1. When it comes to software, in many organisations the PMO – Project Management Office – is part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Part of the reason for this is that the approach doesn’t really fit the context. Developing great software that people love is not like building an office block. As I’ve written about before, the project paradigm […]

  2. The Highest Paid Person’s Opinion. If you’ve spent any reasonable length of time in a large corporate environment you will probably have seen something a bit like this first hand. It usually happens when a group of people are attempting to make a difficult decision, for which there are lots of opinions, but not a lot […]

  3. This, from a great piece by @tcarmody on the film Alien, and what it teaches us about ourselves and technology: That’s what technology is. It’s the world of things, some impossibly stupid, some smarter than we are, we have assembled around ourselves to cover over our fundamental weaknesses as a species. The strength we have, […]

  4. A while back, I floated the idea of a conference where all of the speakers were women… @pawelbrodzinski i quite like the idea of a conference with women-only speakers — and men-only serving tea and coffee. — Joshua J. Arnold (@joshuajames) December 11, 2014 Not that anyone is asking for my opinion on this, but I […]

  5. Jim Womack’s keynote at the LPPDE14 conference in Durham nicely captures one of the key problems faced in Product Development: Most organizations are organized vertically […] but the product needs to flow horizontally across the organization in order to be made right/well and solve a real problem for the customer. Every time the vertical and horizontal […]

  6. Many observers will look at ApplePay and misunderstand it. They will likely see it as another example of Apple coming late to the party with nothing that hasn’t already been done before – and dominating on the basis of superior “marketing”. (Presumably this is primarily thanks to their brand and those who would buy and […]

  7. I posted an answer on Quora the other day in response to the question about how to gamify sprints as a way of motivating teams: Try sharing with the team the #CostOfDelay of the things they are working on in $/week. For example: “The Cost of Delay for this story is $50,000/week. What this means […]

  8.   Less than 24 hours back from two great conferences in Istanbul and Paris before heading to Hamburg to complete the tour. Lean Kanban Central Europe brings together more than 30 international speakers who will share their experience reports, case studies, and advanced ideas on managing knowledge work. LKCE14 will take place in Hamburg on November 11th […]

  9. One of the cheapest ways to tilt the playing field is to reduce the “batching” together of features and requirements. It was a big part of what we did at Maersk Line – which led to delivering in half the previous lead-time, 80% reduction in quality issues and delivering significantly more value. Often though, ideas and opportunities don’t […]

  10. We’re coming to London! Lean Kanban United Kingdom is for managers, team leads, consultants and executives who want to more reliably deliver the products and services their customers demand. From curious to expert, there’s something for everyone who is looking to: Learn new techniques and ideas to extend your Kanban implementation Hear stories about how […]

  11. Randall Munroe of XKCD with a nice example of why useful rules of thumb that apply well in one context don’t always apply elsewhere… I hear lots of these. People with a software background seem to be really good at “generalising the particular”. One piece flow = good. Push = bad. Estimates = waste. Prioritisation = waste. […]

  12. We are about to see a significant shift of focus in personal computing. The smartphone is fast approaching saturation. It’s gotten to the point where if your parents don’t have a smartphone that’s abnormal. There’s clearly two dominant players (Android and iOS) and a few has-beens and hangers-on (Blackberry and Windows). It’s also clear that despite the predictions […]

  13. Quantifying the Cost of Delay of the things we are working on helps us with: Improving the ROI delivered with a scarce resource Managing the demands of multiple stakeholders Making sensible economic trade-offs Changing the focus of the conversation: less on cost and dates, more on Value and Urgency. Sounds pretty good, right? Despite what you may think, […]

  14. Horace Deidu recently started working at The Clayton Christensen Institute, to help further develop the theory of disruptive innovation. Here, he nails his thesis on the door of Wall Street: Because firms are increasingly determining the prosperity and sustainability of nations and the world. We can’t afford mismanagement. The counter-point to this quest is that […]

  15. In 2012, when Dean Leffingwell launched the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) it was obvious the impact that Don Reinertsen’s teachings had on elements of the design. In particular, SAFe specifies Don’s recommended method for scheduling: Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF). Whatever you think of the rest of SAFe, it really should be commended for encouraging organisations further along in […]

