We are all familiar with some of the following phrases:
“To err is human, to forgive divine.” – Alexander Pope
“To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer.” – Paul Ehrlich
“Fail fast, fail often”
“Fail fast, fail cheap, and fail often”
“Move fast and break things.” – Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook
“We aim to make mistakes faster than anyone else.” Daniel Ek, Founder, Spotify
These words of wisdom all ripple through our work practices and experiences – agile, lean, ToC, start-up and even Robert the Bruce! We have all learnt from our failures and iterated and adapted. As Skyscanner has grown, we have had to learn, and learn fast. What worked yesterday, is painful today and will be broken tomorrow.
However, though we all ‘fail’ daily, we find it hard to admit it. We find it even harder to understand ‘why’ we failed. In this session you’ll learn about how the Car Hire Team at Skyscanner:
got into difficulty (not on purpose).
how we knew we were in it (stop digging please).
and what we did to get out of it (root-cause exercise).
The presentation will cover how the Team designed, built, tested and released a 1st Iteration of a new feature (Downtown Map) in record time (14 days) using Critical Chain approach. However, it reduced conversion (C1) and led to much scratching of heads. This caused a throughput drop and our release pipeline started to clog up. At this point the Team stopped and asked themselves ‘why’ using Five Whys (a technique that everyone can try). You hear how this gave the Team clarity and they following the Theory of Constraints (ToC) approach to “Exploit” and “Subordinate” to the release pipeline by limiting WIP (work in progress) and reducing batch-sizes. A final ‘”Elevation” step resulted in the Team being split into two to bring sustainable focus and throughput. The lessons you will hear align with the Conference themes.
In the presentation there will be audience participation aimed at gauging how common it is for teams we all work in, to openly admit to failing, and whether this is seen as a positive. The aim of this presentation is to share with you practical experience which can be used in your work to help understand why we fail, to rapidly acknowledge when you are in difficulty, and to work as a team to get out of it.
Sub title: How to get to know your users, so you can build the right thing.
We’re in the early stages of transforming NHS Choices, Europe’s largest digital health service. We are going to tell you how we’re putting users at the heart of the new service, our ongoing delivery approach and some of the challenges we’ve faced along the way.
We’ll be sharing practical Agile and Lean UX techniques you can take away and use to get to know your users better including:
Understanding user needs and outcomes
User journey mapping
As well as describing the reasoning behind each technique, we will give the real examples from the NHS Choices team, including some very valuable lessons learned.
What could possibly go wrong when a Pole and a Frenchman enter an English office? Well, for a start you get servers called Churchill, Wałęsa and de Gaulle. In the presence of such characters it’s no wonder that a revolution was started. The country entered by the noble men was agile (with a capital A) and so were they (but not with the same a).
Instead of following the beaten paths, what would happen if they started with no structure, no direction and no rules, and created new ways of working as they go along?
An autonomous collective of courageous and fearless geeks gathered along in a freshly created duchy of perpetually hoarded meeting rooms, and joined forces into an unstoppable mob of programming, leaving behind everything, and starting completely fresh.
Their sight: the land of agile orthodoxy. Their weapon: asking why (usually at least five times). Their plan: No Kan-, no -Ban, starting with no assumption, but a sacred map of all their capabilities and tasks, the Panopticon, to lead them.
How many pits of success have they already conquered? Will their valiant march to sustainable delivery arrive at the pinnacle of realised business value?
Norm Kerth’s agile prime directive reminds us that “Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.” If I was in your shoes, I would have done the same. This requires a system view, seeing actions of others embedded in a specific environment and context. If we want to change outcomes, we have to change the system, but which aspects of the system can or should we attempt to change?
We can change the work environment (office perks, flexitime, etc.), change the method of work (e.g. become Lean or Agile) and yet fail at changing outcomes. What we’re often missing is what is happening in the social network. “Meaning arises through the interactions between things, not in the things themselves” says Alicia Juarrero. We gain meaning at work through our interactions. Our interactions build a social network.
Hard things become easier when we share them. A group sharing in solving problems honestly and openly becomes a community. Participating in a community means changing behaviour. A community means a change in the local configuration of the social network. What enables community is trust. “In the industrial era, what created scale was more resources. In the social era, what creates scale is trust.” – Nilofer Merchant
In this talk, I will try to offer some answers:
What insights into team work can we gain from the perspective of social networks?
How can community enable us to tolerate discomfort?
How does that trust enable scale?
What did you do yesterday? What will you do today? What’s getting in your way?
Three questions commonly asked at Daily Scrum meetings that imply that doing things is the purpose of work. Rarely have I encountered organizations where these following answers were acceptable:
Yesterday I read a book at work. Today I intend to start no new work and make myself available to help others learn. Being too busy is getting in my way and I need some slack.
The above may seem exaggerated but are not; each one is an example of a behavior someone engaged in that helped deliver value to the customer.
Slack, learning and play enhance our ability to deliver business and customer value.
Adam Yuret discusses how a focus on resource efficiency impedes flow while creating mountains of failure demand and fracturing our organization into competing silos. Also learn some ideas about humanistic ways to mitigate these issues and bring flow back to our organizations.