Figure 1 illustrates the generic Amplio Team approach.

Figure 1. Generic Amplio Team Approach

The Key Points of Amplio Teams

Value stream management provides valuable insights for a Lean-Agile Team. By taking a value stream perspective, all of the steps and components of Amplio@Teams fit into place and describe the relationship to each other. Amplio teams take an end-to-end view of their customers’ value streams, from taking a concept (idea) through the processes and activities necessary to deliver the intended value. The goal is to discover and remove the constraints and wastes that impede the delivery capabilities of the targeted value stream.

The primary role of an Amplio team coach is to create and sustain a value-delivery-oriented mindset, removing the impediments that arise from organizations organized and siloed around business domains or functions.

  1. Use the customer journey to improve the customers’ operational value stream.How customers interact with your services and systems is called the customer journey. The entire workflow of the customer is called the customer’s operational value stream. By attending to the customer journey, we can positively influence the customers’ operational value streams and provide value to them.
  2. Have a business value backlog focused on our products and services. This backlog uses minimum viable products (MVPs) for when we need to discover if a new product will be valuable andminimum business increments(MBIs) when we’re enhancing existing products. Both focus on delivering the highest value in the shortest amount of time. This business focus also provides the opportunity to create a test plan based on Acceptance Test-Driven Development or Behavior Driven Development.
  3. Amplio Team Planning. Amplio team members work together to create a plan for future work. It can be timeboxed planning or flow-based planning. If timeboxed, the iteration length will be no more than two weeks. The result is a sequence of slices for the teams to pull from and build together.
  4. A near-term backlog.This backlog contains the items that the team will work on over the next week or two.
  5. The Amplio Team pulls work from the near-term backlog to improve flow and delivery of value.Planning, acceptance criteria, development, test, review, and deliveryactivities operate at an accelerated pace to create realizable value. The coordinated pull of items from the Product and Iteration Backlogs as capacity becomes available, not pushed as batches of work items into the development streams, reduces waste while facilitating an alignment of teams.
  6. The Amplio Team value creation structure and workflow.The Amplio Team is hopefully cross-functional. But cross-functional teams are not always achievable or even desirable if some individuals have specific skills that are costly to replicate.
  7. Daily review.Short, pre-scheduled meetings to review where we are. The intent is also to enhance a sense of the team. The team walks the board stating, for each appropriate item: 1. here’s what we’re working on, 2. here’s where we are blocked, 3. here’s what we’re going to work on next
  8. Continuous review and refinement of the backlog. Members across the team need to coordinate the following: 1. the test-plan for non-functional requirements, 2. how to integrate across members, 3. ensure a coordinated workflow takes place, and 4. attending to how the individuals are working together.
  9. Integrated Increment.These increments can be produced on a cadence basis or as MVPs or MBIs are created
  10. Review. While it’s best if customers frequently review work being done, each integrated increment must be reviewed when released.

11a. Review to improve how we are working. Improving how we are working is a continuous process. In addition, Agile Retrospectives are a planned event to have teams evaluate and implement short-term improvement opportunities. Amplio teams also look at how they can deliver a series of MBIs that incrementally improve their customer’s value stream delivery capabilities from the Lean-oriented perspective of improving work and information flows. In addition, Amplio incorporates Deming’s Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle.

11b. Review to pivot on what’s being built. Use the feedback from the integrated increment review to adjust the business value backlog.

Common Challenges of Agile Teams

Figure 2 shows common challenges of Agile teams.

Figure 2. Common challenges of an Agile Team

The Core Practices of Amplio Teams

There is not a one-to-one practice for a challenge. Figure 3 shows a set of core practices that go a long ways toward solving the common challenges.

Figure 3. Core practices for Amplio Teams

What to attend to while your read about the capabilities

While reading the “whys” of the capabilities, you learn how good practices reflect universal principles. Over time, you should gain some skill in matching practices to achieve alignment with these universal principles.

You can also attend to how well your teams are doing. I provide the following table to make a note of this as you go through things. This can be useful to see where improvement is needed. Later in the book, we’ll provide a more detailed assessment to create an improvement backlog for your team.

Take a look at Table 1: Core capabilities needed to do effective Lean-Agile at teams. Make a score from 1-3 where:

1 means you’re not paying any attention to it

2 means you’re doing it to some extent

3 means you’re doing it well

Rate each capability from 1-3

1. Managing the workflow
  1.1 Manage work in process
  1.2 Attend to risk with feedback
  1.3 Use pull methods to keep workload within capacity
  1.4 Have a product backlog serve as an intake process
  1.5 Have an effective way of deciding what to do next
  1.6 Create visibility of both work and workflow
2. Requirements and Artifacts
  2.1 Work on small, releasable items
  2.2 Build in small, vertical, slices.
  2.3 Have definitions of ready (DoR) and definitions of done (DoD)
  2.4 Attend to the customer journey while creating requirements.
3. Quality of the product
  3.1 Have high product quality from the customer’s perspective
  3.2 Get quick feedback from the customer
  3.3 Consider how you will test something before building it
4. Learning, Improving, and Pivoting
  4.1 Continuously improve
  4.2 Improve your understanding of the way you work
  4.3 Have frequent reviews

Table 1: Core capabilities of Amplio Teams

 

Additional Competencies

The aforementioned set is not complete. They are what are considered the core competencies, that is, the fundamental set that one needs to include at the beginning of an adoption. There are a few more that, while important, are not required to start. It is worth at least reading about these so that you are at least aware of their potential value.

Roles have been deffered until the end not because they aren’t essential but discussing roles doesn’t make sense until all of the practices have been discussed.

Useful, but non-essential practices

   1.6 Create visibility of both work and workflow

   1.7 Use DevOps when useful

   1.8 Use automated testing to eliminate waste

   2.5 Agree on classes of service and their corresponding level agreements

   4.4 Know how to select a more appropriate practice

Multiple Teams Working Together

  5.1 Shared backlogs

  5.2 Have an effective value Creation Structure

  5.3 Aligning market solutions to teams

 

Roles

  6.1 Decide on what to build and maintain the product backlog

  6.2 Developers

  6.3 Subject Matter Experts

  6.4 Decide on the responsibility for the team coach           

  6.5 The role of management

 

Go to Amplio@Teams: The Path to Effective Lean-Agile Teams

 

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