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written, illustrated 
and performed by 
Claudio Perrone 
agilesensei.com 
a3thinker.com 
Evolve or die 
Popcorn Flow 
Thin...
Today I’m going to 
change the world 
… (a little).
“A few years ago, I made a world of 
difference to one client”
“Except… I didn’t.” 
28 months later...
Hello?
“I saw good people 
swallowed by an enemy 
they could not defeat”
“innovation and growth being crushed by 
status-quo, fire-fighting and conformity.”
“the company went through many 
reorganizations, only to stay the same” 
Organization chart 
Blame flow 
Victims 
Rule mak...
organizations can’t be “agile” if only the 
development teams are doing Agile 
Typical “Agile” Enterprise 
SMs
“all was left was a desolate, lifeless place, 
with seemingly little to offer humans.”
But What if 
an “alien” technology 
could change it?
LEAN 
MANAGEMENT 
1 
@agilesensei
“ All we are doing is looking at the 
timeline from the moment the 
customer gives us an order to the 
point we can collec...
“but that’s only part of the story…”
Why do you allow 
your competitors to 
copy all your tools?
What they need to see… 
is not visible 
What the 
hell is He 
talking 
about?
W. Edwards deming believed that… 
“ 95% of variation in worker’s 
performance is governed by the 
systems. 
---W. Edwards ...
Perhaps… 
“ We should work on our processes, not 
the outcome of our processes. 
---W. Edwards Deming
in lean, we co-design and continuously 
improve processes and tools… 
…TO BETTER SERVE 
INDIVIDUALS AND INTERACTIONS.
“learning to see” involves bringing to the 
surface what we learn 
Value Stream (from concept to cash) 
Learning 
Stream(s...
With method and guidance, managers grow 
to become problem solvers, critical 
thinkers and mentors
(YOU MAY ALSO CONSIDER THAT…) 
“ Management is too important 
to leave to the managers. 
Management is everyone’s job. 
-­...
@agilesensei 
A3 THINKING 2
I had terrible experiences with problem 
solving meetings
in Lean, a "problem" is the gap between the 
"current situation" and the "standard/ 
expectation" 
Gap = Problem 
Standard...
Following that definition, there 
are 3 classes of problems: 
Kaizen 
Standard 
(or Shared Expectation) 
Preventive 
Maint...
A3 Thinkers are like investigators at a crime scene…
They capture a shared understanding of a problem 
- often with just pencil and paper. 
Why are we 
talking about it? 
Wher...
To find causes, they use simple analysis tools Such 
as fishbone diagrams…
Problem: got a 
Speeding ticket 
Late for work 
Got up late 
Alarm clock 
didn’t work 
Batteries 
were flat 
Why? 
Why? 
W...
Once the nature of the problem is clear, they take 
steps to move towards the target condition 
systematically. 
What coun...
filling a report as quickly as possible would bring 
you fast nowhere.
A3 is about the thinking, not the report. 
“ -- Claudio Perrone 
It’s not what you do but rather what 
you learn by doing ...
I learned to develop each section thoroughly…
… and validate my current understanding with others 
before moving to the next SECTION
Traditionally, a mentor would challenge 
a problem solver’s line of thought with 
quick coaching cycles 
What do you mean ...
A3 thinking is not about problem solving… 
… it’s about creating problem solvers.
I saw situations like this… 
Why did the site 
go down? 
Ehm… someone made a mistake. 
WHO? 
I want his f$g# 
Head!!
… Turning into this 
Hi all, 
Here’s a quick summary of the 
root cause analysis we did this morning. 
Problem: The Websit...
… 
We took adaptive actions and the site is now up an running. 
However these are the further actions to take: 
Preventive...
Without guidance It’s all too easy to develop 
shallow A3 reports. 
… and Good 
mentors are 
rarer than 
plutonium.
So, with the motto: 
“Toyota supplier in 2 years or less”…
… I released a family of thinking tools… 
www.a3thinker.com
to help you change the world. 
one problem at a time. 
www.a3thinker.com/deck
Arguably, an A3 report “surfaces” a learning stream 
around a problem
What other 
Learning streams 
can we seek to 
surface?
POPCORN 
FLOW 
3 
@agilesensei
A while ago, I worked with a team who 
had not deployed in months
We worked together and evolved using 
the kanban method
But the real “secret” was our ability to 
SYSTEMATICALLY DEFINE AND negotiate 
explicit change experiments…
… a powerful learning stream that I defined 
and captured on a parallel “Popcorn board” 
Problems & observations 
Options ...
It starts with Problems & Observations...
...which I use to elicit options.
Promising options lead to a backlog of 
possible experiments.
experiments that we Commit to pursue have 
an action, reason, expectation and Review 
date.
