If your Agile coach is telling you to “run experiments” and “fail-fast,” then let me show you how to “learn how to deliver value quickly.”
We live in a complex world. But that doesn’t mean we should be navigating as if we’re driving with bumper cars. Most of the time, we can see what we need to do. We don’t have to wait to see what will happen; we can predict it. And when we’re hit with a curveball, it should result in learning.
Scrum is based on empirical process control. It sets you up to work in a certain way and encourages you to see what happens and improve – inspect and adapt. The underlying belief is that complexity means we have to probe-sense-and-respond. That understanding happens afterward. While that may work, there are faster ways. There are better ways than playing whack-a-mole with inspect and adapt.
Understanding first principles can provide us with the guidelines for appropriate action in our situation. They provide insights into what makes for efficient value streams and provide clarity on actions needed to speed up the delivery of value by lowering the cost of delay. Dr. Goldratt provided insights on how to discern these factors in his theory of inherent simplicity in “The Choice.” I have used my studying of hundreds of organizations over almost 2 decades to apply this to knowledge work. By quantifying these factors, we can weave through complexity instead of being hit by it.
We can use these first principles to remove delays in our workflow and use quick feedback to minimize the waste we’d otherwise create. When we don’t get the results we expected, we get a better understanding of what’s happening and can use this to do better next time. This enables the organization to be able to pivot and respond quickly to unanticipated events outside of our organization.
There are two workshops that teach this approach. One is for transforming organizations – the Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consultant workshop. It also gives you a six-month subscription to our Value Stream Management Master Class. The other is ongoing and is focused more on the team level – Amplio Lean-Agile Teams Master Class.
These masterclasses are important. They enable you to continue learning well after the workshop ends. And, they give you access to me for six months. Free coaching while learning.
If you found this article of interest, several chapters in Al Shalloway’s forthcoming book Amplio@Teams: The Path to Effective Lean-Agile Teams may be of interest to you. These include: