Practices, Principles and Approaches

November 3, 2014 — Posted by Al Shalloway

I write this just before delivering a Leading SAFeTM course. I was considering the need to go beyond the practices of any approach one teaches. When I use the word "approach" interpret it to mean "approach/framework/method" if you believe what you do is not an approach.

I accept that when you start folks on a path you have to be somewhat prescriptive. All successful approaches have done this. There is a good reason for it. But ultimately people should be guided by principles, throwing away the practices needed in the beginning. The limit of an approach is not when they don’t provide this path, but when they fight against it. Anyone who insists on using one approach in all situations is doing something similar. Both of these attitudes (not explaining how to move away from practices or pretending their approach is always the one to use) is a very high form of disrespect.

Here's an example of what I mean about using principles to guide us to move away from practices.

Scrum Practice Value Provided Alternative Method of Getting Value
Time Boxing
  • Cadence for:
    • Input
    • Output
    • Demo
    • Retrospection
  • Discipline
  • Small batches
  • Visibility In & Out
  • Velocity
  • Planning Method
  • Focus
  • Can have independent cadences
  • Must bring discipline to each story since they make take longer than should without it
  • Use small batches / stories
  • Use visual controls throughout workflow
  • Measure velocity via cadence
  • Plan ahead if valuable
  • Take a value centric approach

Cross-Functional Team

  • Limits WIP
  • Reduces Handoffs
  • Improves Feedback
  • Short term delays in workflow
  • Improves Collaboration
  • Improves learning
  • Attending to flow while using as close to a true team structure can achieve these values
Product owner
  • Reduces unneeded features
  • An equivalent “one-voice” is needed regardless of method

The above table is just a taste of what is coming with our A New Agile Team Approach Emerges.  See more in The Danger of Point Solutions and What Team Level Approaches Should Consider.

If you are bogged down in whatever approach you are using, or having different people doing their own thing that isn't really working.  Send us a note.  We can help. That's what we do.

Al Shalloway
CEO, Net Objectives

 

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About the author | Al Shalloway

Al Shalloway is the founder and CEO of Net Objectives. With over 40 years of experience, Alan is an industry thought leader in Lean, Kanban, product portfolio management, SAFe, Scrum and agile design.



        

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