  • friction,
  • confusion, and
  • underperformance

…everything else requires leadership.”

The Flow Leadership Friction Analysis is a very quick way to identify the cause of the friction, based on the observed result that is manifesting with your teams and team members:

If you do not have the Right People on your team, then the team members will be exhibiting anxiety. It is not possible to heal anything, let alone breathe life back into it, if anxiety is present in your team.

The 4D Model

The balance of Professor Ram’s list will be addressed using the 4D Model:

Vision is always at the heart of the 4D Model and we address the link to Vision earlier in this post, so let’s start with the first “D” – Define.

D1 – Define (Identify the broken elements and strategize how to glue them together; and, Identify the tools and techniques that can be used for the recovery process)

The Flow Leadership Framework is methodology agnostic. Regardless of the methodology used at the team level, almost without exception, the major disconnect is always between the Vision & Strategy and the People & Tasks that will Deliver on that Vision and Strategy.

In Flow, we use the VSPT Model to visualize this disconnect:

The line between the VS and PT represents that disconnect. In order to succeed, that disconnect must be removed. And, whatever glue that you use to try to hold the project together, will fail.

Along with Vision and Right People, VSPT is one of your key Definitions. And, your VSPT and One Thing needs to be cascaded throughout your organization and linked-back as well:

Without the right Definitions, your work effort will fail. And, as Dr. Kotter points out, you need to communicate the Vision ten times more than you think that you need to do.

But, having the right Definitions, alone, will not assure success. You also need to Distill agreement.

D2 – Distill (Identify and manage stakeholders’ apprehensions)

Usually, most Stakeholders have expectations for their team members something along these lines:

The Flow Leadership Framework has a very unique way of dealing with and mitigating the impacts of Politics.

If your stakeholders are apprehensive or anxious, then there is a high probability that they are not the right person to sponsor your project / work effort.

The primary cause of this apprehension is that they do not have and/or cannot communicate a clear Vision for the Result that they wish to achieve.

We look at this from the following perspective in Flow:

We have an additional view that also visualizes the same Stakeholders using Power vs. Effort. Although a Stakeholder may have a high level of Interest (as in the image above), they might not put in any Effort towards the success of your work efforts.

This way of analyzing your Stakeholders (and thus, how to influence them) quickly becomes multi-dimensional when you factor in whether or not the Stakeholder is “for you” on a personal level, let alone whether or not they are “for” your project.

Developing what we call “critical mass” requires Distilling agreement among the stakeholders. If you do not have agreement, then you most likely will see high levels of Politics in your organization.

Wise leaders will obtain agreement.

This is how we mitigate / eliminate Politics (and keep it from derailing your project / product development effort). Once you have your Definitions and have Distilled agreement, you can then begin to iteratively Deliver (small batches and often).

D3 – Deliver (Accept imperfections)

During the past three (3) decades, I have yet to see a single project or product development effort where the starting WBS (work breakdown structure) or PBL (product backlog) that matched the ending one. There is always one Stakeholder that will say something along the lines of, “oh, by the way, can we make this one ‘small’ change to the scope?”

The PBL / WBS will always be wrong. Accept that imperfection and start Delivering something that is one step closer to fulfilling your Vision. Over time, your PBL / WBS should encompass the entire Vision of whatever it is that you are trying to achieve.

Although Flow is intuitive and simple, it is not easy. Ensuring success requires that you and your team can juggle some 18 different areas (or “tiles” as we call them in Flow), simultaneously:

This is similar to being the plate-spinner at the circus:

Keeping the plates spinning at the right velocity is an art, not a science. This is why Vision, People and the 4D Model are essential to your success. And, as pointed out in Peter Drucker’s quote above, this requires Leadership. We call this Drive in the Flow Leadership Framework.

D4 – Drive (Provide leadership on Kintsugi process and raise awareness)

Kintsugi is a great metaphor that speaks the language of Leadership. By Delivering in short cycles and batches, you can quickly course correct should your team start to spin off the table.

Leadership goes beyond toolsets and retrospectives. It’s all about mindsets. Often, managers and project managers miss the subtle difference between the two of these. Both are necessary. It looks something like this:

Management is all about getting the hard work done and operational excellence. Leadership is all about inspiring, breathing life into your teams and bringing healing where it is most needed. That’s the heart and essence of Servant Leadership. Being a “servant” doesn’t make you weak. it is actually quite the opposite:

It is your role, as the leader, to break down the organizational obstacles that are hindering your teams from Delivering truly remarkable Results!

Kintsugi is a good allegory to quickly communicate to your teams how we can recover projects that may have ended in disaster. And, all of the points shared by Professor Ram in his article about Kintsugi are mirrored in the Flow Leadership Framework … which is your roadmap to success.

