In search of flow

Every team is in a search for flow, achieving flow requires and a view of work-in-progress – WIP – and frequently the use of work-in-progress-limit. Identification and removal of blocks and bottlenecks isn’t enough, one needs to engineer them out.

Easier said than done? – I’m glad to unveil a new video to help illustrate these ideas and a short online workshop next month for people to learn by doing.

For both I have to thank Mike Burrows for inventing a game called Featureban. The game broadly models a Kanban system and shows how work becomes marooned and how WIP-limits can help address the problem.

Mike’s original Featureban game is a physical game (download it here), I created an online version which I’ve run a few times with clients. With the help of the good people at KanbanZone, Mike and I recorded a game last month and this is the video which is now free to watch: Featureban Flow Experience.

I’m running the Featureban workshop again in a few weeks, use the code ABlog20 to get a discount on the tickets.

Watching the video after the event reveals lessons which were easy to miss at the time. What I find particularly interesting is that the game is played by four experienced agile coaches but it still very quickly descends into a mess. Even in the second iteration when WIP limits are imposed the coaches find it difficult to work in the best way – even though they all know how to!

This shows how workers are often prisoners to the system they work within. The rules, and expectations create constrains. Changing the rules, actually imposing stricter rules, encourages people to co-ordinate work more closely.

Anyway, watch the video and draw your own lessons. Better still join me in a few weeks time – once you’ve played you will want to play it with your colleagues.

By the way, we are playing using a visual board called KanbanZone – perhaps the only visual tool I actually like! We will soon be making a free Featureban template available on KanbanZone. If you sign up with my link then you will get a free trial and can play the game yourself.

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New podcasts and video

Before Christmas I recorded a couple of new podcasts which went live this week. The first was with Luke Szymer for his Align Remotely podcast series and focused on the topic of my new book, Succeeding with OKRs in Agile and is release in two parts. Luke also has a new book, it is timely and well worth reading – as is anything Luke writes – also called Align Remotely.

The second podcast was with Ian Gill of Agility by Nature. This was a casual, wide ranging, conversation.

Finally, the video above: Living Continously with Agile and Digital.

From time to time I also give private presentations to companies. Sometimes there are existing conference or user group presentations, sometimes this is new material. While companies generally pay me for these presentations I always feel the need to share further. So, after removing any client specific references I’m re-recording these and posting them on YouTube in a Private Presentations playlist.

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