Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Cadence is for Marching Bands

The big Agile Scaling Methodologies™ make a point of how they establish “cadence” to synchronize teams.

My question is, Why? Why is that something that is good? How does imposing rigidity help improve the work? Improve the knowledge and skills of the teams? And most importantly how does that help provide Value?

It helps lazy executives and busybody PMO’s who never go to the Gemba or care about the work prepare their “status” spreadsheets, but have little use otherwise.

Complex Cognitive Systems

Complex cognitive systems are naturally organic, with patterns and rhythms that are driven by the underlying work they are engaged in.

Communication, through effective visual management (not an electronic system) along with teams interacting with their upstream, downstream and sister teams, is the best way to coordinate work.
Please note the distinction: the underlying work, with its varying cycle times, is the driver for coordination, not an externally imposed drumbeat.

Coordination and any needed synchronization will emerge. It will be based on the individuals on the teams interacting. (I think I’ve heard that somewhere before).

Getting There

For most organizations this will require a change in habit and culture.
Basic steps include:
  • Every team has a physical Visual Management System (that they are constantly improving – changing as they learn more about the work and eliminate waste)
  • Every team uses real data, such as cycle time, to drive improvements
  • Every team uses a scientific method, such as PDCA, to drive daily continuous improvement
  • Leadership teams “walk the walk” by doing the same: visual management of their work, fact collection and continuous improvement – this is the key to successfully change the culture
  • Teams working on related efforts set up a physical Obeya

The Real Work Begins

Then the real work begins, the work of scientific improvement of the work, elimination of waste, improvement of the culture, enhancing communication, adding habits and practices that support the emergent order and challenge top-down impositions.

This will take time, and most importantly, work, real work by the leadership team.

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