  16. What is WSJF? Weighted Shortest Job First is a scheduling algorithm (or if you prefer, prioritisation method) that maximises the amount of whatever it is you choose to “weight” by in a given time period through a constrained resource. Where did WSJF come from? Back in the 1970’s, when computing resources were both extremely expensive and […]

  17. Interested in culture, and introducing change in organisations? Özlem Yüce has a great intro to the Tribal Leadership stages that is well worth a read. I want to expand on a couple of things, but you really should go read her thing first (and share your view in the poll) otherwise what I’m about to say won’t make […]

  18. I recently gave a talk at a conference about “Tilting the playing field in product development”. I went through a number of “False Friends” – things that seem like a good idea, but actually lead us into trouble. The last of these was “Certainty”. The story here revolved primarily around the stochastic nature of product development – […]

  19. This! With the vastness of opportunities in technology, how are you going to retain your most important resource? Talent is far harder to obtain than capital. We are obsessed with allocating capital when in fact capital is over-abundant and should be spent freely. Meanwhile, we wrongly treat the sources of ideas as commodities. Talent is […]

  20. When it comes to estimating value the biggest barrier is usually our own fixed-mindset. It is our prejudices and perceptions, fears and uncertainties that stop us from seeing what might be. To an impartial observer, it might seem like we have an allergy — where if we were to talk about value in terms of money, […]

  21. One of the best ways to tilt the playing field of Product Development is to take an iterative or incremental approach. What does this mean though? It is easy to get confused about the difference between the two. Scrum, (one of the most popular software development frameworks) is an iterative method that teaches teams to deliver […]

  22.   How should we treat cannibalization when considering value and urgency? I have been asked this a number of times, usually in the context of quantifying the Cost of Delay. The issue at hand is whether you should take into account the likelihood that a new product or feature might “eat” the profits currently enjoyed in some other […]

  23. We’re coming to Orlando! Serious teams, developers, managers and executives from over 40 countries are about to descend on an unsuspecting Orlando, Florida. There’ll be over 1,800 attendees exploring more than 240 talks and workshops from some world-class experts. We have been invited to run a workshop (details below) on Monday, July 28 (14:00 – 15:15). According to […]

  24. What is design? As an engineer, I have some tacit knowledge of design – but I have always struggled to explain what it really means. When I started my career, I spent most of my days dealing with the vagaries of moving water and earth, applying different designs that attempted to bend these elements to my […]

  25. Q: What are the biggest obstacles organisations face when it comes to innovation? Three things: culture, culture and culture. This manifests in different ways in different organisations but at its root, it’s culture that tends to hold you back the most. Innovation requires a discovery mindset, continuous improvement and a collaborative environment. In large organisations […]

  26. Özlem Yüce is coming to Lyon, France to speak at MIXIT14! How can we survive in a world where stakeholders want it all – and they want it yesterday? Are you tired of conflicting priorities and mechanisms that do not give your clear focus? Then this session is for you! At the end of Özlem’s […]

  27. We’re coming to San Francisco! Looking forward to hearing some fantastic speakers talk about “Modern Management Methods” and share a few stories and thoughts of our own, at the Lean Kanban North America 2014 conference. We’ve got a couple of slots: The first will be a talk on Tuesday May 6, 2014 3:30pm – 4:10pm about […]

  28. A while back I posted this quote from a BBC interview with Astro Teller, “Capitain of Moonshots” at Google[x]: You must reward people for failing, he says. If not, they won’t take risks and make breakthroughs. If you don’t reward failure, people will hang on to a doomed idea for fear of the consequences. That wastes […]

  29. I got an interesting question the other day about speeding up the Fuzzy Front End and bringing it into focus. The question was about the size of things in the Dynamic Priority List (the queue or backlog, where ideas wait after being quickly captured, valued and sized). The heuristic to apply here is to avoid restricting […]

  30. Billy Beane, the manager of the Oakland A’s baseball team was in trouble. After a successful 2001 season he was losing three of his best players but he had no money to replace them. As Plato said: “Necessity is the mother of invention”. With his back to the wall, rather than rely on the instinct […]

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