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Visualizing Work: If you can't see it, you can't manage it

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Visualizing Work: If you can't see it, you can't manage it

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Presentation delivered at Toronto Agile Conference - Oct 30, 2018
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Unlike a factory, where we can see work literally moving around, piling up waiting, being worked on, or even deteriorating with time, knowledge workers have to deal with abstract constructs that are largely invisible. Suddenly, answering questions like "what are we working on?" or "how does work get done here" can become tricky.

The basic premise that the first step towards effectively managing knowledge work is to make it visible will not come as a surprise for anyone with some familiarity with Agile. That said, there's more to effective work visualization than a 3-column board showing "To Do | In Progress | Done" columns, and visualizing work items is only the first step.

This session will explore approaches for visualizing otherwise invisible aspects of work, such as commitments, process, rules and, of course, work items, and using them to enable more effective management and collaboration.

Presentation delivered at Toronto Agile Conference - Oct 30, 2018
--
Unlike a factory, where we can see work literally moving around, piling up waiting, being worked on, or even deteriorating with time, knowledge workers have to deal with abstract constructs that are largely invisible. Suddenly, answering questions like "what are we working on?" or "how does work get done here" can become tricky.

The basic premise that the first step towards effectively managing knowledge work is to make it visible will not come as a surprise for anyone with some familiarity with Agile. That said, there's more to effective work visualization than a 3-column board showing "To Do | In Progress | Done" columns, and visualizing work items is only the first step.

This session will explore approaches for visualizing otherwise invisible aspects of work, such as commitments, process, rules and, of course, work items, and using them to enable more effective management and collaboration.

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Visualizing Work: If you can't see it, you can't manage it

