Scaling Simplified: The Good, The Agile, and The Predictable

Illustration of a large kraken attacking a ship in stormy waters, a metaphor for Agility at ScaleEscape from the Clutches of Uncertainty

Pour yourself a cup of coffee or your favorite adult beverage, and let’s embark on a journey through the realm of scaling agility.

Troy Lightfoot and I had a chat with the dynamic duo – Dan Vacanti and Prateek Singh, navigators of agile seas.

We plunged into the depths of scaling agility, discovering how the principles of Kanban and the elegance of simplicity can be your steadfast allies, rescuing you from the clutches of uncertainty and chaos when scaling agility to the enterprise

Setting the Stage with Predictability

Predictability, especially at the enterprise scale, isn’t about reeling in the bounty of the sea with a magic rod. It’s about making sure your systems behave as you expect. Not as you want it to, mind you. While everyone wants predictability when scaling agility, nobody wants to sacrifice their precious list of must-have priorities. (It’s like wanting the feast of the seven fishes but without the calories – cute idea, but not gonna happen.) Start to gather data, and limit your WIP, monitor your work item age (Initiative, Epic, Feature, Story). Then you’ll see “XY% of the items get done in Z days or less.” Predictability isn’t clairvoyance, but it’s a good start.

Harmony in Voices: Process vs. Customer

Ever crafted a mighty ship, only to discover your customer had a humble dinghy in mind? That’s the peril of misalignment between the voice of your process and the voice of your customer. As Prateek wisely puts it, “There’s only one maturity model: how far off is the voice of your process from the voice of your customer?” When scaling agility it’s all to each to fall into the monoculture trap.

Aging Gracefully with Kanban

No, we’re not talking about wrinkles. Aging, in Kanban speak, is your trusty tool to measure the consequences of your actions. If you can measure only one thing, make it work item age. It’s a powerful leading indicator when scaling agility. Soon you will hear the manta repeated over and over on deck, “Stop starting, start finishing!” Aging is the gateway to controlling your work in progress – a game-changer, especially when scaling across portfolios.

Quality Unveiled: Building the Right Thing

‘Finishing” isn’t just dropping the anchor; it’s a nautical dance with the customer. Gathering feedback, ensuring you’ve charted the right course (or plotting the course for the next enhancements). In the spirit of Deming’s quality wisdom, it transcends mere navigation accuracy. It’s about aligning your product with the customer’s seafaring expectations and delivering the right kind of value. So, achieving ‘Done’ is not merely marking an ‘X’ on the map; it’s a standing ovation-worthy performance, often requiring more than one captivating act.”

Disney World Predictability: More Science, Less Magic

Ever queued at Disney World? They forecast down to the minute when you’ll set sail on their iconic Pirates of the Caribbean adventure, not with magic but science – queueing boundaries, stable systems, and discipline. Similarly, by applying kanban at scale you can turn the unpredictable into the reliable.

Kanban: The Enterprise Scaling Agility Keel

Scaling agility successfully demands simplification, and Kanban is your sturdy keel. The flexibility of Kanban, coupled with its context-specific application, makes it the key to implementing fundamentals across your fleet. As Prateek emphasizes, “If you’re doing all the things in the Kanban guide, you’re on your way to running a stable system.”

So, as you navigate the choppy waters of scaling agile to the enterprise level, remember to keep it simple. Take a “negativa approach” – paring away all of the organizational debt that has accumulated. follow the Kanban guide, and let aging be your guiding star.

Ready to Dive Deeper into Scaling Simplified?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top