Thursday, June 18, 2009

Criteria for Innovative Success

I've got this in my head and want to write it down. I'm still tweaking it, and would like feedback.

Criteria for Innovative Success:
  • 1a) A Shared Vision of Success
  • 1b) Willingness to drive towards that Vision
  • 2) Reflective Problem Solving Staff
A Shared Vision is, well, shared. Everyone involved should be able to articulate it, write/draw it on a single white board.

I split 1) into two parts, or more specifically added the second part. I think that just having a vision isn't sufficient, the will to see it through and cut away what's not helpful is critical. I suppose the metaphor for 1b) would be chipping marble away to make a sculpture.

"Reflective Problem Solving" is a phrase I got from "Managing to Learn" by John Shook. I've got more to say about this book and will review it when I can, but having a team of people who refectively problem solve is very different than a team that does what it's told.

In my experience at the Lean Kanban conference I concluded that a Kanban board with WIP limits is a "concrete reflective tool". I'm now on the hunt for "concrete reflective" tools and ideas, with a strong belief that such tools will be adopted by more teams than abstract or prescriptive tools.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Presenting at Austin JUG tonight, Kanban

Update: The presentation went well, lots of good questions and conversation.

Link to the slides:

I'm presenting at the Austin Java Users Group tonight, on Kanban.

The slides will get posted there and on my company website,, shortly.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Setting up our Kanban board

Last week one of my clients and I set up a Kanban board for the team. We did it as a physical board, and we're backing each card with an issue in a tracker.

We plan to use the issue tracker for these purposes:
  • generate a Cumulative Flow Diagram (perhaps scripting an export to CSV or Excel)
  • searchable index of activity
  • release management tracking
  • conversation (comments, emails, checkins) for details larger than a notecard
Here's what the board looks like:
Some details (that are hard to read):
  • A Prioritized Queue on the left, highest priority on top
  • Three workflow/VSM steps: InProgress, Review, Deployment
  • Review is for developer peer review, and Staging (on QA for general review)
  • Deployment Ready is available for production deployment, Deployed is recently deployed.
  • Three swimlanes: two for development activities, one for IT operations support.
This is the current prototype for the cards:
Some of the tools that we use include sticky post-it notes and Stikky Clips. (Note: We found the Stikky Clips at a teacher supply store, not a big office supply store.)

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Lean Kanban trip report is...

Posted up on the Agile Executive Blog.

See the whole post here:

Back from the Lean Kanban Conference

I'm back and planning on posting to my blog more. I've been posting on Twitter ( fairly regularly now. Some stuff just doesn't fit within 140 characters...

The Lean and Kanban conference was awesome: both humbling and inspiring. My trip report will show up on The Agile Executive blog ( soon... I'll post a direct link.

Below is a summary of my twitter activity, just to get warmed up.

  1. @TheOtherAlistai @RonJeffries Iteration is like metronome, Kanban is like multiple rhythms, from #lk2009 (must find who said that...)
  2. RT have a YouTube link for this eating style ;) -- @jeremiahakin: Langston eats apples like mr peepers from Saturday Night Live
  3. #lk2009 So long, Miami, and thanks for all the fish!
  4. @agile_exec Picked up a Lean Kanban Conference preceesings book for Israel... Who really should have been here! #lk2009
  5. @alshalloway great conversation about how/why Kanban removes fear/impedemnts to individual learning, must blog! #lk2009
  6. @agilemanager why is introducing Kanban easier than Scrum? I'm suggesting Kanban provides concrete reflection tools, lowers barrier #lk2009
  7. Err, I meant tuning WIP and workflow is easy for people that wouldn't normally contribute to retrospective #lk2009
  8. Tuning WIP limits and workflow on the board is low resistance, even fir people that normally would say a think in a retrospective #lk2009
  9. I said concrete introspection is maybe the reason kanban is different. Just telling people to reflect doesn't just work. #lk2009
  10. I said concrete introspection, I mean that most people won't retrospect. Getting more people thinking in the biz is the real win. (hypothes)
  11. Laribee just compared Kanban boards to the RESTful web metaphor... #lk2009
  12. Any good survey of online kanban tools? #lk2009
  13. Any good summary of online kanban tools? #lk209
  14. Alisson Vale contract agreements: problem solving, support, improvements for sustainability, new value #lk2009
  15. Alisson Vale defined four (social?) contracts with customers #lk2009
  16. Alisson Vale "long term relationships require long term contracts" #lk2009
  17. @carlacorkern Chaka what? :) I'm at the learning gemba, not vegetarian.
  18. @dennisstevens I'm not sure TWI is right either, but I have a strong hunch that is has wisdom for teaching knowledge workers. #lk2009
  19. #lk2009 link to TWI resource: training within industry is a WWII management system that influenced Lean.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Hotkeys for Omnifocus/Firefox

Until I get a chance to try out this integration for Firefox and Omnifocus ( I wanted to make a record of the hot keys I'm using right now.

Goal: Get a link to the current page I'm viewing in Firefox into a new task in Omnifocus.

  1. Command-L to get the browser location URL highlighted.
  2. Command-C to copy that location.
  3. Control-Alt-Space to open a new Omnifocus inbox item.
  4. Type a short description of the new task.
  5. Command-' to open the entry field for the notes. (This is single quote, not back tic.)
  6. Command-V to paste the previously copied URL.
It works, avoids using the mouse, but that is too many steps.