  1. 1. Visualizing  Work   If  you  can’t  see  it,  you  can’t  manage  it.   10th Annual Conference 30th October, 2018 fernando.a.cuenca@gmail.com @fer_cuenca Fernando Cuenca
  2. 2. Yesterday, I worked on X. Today, I’m going to continue working on X. I have no blockers. No  blockers.   No  blockers.   No  blockers.   No  blockers.   No  blockers.   No  blockers.  
  3. 3. Where is my stuff? What am I going to get at the end? Why does it take this long? Flow  
  4. 4. People  are  rarely  “blocked.”   But  work  can  easily  stop  flowing.   Use  “blockers”  to  refer  to  work,  not  people.  
  5. 5. Work  Items   Process  Workflow   Commitment  
  6. 6. Process  Policies  DoR   DoD  
  7. 7. Stand  back,  observe,  ask  quesFons…   Start  from  where  you  are  now...   …  and  evolve  from  there.   Listen  to  your  board.   It’s  trying  to  tell  you  something….  
  8. 8. Physical  vs.  Digital:  a  False  Dichotomy   Visible  vs.   Invisible    
  9. 9. Visualizing     Work  Items  
  10. 10. Code Back- end ServiceAdd Product to Shopping Cart Add missing tests to automation suite 2+2 = 5 How Come? Regression testing for August Release Investigate DB lock issue in Server TO-1 Product Feature Defect Paul Product Manager Ted Test Manager Dev Team Ursula User Sarah Sys Admin
  11. 11. Code Back- end ServiceAdd Product to Shopping Cart Add missing tests to automation suite 2+2 = 5 How Come? Regression testing for August Release Investigate DB lock issue in Server TO-1 Product Feature Defect Paul Product Manager Ted Test Manager Dev Team Ursula User Sarah Sys Admin Model  different  kinds  of  work  differently   Stand  Back  QuesFon:   What  are  the  different   “things”  we  work  on?  
  12. 12. Code Back- end ServiceAdd Product to Shopping Cart Add missing tests to automation suite 2+2 = 5 How Come? Regression testing for August Release Investigate DB lock issue in Server TO-1 Product Feature Defect Paul Product Manager Ted Test Manager Dev Team Ursula User Sarah Sys Admin What  you  visualize  is  what  you  will  talk  about.   Stand  Back  QuesFon:   What  deliverables  are  we   working  on?  
  13. 13. Add Product to Shopping Cart ID: 12345 Start: 10/30/18 End: / / Cycle Time: Customer: Paul UX DBA Legal Writer Req’d Done þ ☐ þ ☐ ý ý þ þ “What’s  the   age  of  this   item?   “Where  do  I  find   more  details?”   “Who’s   working  on   what?”   “Who  is  this  for?”   “What  external   dependencies  does   this  item  have?”  
  14. 14. Add Product to Shopping Cart Stand  Back  QuesFon:   What  work  is  not  moving?   How  long  has  it  been  blocked?   What  needs  aQenFon?   Test server unavailable Date: 24/10/2018 If  we  dropped   everything  else,   could  we  work  on   this  item?   When  the  work   got  blocked   Reason  for  the   blocker   #  of  Days  it’s  been   blocked  
  15. 15. Visualizing  the   Workflow  
  16. 16. ProgBA Tester BA   writes   the   User   Story   Programmer   implements  the   soluFon   Tester   verifies  the   acceptance   criteria   We’re   DONE!  
  17. 17. Discovery   Discovery   Discovery   Discovery   hQps://connected-­‐knowledge.com/ 2014/04/19/understanding-­‐kdp     by  Alexei  Zheglov   Model  your  process  as  collaboraFve   knowledge  discovery,    rather  than  hand-­‐offs.  
  18. 18. Do  we   understand   the  feature?   Do  we  know   how  to  build   it?   What  happens   when  we  try  to   actually  implement   it?   Did  we  build  what   we  thought  we   built?   Is  this  what  the   Business  was  really   looking  for?   What  happens   when  we  integrate   this  feature  with   the  others?   Visualize  “stages  the  work  goes   trough”  rather  than  “acFviFes   people  do.”   Stand  Back  QuesFons:   How  do  we  discover  the   knowledge  required  to  deliver   what  we  deliver?  
  19. 19. Add Product to Shopping Cart Investigate DB lock issue in Server TO-1 Product Feature Production Issue Paul Product Manager Sarah Sys Admin SpecificaFon   Code   ConstrucFon   Exploratory   TesFng   We’re   DONE!   DiagnosFc  &   Reproduc   Fon   SoluFon   ing   Remedi   aFon   Monitoring   We’re   DONE   The  workflow  depends  on  the  type  of  work.  
  20. 20. Visualize  different  workflows   using  different  lanes.   Stand  Back  QuesFon:   How  do  we  process  different   kinds  of  work?  
  21. 21. Split  Point   Re-­‐assembly   Point   “Packet   Switching”   SecFon   Stand Back Questions: Where are all the component parts of a deliverable? What’s the proportion of completeness? What deliverables move together/independently? What’s waiting for what?
  22. 22. Team A Team B
  23. 23. Team A 1 2 Feature Development 1 UX Team User Experience & Design 2 Architects System Architecture Stand  Back  QuesFon:   How  are  various  services   interconnected?  
