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Continuous Improvement in software development, AgileGurgaon2016

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Sudipta Lahiri

on 9 August 2018

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Transcript of Continuous Improvement in software development, AgileGurgaon2016

Continuous Improvement in
software development

Sudipta Lahiri, Digite
What do we mean from continuous improvement and adaptation?
Small incremental steps, adjusting along the way, continuously

Relying on periodic retrospectives assumes a system that is “temporarily” static

Standards that don’t keep continuously improving bring down system performance because system characteristics keep changing
A "routine" of Continuous Improvement!
Inspect and adapt... don’t copy

It not adequate to implement a methodology, model or method

Think how you can make Continuous Improvement a routine that your team can follow without a second thought
The Goal!
Kata means “routine”
... routines that help its people continuously improve and evolve... systematically, not as a special initiative

A way of keeping 2 things in alignment, synchronized with each other: A) The system B) The continuously changing environment

We don’t control the environments around us but we can control how to manage them

Kata is not a technique, not a principle
It’s much deeper.... it’s part of work, everyday

Two fundamental “Kata” routines
Improvement Kata
A routine that helps you to improve, adapt and evolve

Coaching Kata
A routine that makes the experienced leaders and managers teach the Improvement Kata to everyone

Improvement Kata
What happens in retrospectives?
Best case scenario:
We get a “scattered” set of improvements
These are not generally directed in any specific direction
Without a vision, once you address these improvements, you get a static system
You can’t predict the outcome!

In the most common scenario:
Action items don’t get closed; over time, team loses faith, quality of feedback drops
Often, too many items and too many “organizational” items
Freshers, attrition, requirements are not well defined, etc.
Rarely, problems within the team are identified!
Rarely, a 5Why analysis to get to “real” Root Cause
My Background
Sudipta Lahiri
Senior Vice President, Digité

Agile/Lean practitioner (75%)

Lean Transformation of our own team
Developed SwiftKanban (www.swiftkanban.com), SwiftALM (www.digite.com)
Licensed user base of over 300,000

Agile Coach (25%)

Train and coach teams/organizations in Lean/Agile

Run the LimitedWIP Societies in India

Why this session?
Are we missing the point?

Should we have a different perspective?

Are we really happy with how Agile teams have performed so far?

Have the retrospectives delivered the results we were told they will deliver?
Toyota: unparalleled success
Toyota is one of the most open organizations

There are many known practices that are widely adopted
Andon, Kanban, Jidoka, Heijunka...

There is so much talk about ‘Continuous Improvement’
A3 sheets, others...

Yet, the success of Toyota rarely been replicated... why?
Even within Japanese companies

.... it all comes down to Toyota’s key values!
What Toyota values...
It values organization’s routines for improvement and adaptation for competitive advantage and long term success
Not quantitative/financial targets

“ Toyota has long considered its ability to permanently resolve problems and then improve stable processes as one of the company’s competitive advantages.
- Kathi Hanley, Toyota”
We aren’t the best “copy cats”!
Teams need to be adapt and continuously improve

External and internal environments are changing continuously; you can’t predict how they will develop

We jump to “implementation”...
to implement methodologies (with certifications!)

We copy what we see...
... forgetting that some of these practices and principles were a response to their issues, their problems

Lets set the context...
Picture by Mike Rother
Picture by Mike Rother
It does not happen with... training, classroom sessions or ToDo or Checklists!
Set a vision for the team/organization
VISION gives a direction for the “system” to think in one direction

Mike Rother says : “Continuous Improvement and Adaptation”
“Moving towards a desired state through an unclear territory by being sensitive and responding to actual changes on the ground”

Alvin Toffler’s says”
You have got to think about big things while you are doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction

Vision sets the "direction"
Use it for defining the next steps... and to manage the team

Resolve/maneuver through the obstacles
Establish a work "pattern"
Without a pattern:

You cannot identify where to improve...

You are not certain how to react to OR how the system will react to when you change something
Kanban: method for “Continuous Improvement”
Visible intent:
produce only what we need

Invisible intent:
support process improvement to provide a target condition by defining a relationship between stages of the value stream

In push systems, you dump work to downstream; rest is his problem!

The purpose of Kanban is to eliminate Kanban!
- Mike Rother
The purpose of Kanban is to eliminate Kanban!
- Mike Rother
Eliminate the supermarket... but don’t do it too fast!

Use Kanban to define the “next stage” of improvement journey

There is no point in seeing the same thing what you are doing today! There is no improvement...
So... you know what you need to do?
How do you go about doing it...?
PDCA... with a twist!
Accept that the path is unclear
“No Problem” = Problem

Small, incremental and rapid step
Sometimes in minutes; no detailed plan
Don’t lose time in trying to get the perfect step; take a bandaid step to see farther

This is where PDCA comes in
single-factor experiments
, not necessarily the biggest problem
In summary, 5 questions for Improvement Kata...
What is the target pattern/condition (the challenge)?

What is the actual condition now?

What obstacles are preventing you from reaching the target condition?

Which one are you addressing now?

What is your next step (starting PDCA)?

When can we go and see what we have learnt from the next step?

A Continuous Improvement Kata will look like this...
Let's recap...
Define a vision
Should be challenge but not unreal

Identify the next step...
Don't think of the whole journey; accept that you don't know
Try to define the next step as a pattern!

Use a Kanban System to help define the pattern and the next step
Visualization + a desire for uniform cadence

Once you know the target condition, do quick PDCA
Don't focus on Pareto
Do "
single factor
" experiments"
Thinking like this is not easy...
This is where "Coaching Kata" comes in
Who does the Improvement Kata?
Team Members:

Limited impact
Voluntary improvement activity
Train them to think of kaizen
Identify who is ready to go to the next level

90% impact
50% of their time!
Part of their job function
Cost reduction via improvement in productivity and quality

Pareto Charts aren't adequate!
Its simply too late!

We don’t look into what is happening now

Root cause trail is cold

The “Other” bucket

Our response has to be immediate

Our response should NOT BE from the team members...

Why? Because if the problem is quickly fixed, you will not be able to address the root cause

Too strongly influenced by your pain..
Coaching in action...
Your observations...?
What’s the approach?

How is it different from what we do today?

Bottomline, this isn’t training OR workshop! You learn the art by doing it again and again and again... till your brain does it in an auto mode!
Think about how you drive...
The basics of Coaching Kata
Menton-Mentee-Mentor-Mentee... Relationship

At lowel levels, Mentor is mostly the line manager; as you grow, the mentor changes to someone not in the line

Mentee is responsible for “doing”; mentor is responsible for the “outcome”

the learner hasn’t learnt, the teacher hasn’t taught...
The basics of Coaching Kata
As a mentor, let them experiment but keep them in the zone; don’t tell them what to do (too hard!)
There is value of learning through small errors; its more permanent in nature
It helps the mentor understand how the mentee thinks
Inputs for future training and improvement

Use a written document... A3... for a focussed discussion
Putting it down in one sheet is damn hard!
Needs extreme clarity to be concise
Don’t suggest the template to begin with... lead to something like it!
Thank you!
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