Setting the Stage for Process Practice Patterns

August 10, 2013 — Posted by Al Shalloway

My last blog hinted at describing a new way to create frameworks/methods/processes (henceforth in this blog called frameworks).  I’ve decided to do a couple of other blogs first to deepen my understanding of my intended approach.  But I’ll tell you where I am going.

  1. Create a list of laws of software development we’ve learned from Scrum and Kanban (e.g., teams are good, delays in workflow cause waste) - see 3rd Generation Agile for rationale
  2. Create a list of practices that every team should use
  3. Create a checklist for deciding which of several other possible practices should be used
  4. Define each practice with:
    1. Why it is being used (e.g., it’s objectives)
    2. What laws/principles it is based on
    3. When you can tell that you have transcended it (can do something else)
    4. When you can tell you shouldn’t use it
    5. When you can tell you are using it properly (both good and bad smells)

This will enable folks to create a starting point that’s somewhat tailored for them enabling them to start at the Dreyfus beginner model but then go to the next level.   The key to this is #4 above – defining the practices.  These should be defined as process practice patterns and I want to try one out.  Some of the ones I’m thinking of are (not in any particular order):

  1. Create visibility
  2. Explicit policies
  3. Small stories
  4. Creating teams to the extent possible
  5. Using minimum business increments
  6. Manage WIP
  7. ATDD/BDD
  8. Use iterations
  9. Use cadence
  10. Shared backlogs
  11. Retrospections
  12. Transition management options
  13. Avoid interruptions
  14. Daily stand-ups
  15. More …

You’ll probably notice that some combinations will allow you to create LKU Kanban (Kanban method) while others will create Scrum.  But our experience is that something in between is usually better.  The problem is that most of what we hear about Agile methods come from consultants proposing one or the other, precluding optimal advice of the approach the practitioner should take.  This often results in framework tunnel vision that defined frameworks/methods set up.

Up next: I’ll write up the iteration as a process practice pattern.

Al Shalloway

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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.


Comments

I know we already talked about this at Agile2013, but I just wanted to repeat my enthusiasm for what you are attempting here. This is soooo cool... we (the industry) really need this!

Curt:Seriously, thanks so much for the conversation we had that evening.  It made we realize we needed a defined (constrained) starting point and a way to move beyond it in well-defined steps.  I believe we can both give folks "what to do" while giving them a path about how to learn.  And with that, they will step into learning.

Becoming a learning organization requires top management that few companies have.  But I think we can provide training wheels, so to speak, that will facilitate self-learning and how to learn.  I can see a blog coming.  Both Scrum and LKU Kanban require people to learn, but few folks have actually learned how to learn and neither Scrum nor LKU Kanban even discuss this.

 

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