Talk at Lean Kanban North America 2016

Together with Kevin Tidball I will present a session “Coaching Opposing Sides: A Transformation Journey” at Lean Kanban North America in the Techniques Track on May 17th. LKNA16 will be hosted at the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa in San Diego, California.

Lean Kanban North America 2016


The session is about managing a large program where the organization is in the midst of Agile transition. There are some Scrum teams and many traditionally managed resource pools. How do you manage a large program when there are incremental and iterative agile teams that are working alongside traditionally managed resource pools? Using a magic wand to wish all traditionalists will start “being scrummified” auto-magically is not an option. How do you work through the real-world challenges? Can evolutionary change “habits” trigger changes in both traditionalists and scrum-mers?

The session is about discussing our journey, practices and Kanban method principles that have enabled us to operationally manage complexity of program management that is indifferent to the actual project delivery mechanism (scrum or traditional) used by individual teams. In this session we do not trivialize the people challenges of negotiating organizational change and managing a challenging program that is intended to spin-off an entirely new insurance company.

This is a narrative style talk, where we will walk through our journey. As an external coach, I will be presenting major challenges and steps/mis-steps. We will share our evolutionary change-management philosophical approach in working with people who are on opposing sides regarding their affinity and understanding of Agile. We will explain guiding principles and provide examples of practices that we employed to increase program level transparency and improve accountability for overall program. We will share our artifacts and flow oriented measurements that have helped us to drive program level results and make realistic trade-off decisions for overall program success.

While it is tempting to ask for the end-state as a solution that applies to all situations, we hope to illuminate the importance of coaching and getting people on board to truly internalize and operationalize significant change in its habits and procedures. Evolutionary coaching approach triggered many unintended dominos and people found new ownership in overall program objectives took this over and beyond our expectations.

Hope to see you in San Diego, we will post further impressions after the event.