Lean-Agile at Scale and the Team: The Value Stream Series

Lean-Agile at Scale and at the Team: The Value Stream Series

Can a webinar series have a significant impact on how you implement Agile? This one can! How? The value stream is the heart of Lean-Thinking. It suggests looking at the flow of work from when an idea is considered until it is consumed by the customer. Time to market is the guiding principle. Time to market is quickened by taking the view that the best way to shorten it while achieving high quality, productivity and low cost is to remove delays in the process – not to short-cut the steps themselves. This is guided by the science of Lean-Flow. Everyone involved in the value stream – executives, business stakeholders, marketing, product portfolio managers, mid-managers, first-line managers, analysts, the development team, testing, integration, and operations all play a part.

Time-to-market is measured in terms of cycle-time – the time to get an idea and have it consumed as quickly as possible. By attending to removing delays and having the work be done in the proper order and the proper way, value can be delivered quickly while literally eliminating a significant amount of created work (“waste”) that would have been required as a result of delay and improper workflow.

We call this approach “Lean-Agile” because it is guided by Lean-Thinking while focusing on the vision of Agile – delivering business value quickly. This webinar series will walk through the value-stream, showing what must be done at each step of the way.

We feel that too many organizations adopting Agile methods ignore the value stream. To see why this is important, take a look at the figure on the left. It illustrates the flow of value being built, starting at the upper right with the customer. The picture on the right shows how this value can be blocked. Since blockages can occur anywhere, we must attend everywhere - especially at scale.

This webinar series tells pieces of the story of Net Objectives' method of achieving successful Agility at scale.  For more information on our approach see The Net Objectives' Lean-Agile Roadmap.

Value Stream Blockages in the Value Stream

    This webinar series will discuss each of these blockages and what you have to do to unblock them.

    If you don't want to wait for the next session to get value, please contact Mike Shalloway at mike.shalloway @ netobjectives.com to see how we can help.

    We have consulting and training to help in every area of your development cycle - business, management, team process, technical.

    Not in the series, but a great webinar: Filling in the Scaled Agile Framework - May 7.

    Date|Time|Presenter|Recording Title|Description
    View Recording
    Given May 22, 2012
    9am-10am PDT

    Al Shalloway
    1 PDU Category B
    Lean-Agile: The Next Generation of Agile
    This session provides the overview for the series. It discusses why Lean is essential for implementing Agile at scale. It discusses the value stream and lays the foundation for the rest of the series. It explains that Agile must be led by looking at delighting customers while driving from business value. The webinar incorporates Lean-Startup ideas into the Agile development space. Learning points include:
    • Why you must focus on business value by delighting customers & not merely team productivity
    • How to provide work to teams to enable them to work together
    • Why you must change your perspective from a bottom-up to using a top-down context with a bottom-up implementation
    View Recording
    Given Jun 18, 2012
    9am-10am PDT

    Al Shalloway
    1 PDU Category B
    Product Portfolio Management: Why It Is Critical for Agile at Scale
    This session starts at the beginning of the value stream – where ideas are formulated. It also discusses why these ideas must be coordinated when given to the teams. The essence of Agile at scale is to coordinate your work across the value stream. Many Agile teams are struggling with agility at scale because they have an insufficient model of product management. Learning points include:
    • Why the product owner is a necessary, but insufficient role, at Scale
    • How to provide work to teams to enable them to work together
    • Why you must change your perspective from a bottom-up to using a top-down context with a bottom-up implementation

    We find most organizations attempting to become Agile that have more than 100 folks in their development group (whether product or IT) have a significant problem here.  We know how to help.  Please contact Al Shalloway directly at alshall @ netobjectives.com if you'd like some help.

    View Recording
    Given Jul 17, 2012
    9am-10am PDT

    Al Shalloway
    1 PDU Category B

    Team Agility: Scrum, Kanban, XP – The Essence of All Three
    There are several different ways of doing Agile at the team. This seminar presents the three most popular Agile methods. Each has its own strengths and scope. Each covers different amounts of the value stream. This webinar discusses the essence and differences of all three.


    • What is Scrum? The core roles, practices and artifacts.
    • Why Scrum works
    • Where Scrum is best used


    • What is Kanban? The guiding principles of visibility, explicit workflow, managing work-in-progress, measure flow, continual learning
    • Kanban as a transition method
    • Where Kanban is best used

    eXtreme Programming

    • What is XP?
    • The essential technical skills.
    • Where XP is best used

    While not an in-depth study of any of the methods, the webinar will illustrate why one must look at several factors when deciding on your team-Agile approach

    If you are not sure which one to use, check out our Implementing Lean-Agile for Your Team or our Lean-Agile Project Management courses.