At Each retrospective, I ask exactly these 
questions:
Some people fear “failure”… 
Gap = Frustration 
Expectation 
Reality
…but we only really “fail” when we limit 
our opportunities to learn 
Gap = Frustration 
Expectation 
Reality 
Learning
It’s Not “fail fast, fail often”... 
… It’s “Learn fast, learn often”.
Right from the beginning, I knew this was 
different.
... Because the team COULD easily handle 5-10 
change experiments each week, rapidly enabling it 
to DELIVER multiple time...
…and then it spread. 
Popcorn boards started to appear to other 
parts of the organization.
Imagine a continous flow of experiments to 
dramatically accelerate the rate of change 
in every corner of your organizati...
Final Thoughts
“ -- Winston Churchill 
To improve is to change. 
To be perfect is to change often.
Claudio 
Perrone 
Next is Now 
claudio@agilesensei.com 
www.agilesensei.com 
@agilesensei 
www.a3thinker.com
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Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 1 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 2 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 3 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 4 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 5 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 6 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 7 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 8 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 9 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 10 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 11 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 12 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 13 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 14 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 15 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 16 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 17 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 18 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 19 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 20 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 21 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 22 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 23 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 24 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 25 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 26 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 27 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 28 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 29 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 30 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 31 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 32 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 33 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 34 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 35 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 36 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 37 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 38 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 39 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 40 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 41 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 42 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 43 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 44 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 45 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 46 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 47 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 48 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 49 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 50 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 51 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 52 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 53 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 54 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 55 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 56 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 57 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 58 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 59 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 60 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 61 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 62 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 63 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 64 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 65 Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14) Slide 66
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Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14)

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Slides I presented this week for the Lean Kanban Central Europe 2014 #lkce14 conference in Hamburg (and subsequently at Build Stuff in Vilnius) about Lean Management with A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow. It consolidates some of my latest thoughts on the matter.
You may also be interested in the article that InfoQ published shortly after: http://www.infoq.com/news/2014/11/lean-thinking-change

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Evolve or Die: A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow in Action (#LKCE14)

  1. written, illustrated and performed by Claudio Perrone agilesensei.com a3thinker.com Evolve or die Popcorn Flow Thinking and A3 in Action @agilesensei
  2. Today I’m going to change the world … (a little).
  3. “A few years ago, I made a world of difference to one client”
  4. “Except… I didn’t.” 28 months later...
  5. Hello?
  6. “I saw good people swallowed by an enemy they could not defeat”
  7. “innovation and growth being crushed by status-quo, fire-fighting and conformity.”
  8. “the company went through many reorganizations, only to stay the same” Organization chart Blame flow Victims Rule makers Controllers Enforcers God Losers
  9. organizations can’t be “agile” if only the development teams are doing Agile Typical “Agile” Enterprise SMs
  10. “all was left was a desolate, lifeless place, with seemingly little to offer humans.”
  11. But What if an “alien” technology could change it?
  12. LEAN MANAGEMENT 1 @agilesensei
  13. “ All we are doing is looking at the timeline from the moment the customer gives us an order to the point we can collect the cash. And we are reducing that timeline by removing the non-value-added wastes. -­‐-­‐-­‐ Taiichi Ohno, Founder of TPS
  14. “but that’s only part of the story…”
  15. Why do you allow your competitors to copy all your tools?
  16. What they need to see… is not visible What the hell is He talking about?
  17. W. Edwards deming believed that… “ 95% of variation in worker’s performance is governed by the systems. ---W. Edwards Deming
  18. Perhaps… “ We should work on our processes, not the outcome of our processes. ---W. Edwards Deming
  19. in lean, we co-design and continuously improve processes and tools… …TO BETTER SERVE INDIVIDUALS AND INTERACTIONS.
  20. “learning to see” involves bringing to the surface what we learn Value Stream (from concept to cash) Learning Stream(s) (from question to knowledge base)
  21. With method and guidance, managers grow to become problem solvers, critical thinkers and mentors
  22. (YOU MAY ALSO CONSIDER THAT…) “ Management is too important to leave to the managers. Management is everyone’s job. -­‐-­‐-­‐ Jurgen Appelo
  23. @agilesensei A3 THINKING 2
  24. I had terrible experiences with problem solving meetings
  25. in Lean, a "problem" is the gap between the "current situation" and the "standard/ expectation" Gap = Problem Standard Current Situation
  26. Following that definition, there are 3 classes of problems: Kaizen Standard (or Shared Expectation) Preventive Maintenance
  27. A3 Thinkers are like investigators at a crime scene…
  28. They capture a shared understanding of a problem - often with just pencil and paper. Why are we talking about it? Where do things stand today? What should be happening? What would be a step in the right direction? What causes prevent us from reaching our target condition?
