Applied Kanban Values: Transforming the PMO, Part 4

In April a colleague and me went to visit our partner in Delhi. Over breakfast in the hotel we reflected on the difference between the restaurant service there compared to Stockholm (this was a normal chain business hotel).

First, there were more people working with service in the restaurant than there were hotel guests having breakfast. Second, most people working in the restaurant had a very specialised responsibility. Finally, people working in the restaurant had time for the extra details: chatting, decorating and… smiling :-). Continue reading

Culture Matters: Understanding My Colleagues (and me) Better

Culture is a collective programming of the human mind

One thing I love with my job is working with people from many different countries. This not only makes you learn about other cultures, you also learn a lot about your own.

But working together across cultures is also sometimes a challenge. To learn more  I participated in an intercultural management training last week. This is my summary and thoughts. I have focused on data and examples for countries I often work with. My class consisted of colleagues from our offices in Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, France and Sweden. Continue reading

Applied Kanban Values: Transforming the PMO, Part 3

In part one I touched briefly on plans and forecasts. In this post about customer focus and flow for the PMO i come back to them.

Flow: don’t work in the system, work on the system

In our PMO we had plans covering about three to 15 months: there were high-level milestone plans, mid-level milestone plans and low-level detailed milestone plans.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Applied Kanban Values: Transforming the PMO

An agile PMO is really a contradiction; the PMO is a conservative enterprise project-centered administrative function. Not the first association that comes to mind when someone says agile.  At the same time, in a large company the PMO can provide a lot of valuable support.

So, in my new role as PMO Lead I thought I could do things differently. But after six months I found myself stuck in vicious circles of reporting and planning further and further away from the real work. (Meanwhile the real work didn’t exactly go in the right direction either…)

This story is about how I transformed my PMO role and what a more agile PMO could be like. Continue reading

Risk Management with Mob Programming

Having observed our mob programming teams for sometime I’d like to highlight one benefit: business risk management.

Many of our development teams have a 24/7 online business to support. And about 70% of our total business happens online. Imagine the risk associated with not having the right knowledge available instantly when needed.

Every year when summer and holiday planning comes up we have the same challenge: how to secure operations when most people are away? And even if knowledge sharing was good there were always the special details that only one or two people knew.

Well, this summer this is not an issue. Everyone in the team knows every piece of their product. Everyone has been involved in every change, all discussions, all deploys and knows every flaw there is to know.

One of the highest business risks mitigated.