    Given Aug 14, 2012
    9am-10am PDT
    Amir Kolsky

    Technical Agility: ATDD, TDD, Refactoring and Patterns

    There are several developer practices that are considered to be essential to an agile developer. These include TDD, ATDD, refactoring, and emergent design (including an understanding of the role played by design patterns). These seem to be unrelated skills but in fact are all inextricably related. In this seminar we will introduce these practices, show how they are related and why they are especially important in the context of agile product development.

    This is an introductory seminar suitable for those with no agile experience or those that want to learn more about agile technical practices. Seasoned agile veterans would still find it interesting to see how it all fits together.

    If you are interested in this topic, check out our Sustainable Test-Driven Development site.

    View Slides (PDF)
    Sep 12, 2012
    9am-10am PDT
    Alan Chedalawada
    1 PDU Category B

    The Role of the Product Owner
    The role of the product owner was defined by Scrum several years ago. While not a bad start, in the real world it has proven to be too customer and development team centric. The product owner’s role needs to come from driving for business value. In this webinar we present a more pragmatic and powerful description of the responsibilities and activities of the product owner.

    If you are interested in this topic, check out our Business Product-Owner course.

    View Recording
    Special Session
    Oct 25, 2012
    9am-10am PDT

    Al Shalloway
    1 PDU Category B

    The Net Objectives Enterprise Agility Roadmap: Patterns of Successful Lean-Agile Adoption
    Net Objectives has been helping companies achieve enterprise Agility for over 7 years.  During this time we’ve observed these patterns of challenge.  But we’ve also observed patterns of success as well.  These patterns of success occur when certain principles are followed and certain practices manifested.  We describe these in what we call the Net Objectives Enterprise Agility Roadmap: Patterns of Successful Lean-Agile Adoption.  Our Lean-Agile at Scale and the Team: The Value Stream Series discusses our approach by going through different phases of the value stream.   

    We have come across so many people considering Agile with the above concerns that we’ve decided to add this special session that focuses on both the reasons the classic Agile bottom-up approach won’t work along with a short overview of the Lean-Agile Roadmap.   This session covers:

    • Focus on realizing business value incrementally
    • Focus on sustainability of realizing business value
    • How the Scrum model is just a small piece of the enterprise puzzle
    • Why you must continually prioritize across the product backlog
    • How to manage dependencies across projects
    • Why and how to pull work into teams from shared backlog
    • Why the product owner role is insufficient at the enterprise, and what new role is required

    There is some overlap with this talk and other talks in this series.  The intent of this webinar is to provide an overview of what it takes to manifest successful Enterprise Agility in one session.

    View Recording
    Nov 16, 2012
    9am-10am PST

    Ken Pugh
    1 PDU Category B


    Acceptance Test-Driven Development: A great place to start
    ATDD is more about understanding what needs to be developed than it is about the testing themselves.  Validation of software must begin with validating what is being built, not did we build it correctly.  The most expensive way to validate what we think is needed is by writing production code.  Improving the conversation between whoever represents the customer, the developers and testers is the most effective, fastest and lowest cost method available.  ATDD is about improving the conversation between these parties early in the development cycle.

    In our assisting companies to Lean-Agile methods, we have found that one of the first things companies should do is implement ATDD into their development methods, regardless of what they are.  This is because ATDD represents more a change in timing of the work.  Little, if any, additional work is required.  Yet, much waste in the development process can be avoided.  Hence. for teams that are already overwhelmed and are wondering how they can improve without adding additional burden to their development organizations in doing so, ATDD represents one of the best places to start.

    If you are interested in this topic, check out our Acceptance Test-Driven Development course.

    View Recording
    Dec 11, 2012
    9am-10am PST

    Al Shalloway

    1 PDU Category B

    Enhancing and Extending Scrum With Lean
    This webinar discusses why Scrum must be enhanced and extended with Lean to work well on all but small projects. Many organizations have spun up several Scrum teams only to find that

    1. initial pilot teams do well, but moving Scrum throughout the organization becomes more challenging
    2. the progress of their Scrum teams tends to stagnate or even fall back
    3. the wins achieved often have little effect on the bottom line. 

    We have found that incorporating Lean into Scrum can both improve the teams' abilities as well as enable teams to work together better.

    While Lean is more than a set of tools, several practices of Kanban, a subset of Lean practices, can be used by existing Scrum teams to overcome many challenges they have. Scrum is a framework for discovering problems quickly. Unfortunately, it provides few insights on its own to provide solutions for these problems. The thought process of product development flow, which underlies lean-Kanban’s methods, can be readily incorporated into Scrum teams – achieving many of the results pure Kanban teams achieve.   This talk discusses how theories and practices of Lean and Kanban can be used to extend Scrum at the team and product management levels.