Flow plugs the leadership gaps inherent in all Agile and Traditional methodologies. If you want to learn how to rescue broken teams, then let’s keep the conversation Flowing – let’s chat!

PS Here are the associated links to this blog post for:

#kintsugi #scrum #agile #pmi #pmp #culture#kanban#lean #flow #scaledagile #transformation #change #transform

What’s your Passion #11 – Kokoro

Mastering the Transformation Basics is Simple, it’s just not Easy!

Back on 09 Sept 2020 … I got some really great feedback from Alistair Cockburn, so that is integrated that into this post … thanks Alistair!

Watching the leadership of organizations make the same mistakes, over-and-over again is, well, definitely not encouraging. One of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over-and-over again, yet expecting different results the next time around. And, although Einstein didn’t make that observation, the axiom is still true today.

One of the biggest “transformation” mistakes is when the leaders believe that they can “delegate” the transformation of the organization to the team level, thus (in their minds) avoiding the hard work that they must do in order to transform themselves, first. If the leadership is only talking-the-talk, and not walking-the-talk, then they quickly lose critical mass and credibility. And, they will waste their investments in what they believe to be “transformation.”

Leaders need to join their teams in the transformational journey.

Failure to do this simple step will result in not achieving the desired outcomes. Simple is not easy. It takes discipline and hard work to achieve the vision for the change.

Recently had a discussion with a colleague that is attempting to recruit a small army of Agile Coaches for an organization that wants to transform itself (this organization has recognized that if it doesn’t transform, then a failure to do that is an existential threat to its very survival).

Here are just a few of challenges when recruiting a small army of coaches:

  • If we use the Agile Coaching Institute’s Coaching Competency Framework, then there are at least 23 combinations of the four areas & eight skills required to be a competent coach.
  • If we add in Alistair Cockburn’s idea (borrowed from the martial arts) of Shu-Ha-Ri (essentially: beginners, competent, masters) to the 23 combinations that result from the Agile Coaching institute picture further down in this post, then this means that we have a very wide range of maturity levels (just under 70 combos) for the Agile Coaches that we need to synchronize and lead.
  • Since each of the Coaches will have a wide range of skills, experience and leadership competencies, then that makes it very difficult for the individual tasked with leading a transformation – herding cats is the image that comes to my mind.

Here’s a picture of Alistair’s model (Shu-Ha-Ri with Kokoro – Kokoro can be roughly translated “just master the basics” -and- it can also be translated “heart”):

Here’s the picture for the Agile Coaching Competency Framework (courtesy of Dandy People and the Agile Coaching Institute). We should add Shu-Ha-Ri to all eight areas in this picture (to add another dimension for Agile Coaching maturity in each of the eight areas):

Getting a person up to a Ri-level in all eight areas above could take a lifetime to achieve (if it’s even possible to become “Ri” in all eight competences pictured above – which I don’t believe is actually possible – maybe seven of the eight is achievable since it will be a super rare combination of having someone at the Ri level in both Business Mastery and Technical Mastery). This takes time, dedication and discipline on everyone’s part to help the Coaches achieve “Ri.”

Applying Kokoro to the above picture would entail focusing on just a few basics for each of the eight Agile Coaching competence areas; and, eliminating everything else. Which is interesting since this aligns with the Agile Principle of:

“Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.”

Btw, a competent Agile Coach does everything a great Scrum Master does; plus almost everything else listed in the Agile Coach picture above. Many companies with which I have worked have mistakenly thought that Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches are the same thing. But, that simply is not the case, as can be seen by the skill sets in the image above.

Growing people into competent coaches takes a substantial commitment of time (some of these competencies take longer than the others to acquire):

The following image has some “Quick Wins” and “Longer Time Horizons” for an Agile Coach’s journey:

If you think you can bring someone up the Agile Coaching curve in six months, well … my experience has been that it takes time to build a great coach with the skills, values and battle scars needed to survive the politics and friction that are present in all organizations. This is a longer term investment and commitment to the journey your Agile Coaches are taking.

So, by combining Alistair’s picture with the Agile Coaching picture, it doesn’t take to much effort to realize that leveraging the outcomes delivered by a small army of Agile Coaches will quickly move (most likely the wrong direction) through the various levels of the Stacey Diagram or Cynefin Diagram (simple, complicated, complex and chaos) and the organization will end up with Chaos in many cases, rather than obtaining the expected outcomes.

The picture above becomes multi-dimensional by the time we add-in competencies and maturity levels as well. I have observed many times where a company believes it can hire a bunch of coaches, throw them together and voilà – we are now agile. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. You need a really good, methodology-agnostic leadership framework around which you can rally your Organization’s Leaders, Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, Product Owners and Teams.

Further, if the transformation is only focused on the team and individual levels (or worse, they’re trying to Scale Agile way too soon), then the odds for failure increases exponentially. It is incumbent upon the leadership to have a clear Vision for the transformational change they want to achieve (and communicate that 10 times more than they think they need to do).

