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Monday, May 14


The Systems Thinking Approach to Introducing Kanban

While the design of kanban systems and visualizations is becoming well understood in the community and the concept that the Kanban Method is a way of catalyzing evolutionary change to existing process, there is still little understanding of how get started with a Kanban initiative. This talk will present the systematic approach employed by David J. Anderson to enable organizations to bootstrap a Kanban initiative. David will explain the approach to understanding the current circumstances, soliciting sources of dissatisfaction from all stakeholders via interviews and anecdotal evidence. He will then show how to develop an understanding of demand and capability breaking demand down by work type and required class of service. Workflow can then be studied for each work type by identifying a sequence of dominant activities for knowledge discovery. All of this input is used to develop a kanban system design. The new system is then socialized with stakeholders and its design points negotiated. Finally a rollout plan is produced and a kick-off meeting is held.

This talk is suitable for anyone tasked with implementing Kanban to improve predictability, better manage risk or catalyze the emergence of a kaizen culture. Attendees will leave with the the confidence that getting started with Kanban can be achieved with a methodical, repeatable process.

avatar for David J. Anderson

David J. Anderson

David J. Anderson is a thought leader in managing effective technology development. He leads a consulting, training and publishing business dedicated to developing, promoting and implementing sustainable evolutionary approaches for management of knowledge workers. He has 30 years... Read More →

Monday May 14, 2012 10:30am - 12:00pm


Business Success through the Lean Systems Framework

Lean works in today's companies ... sometimes. Agile works ... sometimes. Traditional methods used to work, but don't anymore. Over the last 47 years, across tens of thousands of companies and despite massive expansions in both management and technical theory, corporate Return on Assets (ROA) today is only 25% of what it was in 1965. Let that number sink in a minute.

How can companies be doing so poorly when they are more bottom-line focused than ever? It is because most people, at a deep level, still think of the world in much the same way people did a hundred years ago. Even many Lean and Agile people. Today we know much more about how the universe works than we did then. This session will explore how we can leverage the best current understanding of reality into a Lean Systems Framework that improves technical execution and business performance.

The Lean Systems Framework is built upon the foundations of Lean product development, cognitive science, physics, philosophy, complexity theory, and systems thinking. Kanban, Lean Startup and other proven systems streams fit naturally into this framework, and we shall discuss how and where they fit. The framework reinforces and integrates these approaches so they can work together even better than they do alone.   The best companies today are already implementing elements of this framework. They have largely escaped the great economic slide of the last 47 years and are currently experiencing 1965-level returns. The framework as a whole gives even greater opportunities, creating synergy and adding performance leverage.

Come and find keys for moving your company and your technical work beyond historic norms to new levels of success.

avatar for Jim Sutton

Jim Sutton

Jim Sutton’s passion is for unleashing the power and joy of human creativity in the development of systems. He is a chief software-systems architect whose designs and processes have consistently quadrupled productivity compared to company and industry norms, accompanied by a ten-times... Read More →

Monday May 14, 2012 2:30pm - 3:30pm


Set-Based Decision Making - Taming System Complexity to Ensure Project Success

As technology marches forward, system complexity continues to rise.  Many of the most critical design decisions are made very early in projects, before the system designers can possibly know all that they need to know to make those decisions correctly.  That inevitably results in what we call "loopbacks", where earlier decisions (that were thought to be final) must be re-made, resulting in a cascade of changes to portions of the design that were dependent on those earlier decisions.  Avoiding that waste is a key driver of the Lean principle of delayed decision-making.  However, putting that into action is not as simple as delaying decisions... it is often very hard to make progress on your design if you are waiting on various decisions to be made.  This is where Set-Based Design comes to the rescue.  Set-Based Design is often mis-represented as simply performing multiple Point-Based Designs in parallel so that you are more likely to have one good design.  Rather, Set-Based Design will be described as a radical departure from traditional Point-Based Design, moving from the inefficient pattern of guess-then-test-to-validate to a highly efficient pattern of test-to-learn-then-design.

