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I was doing an Enterprise 2.0 Masterclass to a group of technical national directors at INSEP (French national institute of sports) and one of the attendee asked me this question : “How can I quickly assess my organization culture ?”

It has just occurred to me that this can be carried out very easily, asking just one question, so I asked them :

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#hypertextual on InfoQ

April 7, 2014

bugs 1

One of the misconceptions I’ve made while working with software development teams using agile methodologies is that I initially confused bugs with problems and I tended to believe our agile process was Lean, as it made bugs visible. During the last few months, this idea has cleared up a bit and, in retrospect, I now believe that our agile team producing bugs was not a Lean system producing learning opportunities : it was a team having quality problems, which is something I have seen with many teams.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is a huge honor for me to announce that I have an article published on InfoQ.

Back in the days when I was an airline mainframe developer whose career had been violently hit by Spetember 11, I was desperate to switch to Java professional world and was an avid reader of theserverside.comFloyd Marinescu was its creator. He also later became the author of EJB Design Patterns – one of the first book where I read something linking the way we work with the quality of life (even if one may argue that it might be challenging with EJB, anyway …).

In 2006 he went on to create InfoQ with a strong focus on agile methodologies : it soon became my main source of information of all things agile. Having an article published on this site is probably as great an honor for me as it would be to jam with Johnny Marr.

The article, a rather technical one, is about the path I followed while slowly moving from Agile to Lean as I was getting to understand the key role of problems in continuous improvement. It also somehow is a more detailed follow-up of a previous article on Agile and Lean.

Many thanks to Regis Medina for introducing me to Ben Linders, to the latter for his great editing work and to Ana-Maria Ciobotaru for making it look neat and professional.

In the fall of 2009, at the time I started digging deeper into Enterprise 2.0 and the management principles this organization approach implied, I set up a list of 10 management principles and how it differentiates with management as we know it.

About 12 months later in November 2010, Jim Womack, co-author of The Machine that Changed the World or System Lean, wrote a piece called Lean Management Vs Modern Management where the author applies a similar approach and compare 10 key Lean Management principles with the corresponding approach in Modern Management. Read the rest of this entry »

This is an excerpt from Time article about “How an unlikely group of high-tech wizards revived Obama’s troubles HealthCare.gov website”.

This excerpt focus on the three rules theses wizards apply when rescuing the project a set of IT services companies has lead to disaster. All Agile principles : stand-up meetings, developers get the call, get managers out of the way, solving problems completely, reduce work in progress etc …). An awesome story.

Rule 1: “The war room and the meetings are for solving problems. There are plenty of other venues where people devote their creative energies to shifting blame.”
Rule 2: “The ones who should be doing the talking are the people who know the most about an issue, not the ones with the highest rank. If anyone finds themselves sitting passively while managers and executives talk over them with less accurate information, we have gone off the rails, and I would like to know about it.” (Explained Dickerson later: “If you can get the managers out of the way, the engineers will want to solve things.”)
Rule 3: “We need to stay focused on the most urgent issues, like things that will hurt us in the next 24–48 hours.”

cube

This is a conversation I had together with #e20 super-connector Luis Suarez on Twitter whilst at the E20 Summit.

During the engagement panel, he stated that employee engagement was a problem, an idea you can find in many management books (Year without pants by Berkun or Flat Army by Pontefract are recent examples) articles or talks. Even this blog elaborated on that subject a while back, a post which, in restrospect, might seem a bit shallow.

Most of these resources draw on Gallup study who claims that this costs about $US400 Billion per year to the US economy, which, I agree, is a terrible human and financial  waste.

But I wonder : is this employee engagement a problem or a symptom ? Luis insisted that Social Business will help in fixing this. This is where I come to have a rhetoric issue … Read the rest of this entry »

kongress media

Having gained some momentum on the topic of video interview with the last Lean IT Summit, I have been delighted to help Kongress Media mogul and #e20 organizer Bjoern Negelmann in doing some others within the scope of this year edition of the Enterprise 20 Summit. Thanks to Jan Grüb for shooting and editing those.

