The 10 Core Values of Zappos

I recently read Tony Hsieh’s “Delivering Happiness – A Path to  Passion, Profits and Purpose” and I found it a very inspiring read.  We, in the Agile world often hear of the Zappos culture and values –  which looks very simple from the outside, but very difficult to follow in the real sense of the term.

I have summarised the 10 Core Values which Zappos lives by, in letter and spirit.  Here is a brief summary of those Core Values   —>  The 10 Core Values of Zappos

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Brief Summary of The DevOps Handbook

The DevOps Handbook is a truly comprehensive book on DevOps.  It covers the theory principles and practices to start off a DevOps initiative.  The book covers the whole gamut of DevOps from the cultural aspects, flow, feedback, continuous improvement, value streams, the foundations for the Deployment pipeline automated testing, Continuous Integration, , Continuous delivery and deployment, the popular tools and metrics collected, right up to integration security and compliance as part of regular work.   The case studies from Netflix, Target, Etsy, Google and others gives us a clear picture of how the concepts and principles are put into practise.

The book complements ‘The Phoenix project’ and “Lean Enterprise” in terms of content related to DevOps.

Here is a brief summary of the book  -> the-devops-handbook-summary

Books .. Books .. Books

These are a list of books compiled from various sources.     Here are a few links to a list of books suggested by Dominic Krimmer for Product Owners, Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, Leadership and Developers.

  1. Agile coaching  — http://www.dkrimmer.de/2016/07/27/top-15-books-about-agile-coaching/
  2. Developers – http://www.dkrimmer.de/2015/01/14/top-20-agile-books-software-developers/
  3. Leadership – http://www.dkrimmer.de/2015/10/12/top-20-books-about-leadership/
  4. Product Owners – http://www.dkrimmer.de/2015/02/16/top-20-agile-books-product-owners/
  5. Scrum Masters – http://www.dkrimmer.de/2014/12/15/top-agile-books-for-scrum-masters/

 

Srl # Book Author/s
1 Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances J. Richard Hackman
2 Leading Self-Directed Work Teams: A Guide to Developing New Team Leadership Skills  Kimball Fisher
3 The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performan ce Organization Douglas Smith, Jon Katzenbach
4 The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable  Patrick M. Lencioni
5 Fast Cycle Time: How to Align Purpose, Strategy, and Structure for Speed  Christopher Meyer
6 Revolutionizing Product Development: Quantum Leaps in Speed, Efficiency and Quality Steven C. Wheelwright, Kim B. Clark
7 Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams Tom DeMarco, Tim Lister
8 Software for Your Head Jim McCarthy, Michele McCarthy
9 A Sense of Urgency John Kotter
10 Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases Through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation Jez Humble, David Farley
11 Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling Edgar H Schein
12 Co-Active Coaching: Changing Business, Transforming Lives Henry Kimsey-House, Karen Kimsey-House, Laura Whitworth
13 The Skilled Facilitator: A Comprehensive Resource for Consultants, Facilitators, Managers, Trainers and Coaches Roger Schwarz
14 Kanban Change Leadership Klaus Leopold, Siegfried Kaltenecker
15 The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way Your Lead Forever Michael Bungay Stanier
16 Scrumban: Essays on Kanban Systems for Lean Software Development Corey Ladas
17 The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox
18 Perfect Software: And Other Illusions About Testing Gerald M. Weinberg
19 The Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully Gerald Weinberg
20 An Introduction to General Systems Thinking Gerald M. Weinberg
21 Kanban from the Inside: Understand the Kanban Method, connect it to what you already know, introduce it with impact Mike Burrows
22 Practices for Scaling Lean and Agile Development: Large, Multisite, and Offshore Product Development with Large-Scale Scrum  by Craig Larman, Bas Vodde
23 The Fifth Discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization: Second edition Peter M Senge
24 Specification by Example: How Successful Teams Deliver the Right Software Gojko Adzic
25 The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance Josh Waitzkin
26 Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change Kent Beck, with Cynthia Andres
27 Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-based Management Jeffrey Pfeffer, Robert I. Sutton
28 Taiichi Ohnos Workplace Management: Special 100th Birthday Edition Taiichi Ohno
29 The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses Eric Ries
30 Running Lean Ash Maurya
31 Scaling Lean and Agile Development: Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum: Successful Large, Multisite and Offshore Products with Large-scale Scrum by Vodde Craig Larman, Bas
32 Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships Eric Berne
33 Nonviolent Communication: a Language of Life Marshall B. Rosenberg
34 The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, George Spafford
35 Mastery (Plume) George Leonard
36 The Tao of Coaching: Boost Your Effectiveness at Work by Inspiring and Developing Those Around You Max Landsberg
37 Beyond the Goal: Theory of Constraints Eliyahu M. Goldratt
38 Abolishing Performance Appraisals: Why They Backfire and What to Do Instead Tom Coens, Mary Jenkins, Peter Block
39 Smart and Gets Things Done: Joel Spolsky’s Concise Guide to Finding the Best Technical Talent Joel Spolsky
40 The Coach’s Casebook: Mastering The Twelve Traits That Trap Us Geoff Watts, Kim Morgan
41 The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha, Chris Yeh
42 The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey Kenneth Blanchard, William, Jr. Oncken, Hal Burrows
43 Originals: How Non-conformists Change the World Adam Grant
44 Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us Daniel Pink
45 Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong Norman Fischer
46 Servant Leadership : A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness Robert K. Greenleaf
47 Agile Coaching Rachel Davies, Liz Sedley
48 Scrum Mastery: From Good To Great Servant-Leadership Geoff Watts
49 Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition Lyssa Adkins
50 Ending the Pursuit of Happiness: A Zen Guide to Ending the Pursuit of Happiness Barry Magid
51 The End of Leadership Barbara Kellerman
52 Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage in Human Consciousness Frederic Laloux
53 Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business David J. Anderson, Donald G Reinertsen
54 Agile Retrospectives : Making Good Teams Great (Pragmatic Programmers) Esther Derby, Diana Larsen, Ken Schwaber
55 The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be Moises Naim
56 Fearless Change Mary Lynn Manns and Linda Rising
57 Lean change Management Jason Little
58 Switch Chip and Dan Heath
59 Innovation Games Luke Hohmann
60 Joy Inc Richard Sheridan
61 Essential Scrum Kenneth Rubin
62 The Agile Mindset Gil Broza
63 Flow Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
64 Mindset – the new psychology of success Carol Dweck
65 Turn the ship around David Marquet
66 Team of Teams General Stanley McChrystal and Tantum Collins
67 Creativity Inc Ed Catmull
68 Start with Why Simon Sinek
69 Agile Testing Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory
70 Work Rules Lazlo Block
71 User Story Mapping Jeff Patton
72 Principles of Product Development flow Don Reinertsen
73 Inspire Marty Cagan
74 Agile Product Management with Scrum Roman Pichler
75 Your brain at work David Rock
76 Coaching for Performance: GROWing Human Potential and Purpose – the Principles and Practice of Coaching and Leadership John Whitmore
77 Quiet Leadership David Rock
78 Mastering Leadership Robert J. Anderson and William Adams
79 Training from the back of the room Sharon Bowman
80 Thinking Fast and Slow Daniel Kahneman
81 Leading Change John Kotter
82 Facilitator′s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making Sam Kaner
83 Game Storming Dave Gray
84 Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise and Other Bribes Alfie Kohn
85 Strategize: Product Strategy and Product Roadmap Practices for the Digital Age Roman Pichler
86 The Art of Agile Development James Shore

Adaptive Portfolio Management

Adaptive Portfolio Management

 

The modern business environment is dynamic, ever changing, complex and is represented by the 4 letter acronym – VUCA

  • Volatility – is characterised by challenges that are unexpected or unstable and may be for an unknown duration. The nature and dynamics of change and the nature and speed of change is increasing by the day.
  • Uncertainty – is the lack of predictability, the prospects of surprise and a sense of awareness and understanding of issues and events. There is no clarity about future outcomes and how much ever steps we take in that direction, the goal posts keep moving away.
  • Complexity – is the multiplex of forces, the confounding of issues and the resulting confusion that surround an organization. The interactions are often unclear until after they have happened.
  • Ambiguity – is the haziness of reality, mixed meaning of conditions, confusion about cause and effect resulting in misinterpreting events, their consequences and causes.

The relevance of VUCA relates to how people view the conditions under which they make decisions, plan forward, foster change and solve problems.   Coupled with this,  is the modern reality which has become increasingly competitive, characterised by rapid innovation, radical transparency customer engagement.  Organizations are forced to anticipate issues that shape conditions, understand the consequences of issues and actions, prepare for alternative realities and challenges and address relevant opportunities.   As Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change” 

Why Adaptive Portfolio Management

Programs are designed to meet certain business goals and deriving decisions about portfolio items.  Portfolio Management is driven by dynamic business goals and is not a static year-long plan.  Agile Portfolio management uses feedback loops to constantly adjust and adapt to changing business needs.  It is taking the “Build Measure Learn” Cycle from the Lean Startup and apply it at all levels of  Portfolio Management – with organizations focussed on delivering value in small chunks, getting feedback, learn from it and improve on it.

Characteristics that need to be in place for organizations to have an Adaptive Portfolio

  1. Flow vs Batch – One of the benefits about using the flow based delivery model instead of a large batch product development is the ability to change direction easily – at every level from an individual to the portfolio.   This provides the ability to respond to churn in the marketplace and get fast feedback from the customers and improve on the product which can generate value to the customer.
  2. Governance – Unlike Governance in traditional projects, governance in Agile projects is about answering two questions –
    1. Are we getting value for money
    2. Do solutions delivered meet our full expectations

Governance should be light touch –to be an enabler of agility rather than being a burdensome process, slowing down the delivery of validated learning.  Governance is also about creating an environment of trust and empowerment.

