Category Archives: Transformation

Metrics are dangerous

I have seen things go terribly wrong from unintended but logical results of KPI, bonus conditions et al.

I recall having a very difficult time with a team lead who fought everything Agile tooth and nail. Finally one day the truth came out: He told me that his annual bonus required him to do the opposite of everything I was suggesting and there was no @#$%^ way he was going to give the money up.

Be careful what you ask for, you might get it!

by Michael Badali

Empty Cup

Before you begin any learning I recommend keeping the following in mind:

A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s overfull! No more will go in!” the professor blurted. “You are like this cup,” the master replied, “How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup.”

by Michael Badali

Simple is Hard

Simple? Sure! Easy? NO!!!

The first problem you will encounter with Kanban is the lack of proscription. If you or your team are used to being micromanaged you will experience some disorientation. Don’t panic, this is akin to withdrawal symptoms or a cleansing reaction. How to handled it? Every time you are about to do something, consider if there is any real value in it. Is it something you are doing out of habit or ignorance or is it something the customer would be happy to pay for?

If you are a leader and your people are used to being ordered what to do, you will need a coach to help them transition to self management and you will need to give firm clear leadership and truly support them by creating an environment in which it is ok to make mistakes and the value of continuous learning is clearly supported. In the end you are trying to create a continuous improvement culture that minimizes the need for management intervention / optimizes the teams ability to tackle problems and get on with the business of making money by delighting the customer.

Keep in mind that all your problems will become painfully visible and there is no where to hide.  You will need to prepare for this and focus not on blame but on practical solutions.

Kanban gives you visibility into your problems, it is up to you to solve them. 

by Michael Badali