ArticleJanuary 21, 2020 · 4 min read time
As 2020 has begun, it’s time to reflect on what we’ve learned during the past 21 years of the things we today call lean and agile.
Like at the end of 2017, I’ve compiled a top list of lean and agile presentations which to me have been especially intriguing and inspiring.
The presentations are not in any particular order. Also note, that the presentations have not necessarily been published during 2019 – I’ve just run across them during the past year.
Nowadays most of us have a lot more ear-time than reading time. So just don your headphones and dig in, whether you’re commuting, doing the dishes or something else where your intellect could use a little simulation.
Best of 2020 to everyone!
Joe Armstrong @ StrangeLoop 17.-19. 2014: The mess we’re in
Kent Beck @ Being Human podcast: Leaving facebook
“Every 6 months in a performance review you have to show what impact you as an individual made. While that might work for a startup, for facebook, incentive schemes which ignore the downsides of your so-called impact it no longer work. I got fired for trying to have that conversation. I was not alone thinking that, but then again, the others also had their performance reviews coming up.”
On Kent Beck’s current product lifecycle thinking (3X), state of agile and his story on working at Facebook.
Henrik Kniberg @ Agile Rock Conference 2018: Confessions of a change agent
“And if you’re inside the organization – just dump your ego somewhere, and hire an external guy, and ask him if he pairs up with you and says what you’ve been saying all along? Because people listen to the external guy. And the same goes for the external guy – pair up with an internal guy, ask him what should be changed and if you think he’s right, keep saying those things.”
Mary & Tom Poppendieck @ Being Human Podcast: Respect for people – the lean approach
“Capacity metrics should not be rewarded or confused for flow-based performance metrics. Actually, you shouldn’t be handing out rewards at all.”
Jason Little @ SwissICT LAS Conference: Agile, 18 years later
“First we give it to our agile requirements team, then we give it to our agile development team who give it to our agile testing team who agily-test it and give it to our dev ops team who do devops and then we end up in the pit of despair where we still have 900 bugs and nobody can login into our online banking system.”
Greg Jensen @ Agile Iowa 2019: Agile advocates and practitioners from the C-suite and beyond
“In the beginning of starting to go agile, everyone is always. But then life happens, and you’ll need a deep understanding of agile to paint the picture that helps senior executives understand why we’re all better off if we persevere with the transformation. But don’t spend a lot of time on explaining the mechanics of Scrum to senior executives; they really don’t care.”
Mike Cohn @ Norwegian developers conference 2012: scaling agile with distributed teams
“Rolling lookahead planning to manage dependencies – look ahead a couple of sprints to be able to predict what you might be needing across the teams…”
Scaling advice from the guy who popularized user stories before the boom of sterilized agile for the enterprise. Notice how you don’t try to plan dependencies for the entire quarterly-or-so-increment.
Kevlin Henney@ BrewingAgile : Agility != speed
“A tendency that people involved with software have is unconditional optimism. Somehow you think it’s all going to work out OK, and all of the evidence – how we love evidence – says no, you’re wrong. But still you go on anyway.”
A good companion to talks on #noestimates.
Jeff Patton @ YOW 2014: User story mapping – discover the whole story
“When I walk around in so-called agile environments, I see a lot of dashboards, burndown charts and presentations on schedule. When I walk at Atlassian, I don’t see any of that. Every single wall is covered with stuff, helping to build shared understanding. They are not stupid enough to use Jira or Confluence for that.”
The important thing is not documentation but building shared understanding.
James Clear @ SNAPS leadership conference 2015: THE SURPRISING POWER OF SMALL HABITS PRACTICES FOR SCALING LEAN AND AGILE DEVELOPMENT
On average it takes 66 days to build a new habit. The range is anywhere from three weeks to six months – but start incredibly small: from something which takes no willpower, and automate that. Only then start building up.
Something a little different at the end; you could think of this as combining systems thinking with micro shifts to achieve macro results.
After having run into James Clear’s talks, I decided to do a single ollie, a single pull-up and blog for 15 minutes every day. Two weeks into this so far good – and way more of each – despite the varying circumstances – than I otherwise would have done.