I was lucky enough to engage in video recorded conversations with #e20 rising star Céline Schillinger, Wirearchy father Jon Husband and IT strategy über-expert and visionary Dion Hinchcliffe.

A huge honor to have access to their expertise and a great opportunity to discuss issues such as the alleged death of Social Business the struggle to implement #e20 successfully and their main takeaways from the conference.

Last but not least, a great opportunity to notch up some more trophies to #hypertextual interviewees record.

Sorry people, I did not have the chance to edit myself out just like I did for the Lean IT Summit ones so I’m afraid you’ll have to cope with my fast talking and body language hyper-activity … Read the rest of this entry »

williquet e20s

(Illustration by Frédéric Williquet)

The E20 Summit was celebrating its fifth edition in Paris in the stimulating premises of ESCP, and just like Jon Husband said on Facebook : “I have been having a blast”. Notice that it’s rather challenging to be somehow unbiased since I am an ambassador of the event and I always am longing for the opportunity to exchange ideas, stories and drinks with the E20 mob.

Unfortunately, I could only attend the first day of this year edition. Despite my absence I have still been able to follow the conversations of the second day thanks to the “#E20 peeps Tweeting like maniacs” as Lee Bryant noticed.

Some may have expressed their regrets that their were not so many new ideas but I don’t really share this perspective. The main impression I have brought back home is this : we are reaching some kind of maturity on the topic as some patterns of successful implementations emerge. It is great to have thought leaders discussing ideas, principles and concepts but the main value out of these conferences from my perspective are the returns of experiences : those were very inspiring indeed.

Inspiring to such an extent that I after 5 years into the topic, I eventually found my one tweet definition of Social Business … Read the rest of this entry »

Robert Sutton is one of the business writers this blog discusses the most. A professor at Stanford Management School he made himself famous in the business literature with his best seller No Asshole Rule. Though an excellent book and provocative read, #Hypertextual still prefers The Knowing Doing Gap he wrote together with Jeffrey Pfeiffer which, in my view, really nails down what management success is all about.

Another key question for leaders is being dealt with in Scaling Up Excellence (“spreading constructive beliefs and behavior from the few to the many”) an essay he wrote with Huggy Rao. A very interesting read with a spectacular amount of examples from all different types of industries and professional activities (hospital, education) you may think of, and many inspirational thoughts from psychologist and behavior researchers …  Read the rest of this entry »

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I am fortunate enough to count Antoine Contal and Régis Médina as my colleagues.  We have been discussing this extensively, especially  following Régis breakthrough on the topic (check his enlightening interview on InfoQ) and the dedicated panel Antoine moderated during the last Lean IT Summit in Paris.

Interestingly enough, we have somehow followed a similar path, though they were ahead of me by a few years. We found with Agile Methodologies a way to solve the same vexing issues while managing software development projects. How to better align software development with business value, how to release on a regular basis, how to build-in quality, how to engage development teams, how to embrace change : agile has helped us a big deal in answering these questions.

But still, we all bumped into some roadblocks that Agile alone can not tackle. We needed to go beyond and extend the reach of our improvement to include management, leaders, operations, marketing, problem solving and make continuous improvement a daily issue. And this is how Lean extends Agile reach in the enterprise …

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“Books about the future of work make the same mistake : they fail to look back at the history of work or more precisely the history of books about the future of work and how wrong they were.”

The Year Without Pants is the story of Scott managing his team working remotely most of the time (it seems that working without pants is a kind of a funny way to say working remote), learning to use new types of online collaboration tools in the process while never using email.

A book to put in perspective with another essay published on the topic of remote work with 37Signals latest publication : Remote.

A complementary set of books about the future of work : a wonderful piece about learning to adapt to a start-up culture (Berkun’s) and some practical advises to evangelise and then succeed in remote work (37Signals) … Read the rest of this entry »

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Get ready people, the next edition of the Enterprise 2.0 European Summit will happen in Paris from 10th to 12th February ! Already the fifth edition (first one was in 2010).

