Applied Kanban Values: Transforming the PMO, part 2

Respect: put away the RACI

Have you ever produced a RACI document? Together with many other steering documents it forms a pillar for the PMO, and defines who is responsible, accountable, contributing or only informed for each and every step in a process. In a RACI meeting you would typically discuss whether the product owner should contribute in the UX work for his/her story or only be informed. Or maybe the PO is actually accountable even though the UX expert is obviously responsible?

Kanban should be like water, making its way through cracks.

This means smoothly finding ways around problems (rocks in the stream) and not always choosing to confront or remove them. Steering documents, on the other hand, aim to give control and explicit universal guidelines for every situation.

We worked in four locations; Berlin, Stockholm, London and Delhi. I love this environment; you learn so much from getting other peoples perspectives and views, another dynamic. But there will certainly be some more rocks and some new navigation needed to find the cracks.

An example: our product owners complained about having their story categorisation questioned all the time; they were asked to create user stories for clear defects. This was a pattern for our teams in Delhi and we couldn’t figure out why. Then we learned from the developers on site in Stockholm that the Delhi developers were individually measured on how many defects they caused. That explained the behaviour.

Since we couldn’t really change the performance reviews we instead emphasised KPI’s in line with our agreed direction, supporting Continuous Delivery in this case. (We were interested in lead time for defects, not number of defects, and increased code coverage by testing).

This way we moved the conversation just enough in another direction, understanding and respecting people.

PMO exercise 1:  Compare our setup with the matrix below from David J. Anderson. Yes, bingo! all four quadrants represented. Now try that 🙂


PMO exercise 2:  Produce a RACI document for a development process given you have a full-stack mob programming team. Conclusions?

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