    Learning Objectives:

    • How explicit policies accelerate learning
    • How delays create additional work
    • How managing work in progress can lower delays
    • Why a positive relationship with management matters
    • How product management can lower the amount of dependency management required between teams
    • Why you can’t change culture but must change how things are managed
    • Using product managers and product owners to coordinate multiple business lines with multiple teams

    Scrum is a great team process but needs to be enhanced to be truly effective.  Learn how with our Implementing Scrum for Your Team.

    View Recording
    Jan 31, Thu
    9am-10am PST

    Al Shalloway
    1 PDU Category B
    The Three Ways to Scale Agile and One That Doesn’t Work So Well

    Scaling Agile has been problematic for many.  We have heard many reasons as to why it is so difficult:

    • Software development is complex
    • People aren’t motivated or disciplined enough to get it done
    • The business folks won’t engage

    While Scaling Agility is difficult, we think the reason it is so difficult is that the method in predominant use – scaling Scrum with Scrum methods – is rarely challenged as a valid approach.  While these methods may work in non-complex situations (essentially independent projects, single stakeholder) as organizations get more complex (dependencies between projects, multiple stakeholders and releases comprised of inter-dependent products) they will only rarely provide the vision and guidance required for scaling.

    Our experience with dozens of companies we’ve helped ourselves and dozens others by our associates, tells a story of three things needed to achieve agility at scale.  These are:

    • A business driven approach
    • An holistic view shared throughout the organization
    • A systems thinking attitude

    Most successful transitions to enterprise agility have used one of three approaches:

    • Agile methods within the context of Lean-Thinking
    • The Scaled Agile Framework
    • A mandate of Agile from the top

    The first two approaches incorporate all three of the necessary ingredients mentioned above.  The third facilitates these, but is not enough to necessarily be sufficient.   All three, however, provide the necessary mindset for agility at scale.

    This webinar uses these three approaches to illustrate the necessary ingredients for agility at scale.  Attendees will also understand why attempting to scale without a big-picture, holistic, business driven view is unlikely to achieve much beyond local improvements.

    View Recording
    Mar 7, Thu
    9am-10am PST

    Scott Bain

    Essential Skills for the Agile Developer
    Many developers have been suddenly thrown into developing code in stages whereas they used to be able to do bigger designs up front. Many people tell them to do test-driven development and emergent design while ignoring the fact that their work with legacy systems may prevent such actions. In any event, new methods require new skills – skills they don’t have time to get. At first it may appear that the required developer skill set for this new way of writing code is huge and daunting. Fortunately, it isn’t. One of the things we’ve learned at Net Objectives is that there are often a few simple things one can do that make a huge difference. We like to have people start with these trim tabs. We refer to these as trim tabs since they are small things that make a big difference. This webinar introduces some trim tabs for the new agile developer.

    The lessons learned are taken from Net Objectives' book Essential Skills for the Agile Developer.

    We are currently building on on-line course on Essential Skills for the Agile Developer.

    Apr 9, Tue
    9am-10am PST

    Al Shalloway
    1 PDU Category B
    Scaling Agile With Lean
    This webinar discusses how the theories of Lean-Flow can provide insights into how to scale Agile. It provides 3 case studies that demonstrate proper team and cross-team organization and how to feed work to the teams. Too many organizations have had success at the team only finding themselves being unable to expand across the organization. The reason is that a team based Agile transition provides little insights into solving enterprise challenges. The webinar starts out presenting a concise explanation of Lean-Flow. It then uses these insights to solve 3 challenging problems that involve multiple teams.

    The cases presented:
    1. A 70 person development team that cannot live with set feature teams but doesn’t work well with component teams
    2. A 150-200 person development team doing Scrum extremely well but unable to deliver value quickly due to integration costs
    3. A 250-300 person IT shop that has difficulty providing work to multiple teams from multiple stakeholders

    While in each case different methods were used, there was one underlying set of principles – Lean Product Development Flow.

    9am-10am PST

    Al Shalloway
    1 PDU Category B

    Attending to Culture in Your Agile Transition
    We often hear “culture eats strategy for lunch.” We’ve also all had the experience of non-management “waiting out” the latest executive initiative. In any Agile transition, we must attend to the culture of the organization and adopt methods that are consistent with it.

    9am-10am PST

    Al Shalloway
    1 PDU Category B

    Ops and Agility: The Forgotten Crew
    Our experience has been that the folks in operations know key insights that would vastly help the development team. Unfortunately, ops is often all but ignored by many development organizations – or just considered an impediment to development itself. We must bring development and operations in order to achieve a better development method.