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Summary

The goal of a company’s transformation to more effective methods should not be to follow a predefined, one-size-fits-all approach but to improve the company’s business agility. Business agility is the ability to realize value quickly, sustainably, predictably and with high quality while always having the ability to pivot efficiently.

FLEX is based on systems and Lean-thinking as applied to the development of software. It incorporates the knowledge of many leading experts in the Lean and Agile space for the past two decades and continues to evolve as we continue to learn more. FLEX solves the challenge that people want (and need) to be given a concrete, proven method while recognizing no one single framework can work for everybody. Although the path to improvement is somewhat unique for each organization, the steps to achieve it are surprising similar.

FLEX takes a four step process in helping an organization achieve its goal of improvement:

  1. See where the organization is, both its challenges and its desired goals

  2. Create clarity to leadership as to the steps required

  3. Begin a staged adoption of better methods where each step is clearly defined and specifies concrete action. As each stage is being worked on define and proceed to the next stage to enable a smooth transition

  4. Continuously improve

 

FLEX is able to accomplish the above in a very well-defined manner without having to reinvent new methods because the ideal roadmap for most organizations is surprisingly similar - the difference being in the implementation required, not the objective.

This course is designed to both explain why the steps promoted by FLEX are important to be accomplished regardless of approach as well as how FLEX manifests them.

See the Course Outline for the topic each segment covers.

 

The Full Description describes the mechanics of the course.

Note: This course is self-paced. There are not defined class hours. The reason for this is that it is not anticipated that any student could attend to all of them. Having a course designed for everyone to attend when it is known in advance that almost nobody could attend all the sessions would be sub-optimal. The course interactions occur via:

  • discussions among participants on the course user group

  • assignments where participants work with their associates

  • via emails from Net Objectives consultants responding to participants 

Outline

FLEX Essentials has one segment for each step in the FLEX process. It closes with a session on how FLEX can be adapted to other methods.

  1. Introductions and getting ready

  2. Understanding your situation

  3. Understanding the steps required to go from concept to realization

  4. Creating visibility with backlogs of work to be done

  5. Understanding who you are creating value for

  6. Sequencing MBIs

  7. Managing WIP

  8. Aligning teams to the work: Defining the necessary roles of Product Managers and Product Owners

  9. Decomposing the work to be done with Acceptance Test-Driven Development

  10. An introduction to Team Agility

  11. Improving the ecosystem

  12. Shared services and DevOps

  13. Adapting FLEX to other approaches

Full Description

FLEX: Lean-Agile at Mid-Scale teaches FLEX by walking through the steps involved. It presents the concepts incorporated into FLEX while having the participants see how these would apply in their own organization.  In this way participants learn both the theory and a concrete example of FLEX.

By taking advantage of patterns of challenges and success, FLEX enables experienced transformation agents to create a customized path for their organization to improve their business agility. 

  1. Introductions and getting ready

  2. Understanding your situation. In this section, you will learn what is important to be aware of in your organization. In particular, you will focus on:

    • Backlogs

    • Level of visibility

    • Where work is getting initiated

    • Dependencies across teams

  3. Understanding the steps required to go from concept to realization. In this section, you will learn how to improve work in a manner that does not disrupt it. This requires a several step process starting with understanding of how to decide on the value to be delivered.

  4. Creating visibility with backlogs of work to be done. Making work visible is both straightforward and results in immediate improvement. 

  5. Understanding who you are creating value for. If yours is a product company, it may be clear who your customers are. In IT, it is often a different story. There are internal customers and then there are the people those people are serving. It is important to understand this in order to be able to define your Minimum Business Increments (MBIs) effectively.

  6. Sequencing MBIs. Prioritizing leaves too much to chance. You must sequence work in order of importance. This can sometimes be done at a program level but often needs to be done at the portfolio level as well.

  7. Managing Work-in-Process. It is critical to not overload teams. Managing Work-In-Process (WIP) is the best way to accomplish this while still have them work at an effective level.

  8. Aligning teams to the work. Aligning teams to work entails defining the necessary roles of Product Manager and Product Owners and how they work together.

  9. Decomposing the work to be done with Acceptance Test-Drive Development (ATDD). Creating clear requirements is difficult. ATDD, also called Behavior-Driven Development (BDD), is the best way to accomplish this.

  10. Introduction to Team Agility. Organizations need a consistent team-level approach while enabling the teams to self-organize within their context. Team Agility takes the best of Scrum and Kanban while working within the principles of Lean.

  11. Improving the ecosystem. Most organizations can't achieve the ideal of cross-functional teams for each stakeholder. In this section, you will see different ways of improving how teams can work together.

  12. Shared Services and DevOps. Shared Services and DevOps must operate differently from regular teams since they are driven differently.

  13. Adapting FLEX to other approaches. Since FLEX is not a prescription but a way of thinking, it can improve any approach you are currently taking. This section focuses on improving SAFe as a good example.

How the university works

Net Objectives University uses a number of tools to facilitate learning. These include:

  • Discussion forums. You can use these to 

    • Ask support questions about using the university

    • Ask questions of Net Objectives consultants regarding content

    • Share ideas and insights with fellow students

  • Video lectures

  • Articles and PDFs to read

  • Exercises

  • Homework

  • Quizzes to assess learning

  • Links to the Net Objectives Portal (http://portal.netobjectives.com) which contains additional information relevant to the course.

 

Taking the course

In general, here is the structure of each session.

  • There will be a reading/viewing assignment

  • There will be a ‘homework’ assignment. These are designed for you take back to your associates. If you are a practitioner, it is suggested you do this with your teammates. If you are a consultant, do it either with other consultants from your company or with your clients.

  • Learnings from the assignment are to be discussed on the discussion group.

Sessions and lessons are self-paced so there are no lessons to miss.

 

Each session is ‘dripped’ once a week. That is, at the start you will have one session to do, then a week later you will have another session. It is not imperative that you keep on schedule but it is advised that you do so. This will enable you to share your learnings and to coach others (which will be helpful to both of you).

 

Pacing

Sessions and lessons are self-paced so there are no lessons to miss.

Sets of lessons are ‘dripped’ out to you ever three or four days. That is, every three or four days, you will see a set of lessons to do, which might be videos to watch, exercises to do, or assessment quizzes to take. You should be able to complete the set of lessons before the next set is revealed to you. 

If you get behind, don't worry. Just do the best you can.

Prerequisites

None

Max class size

1000 (Depends upon make up and experience level of team.)

Length

4 Days

Level

Foundational

Offering

XXDELETED Lean-Agile at Mid-Scale: FLEX Essentials