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FLOW FROM BLOCKERS
How to Use Blocker Clustering to Improve Predictability
WHAT IS FLOW?
The movement of customer value through a process.
— Dan Vacanti
— Photo from Woodland Trust
WHAT IS A BLOCKER?
An abnormal condition that prevents
a committed work item from progress
WHAT IMPACTS DELIVERY TIME?
— From Real-World Kanban
@mattphilip #ale15
BLOCKER CLUSTERING @mattphilip #ale15
THE INVITATION @mattphilip #ale15
Subject: Improve planning and reduce risk
Dear Asynchronites,
Would you like to improve ...
© 2012, Asynchrony Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.
1. Talk with teammates about
the experiment.
2. Define “block” for...
ANALYSIS SESSION
We started on a monthly cadence.
CLUSTERS EMERGE
After dividing into Internal and External, the team further clusters the blockers
into reasons for blocks.
ANALYZE ROOT-CAUSE
We used fishbone technique.
Internal blockers caused 20 days of
delay
External blockers caused 147 days
of delay
The biggest blocker cluster
accounted...
35 Dependent Story blockers
BLOCKERS BY COUNT @mattphilip #ale15
69 days lost to Dependent Story blockers
BLOCKERS BY DAYS @mattphilip #ale15
141 stories in the release
66 stories were blocked at some
point — nearly half!
WHAT WE DISCOVERED (TEAM 2) @mattphilip #a...
WHAT DOES THIS DO TO FLOW?
85th percentile
@mattphilip #ale15
IMPROVED FLOW
85th percentile
@mattphilip #ale15
TAKEAWAYS
You can learn from our mistakes

and try some things that worked for us.
1 2 3 4 5
Teams
UNEXPECTED INSIGHTS
Biggest blocker cluster for each?
@mattphilip #ale15
1
2
3
UNEXPECTED INSIGHTS
Dependent
Stories
@mattphilip #ale15
THINGS TO AVOID
Most blockers were of “unknown” reason
@mattphilip #ale15
Differing definitions of “blocker”
Misunderstand...
THINGS TO TRY @mattphilip #ale15
Manage empirically as a safe-to-fail
experiment
Start simple, with invitation
Tell others...
Klaus Leopold and Troy Magennis
bit.ly/SimResources
mattphilip.wordpress.com
@mattphilip
THANK YOU/Благодаря
Esmé
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Flow From Blockers: How to Use Blocker Clustering to Improve Predictability, ALE 2015 Conference

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"Flow From Blockers: How to Use Blocker Clustering to Improve Predictability" presentation as given at the Agile Lean Europe 2015 Conference in Sofia, Bulgaria, 28 August 2015.

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Flow From Blockers: How to Use Blocker Clustering to Improve Predictability, ALE 2015 Conference

  1. 1. FLOW FROM BLOCKERS How to Use Blocker Clustering to Improve Predictability
  2. 2. WHAT IS FLOW? The movement of customer value through a process. — Dan Vacanti
  3. 3. — Photo from Woodland Trust WHAT IS A BLOCKER? An abnormal condition that prevents a committed work item from progress
  4. 4. WHAT IMPACTS DELIVERY TIME? — From Real-World Kanban @mattphilip #ale15
  5. 5. BLOCKER CLUSTERING @mattphilip #ale15
  6. 6. THE INVITATION @mattphilip #ale15 Subject: Improve planning and reduce risk Dear Asynchronites, Would you like to improve planning and reduce risk in your team? I'm offering to coach up to two teams in the practice of blocker clustering…
  7. 7. © 2012, Asynchrony Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved. 1. Talk with teammates about the experiment. 2. Define “block” for your team. 3. Start gathering blocker data, including reason and duration — simply and easily. GETTING STARTED @mattphilip #ale15
  8. 8. ANALYSIS SESSION We started on a monthly cadence.
  9. 9. CLUSTERS EMERGE After dividing into Internal and External, the team further clusters the blockers into reasons for blocks.
  10. 10. ANALYZE ROOT-CAUSE We used fishbone technique.
  11. 11. Internal blockers caused 20 days of delay External blockers caused 147 days of delay The biggest blocker cluster accounted for 86 days of delay WHAT WE DISCOVERED (TEAM 1) @mattphilip #ale15
  12. 12. 35 Dependent Story blockers BLOCKERS BY COUNT @mattphilip #ale15
  13. 13. 69 days lost to Dependent Story blockers BLOCKERS BY DAYS @mattphilip #ale15
  14. 14. 141 stories in the release 66 stories were blocked at some point — nearly half! WHAT WE DISCOVERED (TEAM 2) @mattphilip #ale15
  15. 15. WHAT DOES THIS DO TO FLOW? 85th percentile @mattphilip #ale15
  16. 16. IMPROVED FLOW 85th percentile @mattphilip #ale15
  17. 17. TAKEAWAYS You can learn from our mistakes
 and try some things that worked for us.
  18. 18. 1 2 3 4 5 Teams UNEXPECTED INSIGHTS Biggest blocker cluster for each? @mattphilip #ale15
  19. 19. 1 2 3 UNEXPECTED INSIGHTS Dependent Stories @mattphilip #ale15
  20. 20. THINGS TO AVOID Most blockers were of “unknown” reason @mattphilip #ale15 Differing definitions of “blocker” Misunderstanding your commitment point Bad (or no) data
  21. 21. THINGS TO TRY @mattphilip #ale15 Manage empirically as a safe-to-fail experiment Start simple, with invitation Tell others about it
  22. 22. Klaus Leopold and Troy Magennis bit.ly/SimResources mattphilip.wordpress.com @mattphilip THANK YOU/Благодаря Esmé
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    Sep. 12, 2015
  • simeonkisyov

    Sep. 10, 2015
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    Aug. 30, 2015
  • janit0r

    Aug. 28, 2015
  • happypig

    Aug. 28, 2015

"Flow From Blockers: How to Use Blocker Clustering to Improve Predictability" presentation as given at the Agile Lean Europe 2015 Conference in Sofia, Bulgaria, 28 August 2015.

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