Merely delegating the transformation down to the Program, team or individual levels simply doesn’t work. Organizations that try to do that will limp along (they may still be breathing, but they are probably already dead – they just don’t realize it yet).

Delegating transformation downward hasn’t worked in the past. It will not work in the future.

As Alistair points out, at the Kokoro level you return to the idea of “mastering the basics.”

  • You return to the “simple.”
  • You return to the “heart.” 
  • And, simple is NOT easy.

Management Consultants earn their very high consulting rates by taking the Chaotic, Complex and Complicated and then Distilling it down to the Simple. That, is the essence of being a true “Kokoro.”

And, this this ability to simplify also aligns with the Agile Principle of Simplicity (shared above). Executive, Enterprise Flow Trainers, Coaches & Mentors that also master the (Management Consulting) ability to simplify will add tremendous value to any organization with they work.

Flow infinity hand drawn 2020

If you want to get to the heart of the matter and increase your odds of success, then let’s keep the conversation Flowing – let’s chat!

PS Here are the associated links to this blog post for:

#alistaircockburn #scrum #agile #pmi #pmp #culture#kanban#lean #flow #scaledagile #transformation #change #transform

What’s your Passion #10 – Learning to Unlearn

Although Einstein is credited with the following quote (it’s disputed he ever said it), the axiom is still true:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over again & expecting different results.”

During the past 7-8 years the traditional PM (Project Management) industry has moved from a 14% to 26% success rate by incorporating Agile into their toolkits.

At the same time, Agile has incrementally improved from a 39% to 42% success rate.

Kudos to both for the improvements.

Following the Agile Manifesto’s “We are uncovering better ways” means continuous improvement and looking outside the echo chambers PM & Agile created.

They both face a long learning journey to eliminate the confusion, negative friction, underperformance and failure they routinely create.

For those of us that have moved beyond PMI, Agile, Lean, etc. with the Flow Leadership Framework and are enjoying higher rates of success, it’s pointless that these groups push back.

And, being bombastic and challenging from an entrenched mindset that FAILS between 58%-74% of the time demonstrates arrogance, ignorance and a deep inability to unlearn everything contributing to their failure rates. 

Flow still wins.

Flow turbocharges whatever team-level method you use.

So, if you’re ready for some real learning on how to deliver higher rates of success, let’s chat… 

PS Here are the associated links to this blog post for:

#FlowLeadership #transformation #culture #kanban #scrum #pmp #csm #agile #Flow

What’s your Passion #9 – True Transformation

Ron Jeffries once quipped:

  • “Scaled Agile must be simple — or it isn’t Agile.”

He continued:

  • “The basic message is that if you can do “agile” in the small, you can begin to think about doing it in the large. If you can’t do it in the small, you’d be a fool to try to do it in the large first. That would be like trying to write a book without knowing how to write a sentence. Or a picture book without knowing how to draw.”

Believing that if you buy a scaled agile solution (that it will somehow magically transform your organization right out-of-the-box), by imposing a toolset, is very wrong. The primary problem with attempting to transform only using a toolset is that it is external behavior modification. And, that is simply NOT sustainable:

Another impediment to transformation is the so-called Agile Onion:

My view is that this is backwards. Starting with Tools & Processes and hoping to work outwards to achieve the mindset feels somewhat flawed since it is an extrinsic tactic. Yes, I understand what they are trying to accomplish and that this somewhat mirrors the Aha! Curve in its thinking. So there is some value in using this picture; but, only when used in tandem with the Mindset Onion:

Once again, this is a both/and situation, NOT an either/or. Both views are needed to be successful. True transformation takes place at the individual level and the journey begins in their minds, not via some externally imposed structure that is unsustainable. This is intrinsic, so by its very nature it is sustainable.

Every person in the company must shift their thinking: person-by-person, team-by-team. The bigger the company, the longer the journey.

How do you turn people’s hearts & minds?

You don’t. People don’t like to change their core truths, values & attitudes. That’s why transformations fail often.

But, I have discovered that most reasonable people are willing to make a new decision based on new information. This is a simple, yet profoundly powerful, way to transition people from where they are at to where they need to be.

Plan for your transformation to take 5-7 years.

The Flow Leadership Framework accelerates transformation and can deliver true change in half the time.

Want to learn how?
Let’s chat…


PS Here are the associated links to this blog post for:

#ronjeffries #scrum #agile #pmi #pmp #culture #kanban #lean #flow #scaledagile #transformation #change #transform

What’s your Passion #8 – Remarkable Results

Have seen the following statement so many times, it’s time to respond: 

  • “All frameworks are wrong, some of them are useful (a variant of All models are wrong but some are useful).” 

This statement simply isn’t true & I disagree with it.

