Money, Process, and Culture- Lean and Agile Applied

This is the Powerpoint for a talk I gave at Tech2020, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee in June, 2012.

Text from the Slides:

Money, Process, and Culture
June, 2012
Adrian Carr
• I’m a Software Developer with a passion for efficiency.

• Experience as a business analyst, project manager.

• Scrum Product Owner and Scrum Master

• Director of Software Development

• Founder and Organizer of Agile Knoxville (

Why am I here?
• I’m not trying to sell you anything.
• I want to see local businesses be successful.
• I also want to see people enjoying their jobs and their lives.

• I’m working in Atlanta

• I’m working in Knoxville
• Offered the job of leading the development team at Voices Heard Media.
-Run it however you want…

I travel to L.A. again…
Step One:
• Start with more frequent releases (reduce batch size)
– Reduced cycle time
– Faster feedback
– Greater ability to respond to changes
– Increased efficiency
– Greater sense of urgency
– Defects don’t build up unnoticed

Step Two:
• Agile practices.
– Small cross-functional teams
– Frequent delivery
– Small batch sizes
– Daily standup meetings
– Demos and planning meetings every 2-4 weeks

The Agile Manifesto
• Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
• Working software over comprehensive documentation
• Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
• Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.
Principles behind the Agile Manifesto
• Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
• Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
• Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.

• Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
• The most efficient and effective method of
conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
• Working software is the primary measure of progress.

• Continuous attention to technical excellence
and good design enhances agility.
• Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount
of work not done–is essential.
• The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.

• At regular intervals, the team reflects on how
to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
• Partially agile isn’t very agile.
• Agile practices without the principles will only give marginal benefits.
• A few lean concepts can make an amazing difference.
• After a lot of study on this, I’ve come to believe that this won’t happen without systemic cultural changes.

Lean Thinking
• The core idea is to maximize value while minimizing waste. Simply, lean means creating more value with fewer resources.

• Eliminating waste creates processes that need less human effort, less space, less capital, and less time to make products and services at far less costs and with much fewer defects, compared with traditional business systems.

Lean Cultural Changes
• Optimize the Whole

Lean Cultural Changes
• Culture of problem solving
– Problems shouldn’t carry blame, or they will be suppressed, and you can’t solve them.
– Stop going around them and solve them instead
• The fact that we know more today, and are more capable today, is good news about today, not bad news about yesterday. Ron Jeffries

• A manager at an auto plant that used to be a manager in a Toyota plant: “When I was a manager at the Toyota plant, I had 2000 problem solvers working in “the plant. Now I have 10. How am I going to compete?” From “Leading Lean Development”

Lean Cultural Changes
• Continuous improvement

• Who is responsible for quality at your company?

• Expect employees to look for waste and ways to eliminate it.

Lean Cultural Changes
• “Stop the line” culture

• This can be painful at first, but yields great results.

Lean Cultural Changes
• 5 Whys
– Powerful tool. To get to root cause.
– Avoid trap of turning into 5 Blames

• Try to keep it simple. Don’t try to solve a massive, multi-faceted problem with this.

Be Prepared
• This will probably be hard, and will probably cause some clashes.

• It will expose things that some people (including you) hold dear.

• This is where your company culture gets really important. Some people won’t fit this culture. Be compassionate.

Corporate Values
• Integrity

• Communication

• Respect

• Excellence

How do you create a great culture?
• Reward the values that matter.
• Eliminate waste and make your employee’s jobs easier
• Encourage employees to ask why and look for better ways of doing things.
• Care about people.
• Be a coach, not a policeman

A Few Resources
• Leading Lean Development By Mary and Tom Poppendieck

• The Lean Startup By Eric Reis


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