  1. Iterative Flow – It is critical that every initiative should have regular checkpoints and feedback loops. The question to be asked is if the next incremental work is going to add more value than the cost of building the increment.  It is important to keep the iteration no longer than 6 weeks to have these feedback loops shorter.
  1. Understand our capacity – It is important to understand the constraints faced by the organization in terms of its capacity to deliver. It is good to know how big is the queue of new initiatives and whether we have the capacity to deliver the items in the queue.  It there are too many items in the queue, be decisive in pruning the queue ruthlessly.
  1. Understand the voice of the customer – This is about getting frequent feedback from the  customer, improve on your product / build – with the objective of delighting the customer.  An adaptive portfolio is a key characteristic of a truly learning organisation, one that listens and responds to the ever changing voice of their customer.  According to Peter Senge “the only sustainable source of competitive advantage is your organizations ability to grow faster than the competition”.
  1. Value Engineering – this is understanding both the value and the cost of the feature and make informed value engineering decisions during project execution – and adopt the portfolio to respond to validated learning.
  1. Agile PMO – Have an Agile PMO which is People oriented (sharing knowledge and facilitating organization wide learning about Agile approaches), Process Oriented (come out with process guidelines, tools and metrics) and Project Oriented (quick in decision making and managing the inflow of new projects and maintaining the WIP limit of the organization.  One cannot have an adaptive portfolio, if the delivery engine is not adaptive and responsive.

 

 

Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull

I started reading this book after lots of recommendations on Amazon and  on Twitter.  And I was definitely not disappointed.  I must state upfront that I hardly watch movies, let alone animation movies –  and the whole book revolves around how Ed Catmull and John Lasseter and their team created blockbuster movies such as the Toy Story, Monster Inc, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, WALL E etc ; the problems they encountered along the way  and how they went about resolving them in a creative manner.

I found it a great read – and could relate to most of Ed’s stories and anecdotes to the Agile world –  be it fail fast, be open to ideas from anyone in the organization,  transparency in the way we work,  managing change, importance of trust,  collective responsibility, fast feedback, continuous improvement among others.  Highly recommended, especially for those practicing Agile.

Here are the top 20 of his ideas taken from the book.

  1. Give a good idea to a mediocre team and they will screw it up. Give a mediocre idea to a great team, they will either fix it or come up with something better.  If you get the team right, chances are you will get the ideas right.
  2. Always try to hire people who are smarter than you. Always take a chance on better, even if it seems a potential threat.
  3. If there are people in your organization who feel they are not free to suggest ideas, you lose. Do not discount ideas from unexpected sources.
  4. There are many valid reasons why people aren’t candid with one another in a work environment. Your job is to search for those reasons and then address them.  Similarly, if someone disagrees with you, it is important to understand the reasoning behind their conclusions.
  5. There is nothing quite as effective, when it comes to shutting down alternative viewpoints, as being convinced you are right.
  6. If there is more truth in the hallways than in meetings, you have a problem.
  7. Many managers feel that if they are not notified about problems before others are if they are surprised in a meeting, then it is a sign of disrespect. Get over it.
  8. Careful “messaging” to downplay problems makes you appear to be lying, deluded, ignorant, or uncaring. Sharing problems is an act of inclusion that makes employees feel invested in the larger enterprise.
  9. Do not fall for the illusion that by preventing errors, you won’t have errors to fix. The truth is, the cost of preventing errors if often far greater than the cost of fixing them.
  10. Change and uncertainty are part of life. Our job is not to resist them but to build the capacity to recover when expected events occur.  If you don’t always try to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill prepared to lead.
  11. It is not the manager’s role to prevent risks. It is the manager’s job to make it safe to take them.
  12. Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all.  It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.
  13. Trust doesn’t mean that you trust someone won’t screw up – it means you trust them even when they do screw up.
  14. The people ultimately responsible for implementing a plan must be empowered to make decisions when things go wrong, even before getting approval. Finding and fixing problems is everyone’s job.  Any one should be able to stop the production line.
  15. The desire for everything to run smoothly is a false goal – it leads to measuring people by the mistakes they make rather than by their ability to solve problems.
  16. Don’t wait for things to be perfect before you share them with others. Show early and show often.
  17. Imposing limits can encourage a creative response. Excellent work can emerge from uncomfortable or seemingly untenable circumstances.
  18. An organization as a whole is more conservative and resistant to change than the individuals who comprise it. Do not assume that general agreement will lead to change – it take substantial energy to move a group, even when all are aboard
  19. Excellence, quality and good should be earned words – attributed by others to us, not proclaimed by us about ourselves.
  20. Don’t confuse the process with the goal. Working on our processes to make them better, easier and more efficient is an indispensable activity and something we should continually work on – but it is not the goal.  Making the product great is a goal.

Brief Summary – The Agile Mind-set – Making Agile Processes Work by Gil Broza

This is a brief summary of the book – The Agile Mind-set – Making Agile Processes work by Gil Broza.

The book consists of 9 chapters

  1. The Big Picture
  2. Deciding what to work on
  3. Planning the work
  4. Engaging people
  5. Performing as a team
  6. Doing the work – Part 1
  7. Doing the work – Part 2
  8. Getting better at work
  9. Adopting the mindset

Link to the summary –>  The Agile Mindset – Making Agile Processes Work – Book summary