  24. 24. Model  Hierarchies  with   “Flight  Levels.”   hQps://www.leanability.com/en/blog-­‐en/2017/04/flight-­‐levels-­‐the-­‐ organizaFonal-­‐improvement-­‐levels     by  Klaus  Leopold   Stand  Back  QuesFons:   What  is  the  “bigger  picture”?   Which  team/group  is  working  on  the   various  pieces?  
  25. 25. TransformaFon   Point   New  Work  Type:   “Release  Build”   Stand Back Question: What’s the life-cycle of various deliverables? How are we batching work? What’s the impact to flow efficiency?
  26. 26. Explicitly  model  “queues”  and   waiFng  stages  that  significantly   interrupt  flow.   Stand  Back  QuesFons:   How  close  are  we  to   compleFon?   Where  does  work  stop  flowing?   Get  stuck?  
  27. 27. Use  this  style  as  a  “transiFonal”  state   towards  more  explicit  visualizaFon.   Stand  Back  QuesFon:   What  do  I  need  my  team  to  see   right  now?   0%   100%  
  28. 28. Visualizing  Policies  
  29. 29. ConvenFons  on  how  to  read  the   board.   Rules  to  guide  decision  making.  
  30. 30. •  Code  wriQen   •  Unit  Tests   wriQen   •  Code   checked  in   •  AutomaFc   build  passes   •  Test  cases   idenFfied   •  Pull  request   to  Trunk     issued   •  Reviewer   available   •  Review   passes   •  Suggested   changed   completed  &   tested   •  …   •  …   •  …   Visualize  transiFon  rules   Stand  Back  QuesFon:   Can  I  move  a  Fcket  to  the  next   column?   What  are  the  “rules  of  the  game”   Do  we  all  agree  on  them?  
  31. 31. What should I pull in next? Can I pull it now? SelecFon   Capacity  
  32. 32. (2-5) (5) (3) (2) (2) (4) (10) Select  by  Cost  of   Delay  Profile   Capacity   Constraints  with   WIP  Limits  
  33. 33. (3) (6) (6) (10) (2) (3) Capacity   Constraints  by   AcFvity   Capacity   Constraints  by   Work  Type  
  34. 34. Visualizing  Commitment    
  35. 35. What  are  we  commijng  to   do?   The  act  of  making  a   commitment   Where  does  the   commitment  end?  
  36. 36. Make  your  “commitment   point”  visible  and  explicit,  as   well  as  the  extent  of  the   commitment.   Stand  Back  QuesFons:   What  is  the  “span”  of  our   commitments?   Are  we  commijng  too  soon?  
  37. 37. IdenFfy  different  levels  of  “commitment”  (and   who  cares  about  each”)  
  38. 38. PuHng  it  all  Together   PaQerns  of  Kanban  Board  Design  
  39. 39. hQps://leankanban.com/kanban-­‐paQerns-­‐and-­‐ organizaFonal-­‐maturity     by  David  J.  Anderson  
  40. 40. Wrapping  Up:    Listen  to  your   Board!  
  41. 41. Stand  back,  and  observe   •  What  deliverables  are  we  working  on?   •  Is  this  the  adequate  mix  of  work?   •  Where  are  all  the  component  parts  of  a   deliverable?     •  What’s  the  proporFon  of  completeness?     •  What  deliverables  move  together/ independently?     •  What’s  waiFng  for  what?   •  What  is  the  “bigger  picture”?   •  Which  team/group  is  working  on  the  various   pieces?   •  Can  I  move  a  Fcket  to  the  next  column?   •  What  are  the  “rules  of  the  game”   •  Do  we  all  agree  on  them?   •  How  are  various  services  interconnected?   •  How  do  we  discover  the  knowledge  required  to   deliver  what  we  deliver?   •  How  close  are  we  to  compleFon?   •  Where  does  work  stop  flowing?  Get  stuck?   •  What  do  I  need  my  team  to  see  right  now?   •  How  do  we  process  different  kinds  of  work?   •  What  work  is  not  moving?   •  How  long  has  it  been  blocked?   •  What  needs  aQenFon?   •  What  is  the  “span”  of  our  commitments?   •  Are  we  commijng  too  soon?  
  42. 42. PaQerns  in   the  flow   Mix  of   work   Look for patterns High  WIP  
  43. 43. Expect evolution
  44. 44. Visible boards are “social” Visualization will affect what you talk about… … and how you talk about it.
  45. 45. Image  Credits   •  “PoQery  Wheel”    -­‐-­‐  by  Quino  Al  via  Unsplash   •  “People  Looking  at  PainFngs”  (CC)  via    hQps://flic.kr/p/9aXDZs     •  Photo  of  child  looking  at  stairs,  by  Mikito  Tateisi  via  Unsplash   •  “Génie  du  pont  Alexandre  III”  (CC)  via    hQps://flic.kr/p/qAbRmj     •  “Scafolding  in  grayscale”,  by  ValenFn  Antonucci  via  Pexels   •  “Rock  Maze”  -­‐-­‐  by  Ashley  Batz  via  Unsplash   •  Photo  of  handshake  -­‐-­‐  by  Savvas  Stavrinos,  via  Pexels   •  “Hieroglyphs”  –  by  Andrea  (CC)  via  hQps://flic.kr/p/7Hxa8g     •  “Man  about  to  run”  –  by  Nappy  via  Pexels   •  “AthleFc  finish  track  from  above”  (CC)  via  Wikimedia   •  “Thank  you  on  blackboard”  via  Pexels      

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