avatar for Michael Kennedy

Michael Kennedy

Before Targeted Convergence Corporation, Michael worked for Texas Instruments Defense Electronics for 31 years in product development, in manufacturing, in systems development – in both individual contributor and mid-level manager positions. He retired as a Senior Member, Technical... Read More →

Monday May 14, 2012 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Tuesday, May 15


Blending Hierarchy with Collaboration: Using Lean to Create Context for Self Organization

This talk discusses how to achieve multiple team collaboration in large scale software development.  Self-organization is a key concept for all Lean-Agile methods.  However, as projects expand across the enterprise and, more specifically, cut across multiple teams, teams clearly can’t just organize in any way they want to.  A blend of top-down direction with bottom-up self organization is needed.  Lean provides the insights necessary for teams to self-organize within the context of the value stream within which the teams work.  A top-down perspective, created by driving from business value, can provide insights on how teams must organize and work together.   

This talk presents some case studies where the principles of Lean-Flow provide the guidance for multiple teams to self-organize as a bigger team.  This guidance includes how providing work to the teams can effectively lower the coordination necessary.  This determination of work to be done typically must be decided not by the teams themselves but by proxies for the business stakeholders.

Essentially, quick delivery at scale often requires decisions about what the teams are to work on before the work hits the teams themselves.  These decisions provide the context within which the teams then self-organize to implement the value to be delivered.

avatar for Alan Shalloway

Alan Shalloway

Alan Shalloway is the founder and CEO of Net Objectives. With over 40 years of experience, Alan is an industry thought leader in Lean, Kanban, product portfolio management, Scrum and agile design. He helps companies transition to Lean and Agile methods enterprise-wide as well teaches... Read More →

Tuesday May 15, 2012 10:30am - 12:00pm


Servant Leadership: Its Relevance in the Information Age

Servant leadership was coined by Robert Greenleaf, a management thinker at AT&T, almost half a century ago. He was influenced by Nobel Laureate Herman Hesse's book 'The Journey to the East.' Herman Hesse, in turn, was influenced by Eastern philosophy and its view of leadership. In this presentation, Pujan Roka provides lesser known facts and history of servant leadership. He also explains why servant leadership is becoming important in a world that is becoming increasingly connected, informed, and democratized. Those who deal with knowledge workers will learn key concepts to promote and practice servant leadership in their organizations.

avatar for Pujan Roka

Pujan Roka

Pujan is a product development technologist and entrepreneur with more than 15 years of proven experience in conceptualizing, designing, developing, and deploying large scale, impactful products and services. He is a visionary leader of information and communication technologies... Read More →

Tuesday May 15, 2012 2:30pm - 3:30pm


Continuous Feedback: Process Control for Developing Software-Intensive Systems

When the Wright brothers flew their first plane, one of their key inventions was the ability to change the shape of the wings in flight, so as to steer the plane and keep it aloft.  At first all of the control was done by the pilot, but feedback control systems were soon developed to automatically simulate a good pilot’s actions.  When the first cars rolled off of Henry Ford’s automotive assembly line, they were made with thick, uneven sheet metal made with manually controlled processes.  But feedback control systems were rapidly developed that allowed the manufacture of much thinner and more precise sheet metal, leading to lighter, sleeker cars.

As systems increase in complexity, feedback control systems have always been developed to manage that complexity. In our world of developing complex software-intensive systems, we have recently arrived at the stage of Wright brothers were during their early flights – we can now design our systems so that we can modify them in flight, observe the results, then manually make corrections.

This talk is about using feedback control to radically improve the process of developing of software-intensive systems. It covers:

  1. Continuous Delivery: A surge in organizations engaged in continuous delivery (weekly, daily, or more frequently) has changed the development game from iterations to flow, and from intermediary product “owners” to sending system-level feedback directly to the technical team.
  2. Continuous Design: Continuous delivery requires the ability to continuously take the feedback into account and adjust the software content accordingly. Instead of designing features based on speculation, system development decisions are based on real data – for example, A/B testing, Cohort analysis, etc.
  3. Continuous Demand Management: One of the biggest problems development managers face is demand management – and resolving this problem is fundamentally about the ability to match demand to capability. A rapid full-system feedback control loop is increasingly practical, and is a very effective way to manage demand.
  4. Continuous Progress: Recent research has shown that the most potent motivator, the one that gets people deeply engaged in their work is not incentives, not goals, not even teams.  The most effective motivator of knowledge workers is: making progress in meaningful work. Continuous delivery and design put members of the technical team in direct contact with the end result of their work – making the work more meaningful and progress highly visible.
  5. Continuous Experimentation: Research also shows that the most successful organizations are those that take a disciplined, empirical approach to improving business processes – questioning conventional wisdom and experimenting to find out what works. This includes questioning the conventional wisdom behind approaches to developing software-intensive systems – including agile and lean approaches.

