Conference et al.

Knackered at Lean Start Up Machine Munich

“Lean Startup Machine (LSM) is an excellent excercise in learning how to validate ideas quickly and figure out which of your assumptions are wrong.” (Jameson Detweiler, Co-Founder & CEO LaunchRock) There is actually not much more to say about the Lean Startup Machine event which I attended last week-end (Aug 9-11, 2013) in Munich. Besides: I hated it, I loved it, it had an unsustainable speed, it was exhausting, it was intense, I learnt a lot, I definitely got out of the building, I am very happy I could attend it and, yes, I definitely recommend attending a Lean Startup Machine when there’s one near you.

Lean Start Up Machine Munich

Made it stick:
Don’t ask “Can I build the product.” but rather “Should I built it.”
If you are familiar with the Lean Startup books, you know this already. Still people think and talk very quickly about a solution before validating their assumptions about the problem. LSM forces you to start with the problem, validate it and only then start to think about a solution. Which helps is the following:

Don’t think “Minimal Viable Product”, but rather “Minimal Viable Experiment”.
If you start with a product already in mind, you are more likely to restrict yourself. If you think in experiments you are and think more likely open. LSM teaches you hurtfully that most (of your) product ideas will turn out not to be working. But you learn that fast, as:

Lean Start Up Machine MunichNobody can predict the future.
True. I knew that before, but forgot. So do a lot of people: they are trying nevertheless, like to draw a plan, spend a lot of money and find out much later.
The same is true about LSM: I expected more fun, took it too easy, hated the mentors who kicked our a****, then tried harder, was still frustrated, but felt really happy in the end. And also on the following day.

This was the output of the team I was working with at the end of LSM Munich:

  • A simple landing page with a possibility to select emails of interested persons
  • At least 20 face to face interviews, including a simple Concierge MVP approach
  • Facebook Page, Twitter Account to drive traffic to the landing page
  • A reasonable insight that the idea could work and how we can move on
  • Several empty bottles of beer and pizza boxes (Thx for the catering again!)

Related articles in the WWW:

Agile Coaching, Books, Kanban, Scrum, Scrumban

Soft Agile Transition: Slowly from nowhere to Scrum

Lean Thinking is what I’m trying to learn and adopt at the moment.
What a perfect coincidence that I stumbled over Scaling Lean & Agile Development: Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum from Craig Larman and Bas Vodde. On page 54 they describe Kaizen, one of the crucial Lean Principles, as a plausible “inspect & adapt”:

  1. choose and practice techniques the team and/or product group has agreed to try, until they are well understood
  2. experiment until you find a better way
  3. repeat forever

When I try to find this Kaizen practice in my work of the last years, it fits to what I call the “soft agile transition from nowhere to Scrum.” 😉
Here is the formula:
(0) Nothing > (1) Daily communication > (2) Visual Workflow > (3) Kanban > (4) Scrumban > (5) Scrum

When we started working with agile techniques we had a divergent mindset in our product teams. Only one team was ready and willing to start with Scrum straight away. Other teams were reluctant to try anything agile and stayed with “Nothing” or were led by project management.

By now all our teams are somewhere in the “soft agile transition from nowhere to Scrum” and I’m happy that all of them have passed step “(1) Daily communication” already.

The above described Kaizen was my fundamental line of action to move step by step from (0) to (5).

What are your experiences with introducing agile techniques to your company?

from nowhere to scrum via kanban and scrumban

Characteristics of the “soft agile transition from nowhere to Scrum”

(0) Nothing
– Black Box
– Led by Project Management

(1) Daily communication
– Daily Scrum

(2) Visual Workflow
– Daily Scrum
– Team board
– Regular Retrospectives

(3) Kanban
– Daily Scrum
– Team board
– Regular Retrospectives
– WIP
– Lead Time
– Optimize size of batches

(4) Scrumban
– Daily Scrum
– Team board
– Regular Retrospectives
– WIP
– Lead Time
– Optimize size of batches
– Agile Estimation
– Regular Review Meetings
– Release Plan via Lead Time

(5) Scrum
Do it without ScrumButs