  29. To find causes, they use simple analysis tools Such as fishbone diagrams…
  30. Problem: got a Speeding ticket Late for work Got up late Alarm clock didn’t work Batteries were flat Why? Why? Why? Why? Therefore Therefore Therefore Therefore … And 5-whys
  31. Once the nature of the problem is clear, they take steps to move towards the target condition systematically. What countermeasures should neutralize the causes? What steps are required to implement the selected countermeasures? How will you know if the countermeasures work? Based on the results, what’s next?
  32. filling a report as quickly as possible would bring you fast nowhere.
  33. A3 is about the thinking, not the report. “ -- Claudio Perrone It’s not what you do but rather what you learn by doing it that matters.
  34. I learned to develop each section thoroughly…
  35. … and validate my current understanding with others before moving to the next SECTION
  36. Traditionally, a mentor would challenge a problem solver’s line of thought with quick coaching cycles What do you mean by it? (Clarity) Is it always the case? (Assumptions) How do you know? (Evidence) What are you implying by that? (Implications) Would that necessarily happen? (consequences) Do anyone see it another way? (Alternative Point of views)
  37. A3 thinking is not about problem solving… … it’s about creating problem solvers.
  38. I saw situations like this… Why did the site go down? Ehm… someone made a mistake. WHO? I want his f$g# Head!!
  39. … Turning into this Hi all, Here’s a quick summary of the root cause analysis we did this morning. Problem: The Website was offline from 15:31 to 15:40 because: -Website couldn't establish a connection to the database. - Because MySql service crashed. - Because MySql storage engine reached the default configuration memory limit. - Because Apache web server configuration allows threads to request more physical memory than available to MySql. - Because Apache and MySql default configuration settings are not optimised for the RAM currently available on the new virtual server. We failed to detect it because: - New relic didn't notify us that the site was not responsive - We don't know yet, needs further investigation. It might not be configured properly (cont..)
  40. … We took adaptive actions and the site is now up an running. However these are the further actions to take: Preventive: (future/cause) [now] Expand RAM on new virtual server [now] Review Apache & MySql configuration [later] Investigate moving to nginx Contingent (future/effect): [now] Configure New Relic's monitoring properly (alerts on site down, response time, n of processes, memory) [later] Investigate using New Relic for app profiling
  41. Without guidance It’s all too easy to develop shallow A3 reports. … and Good mentors are rarer than plutonium.
  42. So, with the motto: “Toyota supplier in 2 years or less”…
  43. … I released a family of thinking tools… www.a3thinker.com
  44. to help you change the world. one problem at a time. www.a3thinker.com/deck
  45. Arguably, an A3 report “surfaces” a learning stream around a problem
  46. What other Learning streams can we seek to surface?
  47. POPCORN FLOW 3 @agilesensei
  48. A while ago, I worked with a team who had not deployed in months
  49. We worked together and evolved using the kanban method
  50. But the real “secret” was our ability to SYSTEMATICALLY DEFINE AND negotiate explicit change experiments…
  51. … a powerful learning stream that I defined and captured on a parallel “Popcorn board” Problems & observations Options Possible experiments Committed Ongoing Review Next
  52. It starts with Problems & Observations...
  53. ...which I use to elicit options.
  54. Promising options lead to a backlog of possible experiments.
  55. experiments that we Commit to pursue have an action, reason, expectation and Review date.
  56. At Each retrospective, I ask exactly these questions:
  57. Some people fear “failure”… Gap = Frustration Expectation Reality
  58. …but we only really “fail” when we limit our opportunities to learn Gap = Frustration Expectation Reality Learning
  59. It’s Not “fail fast, fail often”... … It’s “Learn fast, learn often”.
  60. Right from the beginning, I knew this was different.
  61. ... Because the team COULD easily handle 5-10 change experiments each week, rapidly enabling it to DELIVER multiple times a day
  62. …and then it spread. Popcorn boards started to appear to other parts of the organization.
  63. Imagine a continous flow of experiments to dramatically accelerate the rate of change in every corner of your organization... ... How far would you go?
  64. Final Thoughts
  65. “ -- Winston Churchill To improve is to change. To be perfect is to change often.
  66. Claudio Perrone Next is Now claudio@agilesensei.com www.agilesensei.com @agilesensei www.a3thinker.com
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Slides I presented this week for the Lean Kanban Central Europe 2014 #lkce14 conference in Hamburg (and subsequently at Build Stuff in Vilnius) about Lean Management with A3 Thinking and Popcorn Flow. It consolidates some of my latest thoughts on the matter. You may also be interested in the article that InfoQ published shortly after: http://www.infoq.com/news/2014/11/lean-thinking-change

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