Mike Burrows's third book, Right to Left: The digital leader’s guide to Lean and Agile, came out on 15th August 2019. A series of 5 tweets gave us the perfect opportunity for a series of mini interviews, covering:
1) what makes digital different;
2) why Lean and Agile come together so well in Lean-Agile;
3) why rollouts are problematic when it comes to Agile transformation and similar exercises in cultural change;
4) the state of Agile and why the "Right to Left" perspective of the book is so timely, and
5) on the enduring need for leadership, even in this digital age.
Whether you’re a manager or a practitioner (two important kinds of digital leader), there’s plenty here to enjoy.
What makes Digital different? Success in digital means integrating delivery, development, and strategy – continuously identifying and addressing impediments to flow, alignment, and anticipation. This is clearly a learning process; a successful digital organisation is a learning organisation
Do you have concerns that flow inside your company is stunted? To Lean's "strategic pursuit of flow" (after Modig & Åhlström), we bring from Agile a safe default assumption, that in knowledge work, most failures of flow are rooted in failures of collaboration.
It is quite embarrassing that many Agile rollouts are done in Waterfall fashion… There's good in frameworks, but blindly rolling out a process framework is more a recipe for pain than a guarantee of success, especially when done at scale.
Left to right or right to left, that is the question… Starting "from the left" with solutions, frameworks, backlogs of work items, etc is a terrible way to explain or experience Agile. Always keep the things "on the right" – needs met and outcomes realised – ahead of all else.
Leaders and managers often get a bit of a raw deal in Agile. Does it have to be that way? The need to clearly & strategically identify, articulate, & stand for outcomes will never grow old. Neither will removing organisational impediments, freeing people to pursue purpose, and developing the next generation of (servant-)leaders
Listen to the podcast: