Sept. 10, 2011

Awesome Coach of the Week: Stephen Parry

We honor Stephen Parry as Awesome Coach of the Week 36, 2011!

Stephen LeanVoices Parry is an unusual addition to our list, as he is not an agile coach. Stephen is a management coach working on the same goal as we are: business transformation. What I like about his approach is that he recognises the similarity and relationship of Lean and Agile. When he submitted his talk on “Creating an Integrated ICT Value Stream Using Lean and Agile Thinking” for ALE2011 which took place this week in Berlin, I was delighted to have such an experienced Lean expert at the conference, but at the same time... Wondered why he wanted to come.

Stephen Parry Presenting at ALE2011

21st century organisation

We met by chance last Tuesday, the day before the unconference started, when I arrived at the hotel to prepare the venue for our event. A few people who had arrived early decided to have lunch together, and he decided to join us... Then he told me that he learned about our plans on Twitter, and started to get interested when we published details about our distributed lean organisation. Then he sketched an interesting perspective: like us he's been irritated in recent years about big consultancies who sell Lean (and now start to sell Agile) to big enterprises to cut costs and lay off people. The effect of these “transformations” is that these enterprises do “the wrong things righter”.

Our own experience is similar: as long as you only coach an organisation's dev teams to be Agile, the mindset of the organisation does not change. To change the organisational culture, you need to apply Lean principles and disciplines to change the way organisations think about their processes: instead of creating products, they should create value. Instead of asking the customer, “We build a nice product, why don't you buy it?”, they should ask, “which product do you need to create the best value?”

Waste? Ask the Customer!

Most lean initiatives focus on eliminating waste. But they look for it in the wrong place, Stephen said in his talk. Instead of focussing on waste within their own organisation, they should focus on waste they create in the customers' organisations: When the products we produce have errors, are inconvenient to use or don't have the right features, the value of our products for the customer is greatly reduced. Most product organisations have service departments that actually collect data about this situation, but they don't pay attention:

When you start using customer service data to drive improvements, focus on the creation of new features or products and realisation of opportunities, you can greatly improve your organisation by focussing on the “right things”—instead of letting your development department “do agile” so that they produce the same stuff as before, just faster and with better quality. The full slides of his talk are here:


Engaging, Learning, Leading, Improving

in the second half of his talk, Stephen explained his approach at evaluating and changing the culture of an organisation:

Do you allow your staff to engage with customers and users? Is everything forbidden unless permitted, or is everything permitted unless forbidden?

Does your work environment support learning? Does your management focus on employee utilisation or rather on creativity and problem solving?

On leading: Do you create a no-blame climate and a fail-safe environment? Do you focus on functional targets or on end-to-end effectiveness?

Can your employees improve business processes, products and services? What influence do they have on the measurement system?

I recorded part of his explanations:


Awesome Coach of the Week

This is why I think Stephen Parry is an Awesome Coach. If you can add an awesome experience with Stephen, please do so in the comments. We honour one Coach a week—suggestions welcome!

Image of agile42

agile42

News and views from the Headquarter of the agile42 team
blog comments powered by Disqus
Image of agile42

agile42

News and views from the Headquarter of the agile42 team

Latest Posts

agile42 is offering Scrum trainings in USA - Which Scrum course is right for you?

Are you looking for Scrum trainings in the U.S.? Read on to find out which course is right for you. 

Image of asanders

Aaron Sanders

Image of agile42

agile42

News and views from the Headquarter of the agile42 team

Scrumtisch February 2019

The Berlin Scrum User Group meets on February 28th at agile42, Gruenberger Str. 54, 10245 Berlin.

Image of aballer

Alexandra Baller

agile42 Team Assistant

Sponsoring 0111 CTO conference in South Africa

agile42 is excited to be a sponsor of the first 0111 CTO Conference in South Africa

Image of barry.tandy

Barry Tandy

Online visualization workshop with Benjamin Felis

A new online online format allows everyone to take part in a workshop teaching the visualization techniques used by agile42 coaches

Image of marion

Marion Eickmann

I am one of the founders and the executive director at agile42. I have supported strategic product development and leadership development for longer than 15 years. Since 2007 I have been realizing local and global agile projects with agile42's international team successfully. You like to talk about: ORGANIC agility, complexity, resilience, organizational culture & Agile? Just send an email :-)

Don't Panic Series (Part 3): How can you change organizational culture through stories?

How can you change your culture through stories: 4 different ways to tell a story

Image of davesharrock

Dave Sharrock

Agile coach passionate about getting things done; helping teams exceed expectations, delivering organizational excellence, and all while having fun doing what they do.