I had a second article published today on InfoQ : Seven changes to remove waste from your software process.The first one being quite popular (a few weeks in the site top articles) Ben asked me to write another one, which I gratefully did.

It can be seen as another technical (and, I hope, actionable) article on my journey towards Lean while scaling agility to a full organization.

Thanks to Ben Linders for editing and Ana Maria Ciobatoru for her work in making it look great.

I have been in charge of implementing Lean Software Development in a software vendor house for about 2 years. During this time I have been coaching a large team throughout the development of two successive versions (let’s call them V2 and V3) of our enterprise solution.

We have gradually implemented seven major changes in our organization that have helped our R&D department to remove waste from our software development process with encouraging results. This essay is about implementing these seven changes, the results we obtained and what we have learned during the journey.

Read the article here.

Jim Womack has co-authored  two of the most important management books of the last thirty years : The Machine that changed the world (1990) and Lean Thinking 1995. In Gemba Walks, the Lean Expert has curated about 60 short essays he has written between 2001 and 2010. These were originally e-letters dedicated to the observations he made while visiting the shop floor (the Gemba) of companies on their way to become lean ones.

This is a very inspiring book and a strongly recommended read for anyone interested in the core mission of managament. Jim Womack defines it as fostering a creative tension between management two main axis : functional and vertical towards the CEO and horizontal and value stream driven towards the customer. Read on for enlightening thoughts …

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Ed Catmull is co-founder and president of Pixar. After having reached his life long goal (creating the first computer animated feature film) with Toy Story in 1996, Ed faced a terrible dilemma : what should be his next goal ? Looking at smart leaders and once successful companies stumbling and collapsing, Ed soon identified this new goal : overcoming the unseen forces that stand in the way of true inspiration.

This is what this book is all about. Sure there are some delightful back stories of some of the most inspiring animated movies of all time. There also are the little secrets of working closely with Steve Jobs. But the most valuable takeaways of this book are elsewhere.

They are in the way Ed Catmull (with the helped of Amy Wallace) describes the path that a rather successful leader in a creative industry followed to protect Pixar and then Disney Animation from these unseen forces and to make both company strive. Interestingly enough, the core of his management and leadership practices lies in Deming principles and Japanese management : a book hypertextual could not miss … Read the rest of this entry »

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Alors qu’approche la nouvelle édition de l’USI (les 16 et 17 Juin à Paris ) #hypertextual a rencontré cette année encore un des membres d’Octo les plus actifs dans la préparation de cet évènement. Après François Hisquin (2012) et Ludovic Cinquin (2013), Guillaume Plouin cette année.

Pour ceux qui ne connaissent pas encore cet évènement organisé par Octo Technology, l’USI est la conférence autour du numérique que l’on peut qualifier sans aucun doute de plus passionnante de l’hexagone, voire d’Europe. Les disciplines présentes sont variées (technologie mais aussi prospective, sciences dures ou sciences humaines, management, leadership, ou philosophie) et les intervenants sont prestigieux : Ray Kurzweil, Michel Serres, André Comte-Sponville, Chris Anderson, Leo Apothecker, Bjarne Stroustrup, Neil Armstrong ou Philippe Starck. Et la liste va s’allonger cette année encore avec des personnalités telles qu’Edgar Morin, Patrick Dixon, Isaac Getz, Nancy Duarte, ou encore mon collègue d’Operae l’excellent Antoine Contal …

L’occasion au travers de cette rencontre de se pencher de plus près sur les grands moments qui ont marqué l’USI et s’attarder sur la mécanique interne de l’organisation d’une conférence qui célèbre sa septième édition cette année…

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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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Un petit retour sur une conférence Lean Summit 2014 qui s’est déroulée à la cité internationale de Lyon les 2 et 3 Avril. Plutôt passionné par les technologies et tendances du numérique, il s’agissait d’uns conférence de laquelle j’attendais peu. La surprise ne fût que plus belle, avec un évènement qui s’est avéré être un des plus marquants auxquels j’ai assisté, et pas seulement en raison de la fontaine de chocolat.

La raison en est toute simple : il ne s’agit pas d’une autoroute pour consultants, experts ou éditeurs mais d’un espace dans lequel des dirigeants racontent leur histoire, celle de leur entreprise et expliquent comment le lean leur a permis non seulement de survivre mais d’obtenir des résultats exceptionnels tout en impliquant leurs équipes.

A une époque où, à grands renforts de propagande, le Lean est dépeint comme un outil d’assujetissement à la productivité et où le Made in France évoque plutôt une résignation désuète ou un pleurnichage institutionnel, cette conférence rafraîchissante et tonique a clairement rappelé qu’il s’agissait surtout d’une alternative crédible pour continuer à créer de la richesse de façon soutenable dans notre beau pays …

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#hypertextual on InfoQ

April 7, 2014

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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 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 »


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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(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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“La confiance mutuelle est basée sur une forme de transparence. Elle concerne toutes les parties prenantes (…) Il ne s’agit évidemment pas d’une vision utopique et idéalisée des relations mais d’un constat simple : plus la confiance est faible, plus on a tendance à surenchérir en terme de processus pour se rassurer. L’effet étant immédiatement une déresponsabilisation des personnes et donc une perte de confiance et donc un renforcement des processus … dans une spirale sans fin. (…) Pour rétablir de la confiance, il faut remettre de la transparence, transparence sur les problèmes mais aussi sur la façon de s’en occuper.”

Cécile Roche est Lean Director à Thalès Group. Ce petit guide synthétique d’une grosse centaine de pages a pour objet d’expliquer aux managers ce qu’est le Lean, ce qu’en sont les principes et objectifs, et comment sa mise en oeuvre transforme leur rôle au quotidien.

Un ouvrage pratique et très bien pensé par une practicienne de longue date. Read the rest of this entry »

Here is the last of the interview from the series made during the 2013 Edition of the Lean IT Summit. And it is quite an interesting one with CI&T VP, Europe & ASPAC Leonardo Mattiazzi.

Leonardo has been quite generous as he stopped by to share so many lessons learned while implementing lean in about every activity of their company. Many fascinating take away are highlighted in the video for them to be more actionnable. Leonardo also talks about leadership but also about they mix Lean approach and collaborative online tools to make things happen in their Disrupt!  innovation initiative.

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.

L’agile tour est passé par la côte Atlantique et j’ai eu la chance d’assister aux deux sessions : Le 8 Novembre à Bordeaux et le 14 à Nantes. Attardons nous ici à la première nous parlerons de la seconde dans un billet dédié.

Le premier constat est toujours le même : un authentique bain de jouvence. Comme le fit remarquer Régis Médina en keynote de clôture, les idées fusent, les initiatives bouillonnent et on sent une communauté avec de l’énergie à revendre, de nombreuses idées  et un désir intact de partager.

L’idée de ce compte rendu n’est pas d’évoquer toutes les différentes présentations mais de s’attarder sur les temps forts… Read the rest of this entry »


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