A chance to witness that if Social Business moniker has been downgraded in the buzzword ranking of some consultants, real people are still leveraging digital transformation in their organizations to achieve meaningful results. The conference propose a rather exciting cast with many different returns of experience from many different industries and many different countries

Last but not least, an exciting set of keynotes with Zdnet digitalization oracle Dion Hinchcliffe (who made an excellent one last year), Rachel Happe the leader behind the Community Roundtable, Jon Mell from IBM and Dan Pontrefact, author of the acclaimed Flat ArmyRead the rest of this entry »

base sous marine

(Originally published on Kinder Wiser collaborative blog)

I’m an IT guy. I’ve been working for 25 years in this business doing just about any job you can think of. I’ve been working in different industries, different countries, using different types of technologies, from IBM Mainframe technology built in the 60s to 00′s avant-garde mobile start-ups.

My strategy to survive in this fast-pace changing business has been to think in patterns. This comes from IT industry standards called Design Patterns. The baseline is : for every problem that will slow you down you while designing a software solution, someone has already bumped into it and standardized a generic design solution.

This is both a bless and a curse and here’s why … Read the rest of this entry »

“The preponderance of what is written for managers about management is bad theory and should not be trusted (…) But this is probably the most insightful book about quality and process that has ever been written” (Clayton Christensen)

When professor Christensen states that a management book is insightful, it might be difficult to argue with him : it actually is a wonderful book, the first that abstracts Lean management out into 4 four core principles that can be found in other thriving companies, which are not actual Lean companies (Alcoa, Southwest Airlines …). However, rather than defining it as a book about quality and processes, I would rather position it at the intersection of processes and organizational learning.

Beyond the great academic work, what separates Chasing the Rabbit (How Market Leaders Outdistance the Competition and How Great Companies Can Catch Up and Win) from the rest is that the author, Steven J. Spear, has been working on the shop floor in different companies during the preparation of this book. This in order  to make to make sure he fully understands what he writes about and he asks himself the real questions : what is the job ? what is the product ? what is the process ? how does the company practically deal with problems ?

This approach protects his perspective from preconceptions and the Halo Effect : this is the whole point of going to see on the Gemba to make sure he writes about actual facts. (A virtuous approach Scott Berkun has also put in practice while preparing his latest best seller The Year Without Pants …)

An essay #hypertextual could not help but writing about …

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Giuseppina Allegretti is head of risk group in IT Department at Banca Nazionale del Lavoro. During the 2013 edition of the European Lean IT Summit, she made a very inspiring talk about Lean leadership and gemba walks. What I really enjoyed in her talk was the quiet yet determine tone, completely in line with her relentlessness approach of digging for new continuous improvement opportunities.

She also presented one of the most appropriate slide I have seen related to leadership in general and lean leadership in particular with the following principles : How we manage little things is how we manage big things / Reality is not always what we imagine / A long way starts with a little step / Go and See = Coaching people / Attention is the best way to care about people.

She has been kind enough to discuss gemba walks, leadership, change management and more with us in this video interview. So thanks to her for the conversation, and as usual with this interview series, thanks to Camille Brunat for directing and editing the videos, to Florence Préault, for coordinating this interview series project, and to Supernormal for the music.

Hakan Forss is Lean and Agile coach at Avega Group. Hakan is one of the many Agile coaches that, while digging deeper into agile practices, has reached the shores of Lean, what he calls the fountain of knowledge. In this short video interview he shares his insights on how lean can help improving agile teams.

His Lean IT Summit presentation this year on how to apply Toyota Kata principles to agile teams has been very inspiring as he offers a lean approach to agile continuous improvement. While doing so, he brings lean deep thinking to agile practitioners and he builds another bridge between the two approaches. (Refer to #hypertextual Toyota Kata book review for more information of what the principle is).

Hakan has been kind enough to allow us some time to discuss his journey, how to articulate agile and lean and how Legos can help in building great slidedecks. Many thanks to him for the conversation, to Camille Brunat for directing and editing the videos, to Florence Préault, for coordinating this interview series project, and to Supernormal for the music.

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