Insights from the 2nd Net Objectives Lean-Agile Conference

October 15, 2012 — Posted by Al Shalloway

We just completed our 2nd annual Lean-Agile Conference last week. I was happy to see that it was just about as well attended as last year. We changed the format this year from a 2-day 2-track conference to a 2-day  (1-track day 1, 2-track day 2) conference with a one-day Kanban course added on.  This worked very well to provide to those who were new to Agile methods a solid introduction and enabling all to go deeper than a conference with the Kanban class.  The theme of the conference was:

  • Learning that we are really after agility at the business level
  • How to drive from business value with product portfolio and cross-team management
  • The need to attend to lean-product flow to be successful
  • Transition methods and psychology are essential
  • The core Agile technical practices of agile design, TDD and ATDD

Informal surveys of attendees continued to confirm the trends that:

  • Companies are having success with Agile at the team level
  • Companies are mostly not having success with Agile at the enterprise level
  • The key problems facing folks are:
    • Product portfolio management
    • Keeping teams coordinated
    • Managing specialized people
    • Testing lagging behind development

Given these are challenges we’ve been seeing for 8+ years, it was not an accidental that our conference directly addressed every one of these issues. If I was surprised, it was about how my insistence that one should not expect team methods to work on enterprise challenges very well.  I used to get a lot of push-back on this a few years ago.  I find it very encouraging that people are abandoning the cargo-cultism we’ve been seeing about the effectiveness of bottom-up approaches.  Now that we are looking for new methods we’ll find solutions to old problems.

I’ve been joking that while Team-Agile has crossed the chasm, Enterprise Agility has fallen into it.  I think we’re starting to see that people are realizing what’s needed to get out of the chasm – and that’s a good thing.

Our one-day Kanban Experience Workshop was a great success.  We had 38 folks participate.  The intention of the game was threefold:

  • Have people get an experience of Kanban
  • Set the stage for discussions of other, more complex issues
  • Demonstrate large, short classes can be delivered effectively

I have a personal passion on this last one.  As Lean-Agile and Kanban methods spread, more and more companies are going to be looking for training in Lean-Agile-Kanban.  It is imperative that less training than what is currently being required to get folks started be provided and at a lower daily cost.  The Kanban Experience Workshop is a continuation of our commitment to provide great value to our clients.   We will be continuing to look at how the one-day can be combined with follow up coaching to be the most effective way to start Kanban teams.

Notes for the conference can be seen here.  Most of the sessions were recorded and will be placed on that page about one a week.

Please do let me know if I can be of any service.

Al Shalloway

 

 

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About the author | Al Shalloway

Al Shalloway is the founder and CEO of Net Objectives. With 45 years of experience, Al is an industry thought leader in Lean, Kanban, product portfolio management, Scrum and agile design. He helps companies transition to Lean and Agile methods enterprise-wide as well teaches courses in these areas.



        

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Al Shalloway
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