avatar for Mary Poppendieck

Mary Poppendieck

Mary Poppendieck has been in the Information Technology industry for over thirty years. She has managed solutions for companies in several disciplines, including supply chain management, manufacturing systems, and digital media. As a seasoned leader in both operations and new product... Read More →

Tuesday May 15, 2012 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Wednesday, May 16


Decentralizing Control: How Aligned Initiative Conquers Uncertainty

The situations we must manage span the range from deterministic to stochastic. On the deterministic end we have wonderful methods from the highly repetitive world of manufacturing. On the extreme stochastic end, completely unpredictable situations with an infinite number of possible conditions, each of unknown likelihood, planning is useless. Product development lies between these extremes – we deal with limited rather than complete uncertainty. Such conditions also appear in other domains. In this session Don Reinertsen will discuss the strategies of decentralized control that are used in the military. Such approaches are interesting because they work at large scale and they have avoided the natural tendency of self-organization to turn into local optimization.

avatar for Don Reinertsen

Don Reinertsen

President, Reinertsen & Associates. For over 30 years, Don has focused on helping companies find better approaches for managing product development. He got his early management consulting experience at McKinsey & Co., and was later Senior Vice President of Operations at Zimmerman... Read More →

Wednesday May 16, 2012 10:30am - 12:00pm


The Dark Side: How Cognitive Bias, Behavioral Economics, and Tribal Forces Help and Hinder Lean Initiatives

Lean initiatives start out strong, with healthy principles and exciting rhetoric. But we still run into issues along the way - people become bottlenecks, teams wage war against other teams, deadline pressures make us break our WIP, blame still rears its ugly head. Why do these still happen to allegedly enlightened lean teams? What happens when our lean team fights with other non-lean teams? Why do we instinctively keep promising deliverables by certain dates - even when we know we can't reliably do so? Jim Benson discusses the fetid underpinnings of the human psyche and how knowledge workers are extremely susceptible to them. 

avatar for Jim Benson

Jim Benson

Jim Benson is CEO of Modus Cooperandi, a collaborative management consultancy in Seattle, Washington. After being steeped in Agile for many years, Jim started working with Kanban and Lean thinking in 2005. In 2008, he started taking this idea further with Personal Kanban, which brings... Read More →

Wednesday May 16, 2012 2:10pm - 3:10pm


High Performance Operations: Using Lean & Kanban to Achieve High Maturity

Don't let the bureaucracy of everyday compliance issues get in your way of being lean and achieving excellence. 

Hear about a revealing systematic approach that puts compliance properly in its place -- behind your pursuit of excellence. 

Discover the secrets of incorporating non-value-added necessities into the value-added work stream. 
One characteristic of the approach distinct from many lean initiatives is that it does not rely solely on incremental kaizen and "low-hanging fruit". 

High Performance Operations looks at several facets including common mistakes that hinder high performance, the role of leadership, culture, trust, empowerment, learning and communication -- as prerequisites.

See how lean and kanban can be used to easily, seamlessly, effectively, and transparently incorporate compliance requirements into the flow of an operation.  This also provides the insight and metrics for an operation to pull itself towards predictable, high-confidence performance -- the realm of high maturity -- while remaining agile and responsive.

avatar for Hillel Glazer

Hillel Glazer

Hillel is recognized as the world’s leading authority on introducing lean and agile concepts into the compliance-driven world.  He’s helped companies of all sizes and industries around the world successfully streamline their operations, increase value, and expose and eliminate... Read More →

Wednesday May 16, 2012 3:30pm - 5:00pm