First, if a framework adds Remarkable Results, it might be wise to reconsider suggesting it is wrong.

Second, take SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) for example. With $150+ million in the bank, does Dean Leffingwell really care if we think his framework is wrong? He’s laughing all the way to the bank. So, even if a framework was flawed, does the customer think it’s wrong? It doesn’t matter, they keep buying.

Third, for 26 years we have tracked the value-add of Flow & $58 million of $223+ million in value-add has been audited by the Finance Department of a F500 company. So, even if the Flow Leadership Framework is wrong, it is still right enough to “show you the money!”

Finally, one of my biggest “Aha!” moments was understanding the “Law of Averages & the Flaw of Averages.” On the average, our teams will be right & deliver outstanding value.

Results are what every Executive wants & desires.

If you aren’t using Flow, then you are leaving money on the table.

Want to learn more?
Let’s chat…

PS Here are the associated links to this blog post for:

#deanleffingwell #agile #scrum #pmi #csm 

#scaledagileframework #FlowLeadership #Flow #transformation #culture #kanban #lean

What’s your Passion #7 – One Language, One Mind and One Plan

Jeff Sutherland is credited with having said, “…that absolute alignment of purpose and trust is something that creates greatness.”

Great quote and simple idea. But, simple is seldom easy.

Jeff’s quote reflects the spark from 1972 that is now known as the Flow Leadership Framework. As shared in an earlier post, Vision is your higher purpose. 

There are at least three inverted triangles that we use in our #leadershipframework to communicate how to achieve alignment, centered on Vision. 

The first one is the 1L + 1M + 1P = 1V Formula triangle (One Language + One Mind + One Plan = One Vision). This meshes perfectly with the 4D Model: Getting everyone speaking the same language requires everyone is working from the same set of Definitions (D1). The hard part is Distilling Agreement (D2) in order to achieve one mind. If you succeed with the first two, the putting together one plan to Deliver (D3) goes more smoothly. When these parts fall in place, Driving (D4) to achieve the Vision just became doable.

The second one is the Mental + Physical + Social triangle … centered on the individual’s Vision. The individual’s Vision must align with the team’s and organization’s Vision(s). If it doesn’t, then they should be doing some soul-searching on whether-or-not they are working for the right organization.

The Third one is the Business + Technology + Relationships triangle … centered on the team’s and organization’s Vision. Distilling agreement between Business and Technology is an art. It requires the ability to both translate and gain agreement. This is why gaining alignment is sometimes very elusive.

These three triangles are simple to comprehend.

Creating and achieving a unified Vision requires both the skill & understanding of how to do that by using the concepts shared above. 

Getting “everyone moving the right direction & loving it” isn’t easy to implement. That’s what the Flow Leadership Framework is all about.

Want to learn more?
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PS Here are the associated links to this blog post for:

#jeffsutherland #agile #scrum #pmi #pmp #csm #psm #SAFe #scaledagile

#scaledagileframework #FlowLeadership #Flow #leadershipdevelopment #transformation #strategy #culture #digitaltransformation #kanban #lean

What’s your Passion #6 – Vision comes First!

It’s really great that Simon Sinek, in a recent video, agrees that Vision comes first. He defines Vision as a “just cause,” something for which you are willing to sacrifice. He also describes the Why as the foundation of a house (i.e. past history) and the house to be built on top as the Vision (i.e. future). 

The Flow Leadership Framework has taught exactly that for over a quarter-of-a-century; that your Vision fulfills a higher purpose (agrees with Simon’s definition). 

Every organization needs a Visionary Leader.

If you only have an operational, by-the-numbers Leader, then your organization will be short lived & it might be excruciatingly painful to work there.

The infinity picture we use in Flow (with Anticipatory Vision on the left side & Operational Excellence on the right side) captures what Simon is communicating. As you read from left to right, Vision comes first, then operational excellence.

The left side of this picture includes Anticipatory Vision, Innovation and is the realm of Agile Coaching. The right hand side is simply achieving Operational Excellence and that is the realm of Management Consultants. Pivoting in the middle is VS/PT (Vision, Strategy / People, Tasks) along with the occasional need for a good dose of creative destruction (think Nokia, early 1990s moving from being a rubber boot and tire company and transitioning into a global electronics giant).

Along with Anticipatory Vision, we use the following modified Stacey Diagram to differentiate team-level Delivery from Organizational leadership.

It’s really the language of management in the Individual and Team lenses vs. the language of leadership in the Product and Organizational lenses.

Both are needed.

But Anticipatory Vision (using trend lines and future facts to be able to see over the horizon) is what we use to inspire, lead & motivate organizations toward achieving their higher purpose.

“Where there is no Vision, the people perish…”

Want to know more?
Let’s continue the conversation…

PS Here are the associated links to this blog post for: