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John Coleman

John Coleman has been knocking around with agility since 2004, starting with a mission critical piece of work back then against advice and taking on ever more scary work since then :). A speaker, consultant, coach and trainer on all sorts of agility.

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Nexus and Nexus+ at a European bank

[fa icon="calendar'] 2017-04-07 08:00 / by John Coleman posted in Growing Agility

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Synchronized turtling - Benny Mazur

This post is a supplement to my general post on Nexus and Nexus+. The Nexus format for these experience reports is essentially the same with additions of Kanban or The Lean Startup in "sprints"; the Nexus Integration Team is accountable for minimizing dependencies across all teams in the Nexus, and is accountable for a combined potentially shippable increment. I jokingly called it "KanScrumUp", but I wouldn't wish another framework on you. So it's Nexus with some tweaks. So perhaps this is not a fair account on Nexus. There are plenty of posts that already explain pure Nexus hopefully.

We had a number of teams per product that wanted a choice of Scrum, Kanban as per the 2016 Essential Kanban Condensed Guide, or the Lean Startup. The teams wanted a pattern. I wasn't aware of a pattern for those methods. So I modified Nexus as above. And in one Nexus+, I added the Architecture Owner role to reduce organizational "anti-bodies" while still urging emerging design by self-organizing teams.

We had three instances of (modified) Nexus - one across all initiatives, in one of those initiatives. In one of the initiatives, we had 5 teams in one Nexus, mostly Scrum teams, with one Kanban team; the other Nexus had three teams initially, one with Lean Startup, one with Scrum, one with Kanban.  

The goal for the first 6-12 months of the change was faster delivery (while still focusing on the customer where we had opportunity) all the while deprecating WaterScrumFall, promoting good sustainable purposeful agility, transitioning the organization design to agility, with DevOps 1st and Lean Finance 2nd. The goal in each case was later to focus on the customer and innovation.  

We were all for creative tension, but said to ourselves "why start a >70% chance of failing on a bad footing?". Our Boston Consulting Group DICE scores for change readiness only went green/amber if we either diluted our 6-month goal or limited the scope of the organization we attacked so to speak.
"Why promise lots when you've got delivery plumbing problems" was the rationale. When DICE scores were poor, it didn't take long to decide to :

  • go narrow and deep where there is "strong pull", or
  • simply aim for better lead times, delivery rates and failure demand, with a view to chasing more customer in the follow-up 6-12 month wave

 

The scope was 25m USD in spend pa roughly. We had an agility maturity model which was useful. I didn't like the targets, the targets were set based on progression through the agility maturity framework. But they were useful, in that I understood how leaders were motivated.

Looking back now, I’d say that senior management commitment turned out to be lower than in the example. When push came to shove,  top down management fell back to Gantt charts as a safety blanket.

 

Case study

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Nexus, Nexus+ exoskeletons of Scrum (case study links added)

[fa icon="calendar'] 2017-04-05 08:00 / by John Coleman posted in Growing Agility

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Richard Grant

I use I am the Change; it's a meta-framework and a set of patterns for agility transformations.

I develop agility change chefs so I leave a legacy long after I leave the building. When I partner with organizations to grow good agility, the agility transformation work, hopefully, the first and last for the organization , starts with purpose, beliefs & supported behaviours, understanding, and realistic desired outcomes over a 6-12 month period. Beliefs, supported behaviours, structure & financial models feed methods choice, if the organization decides it needs methods that are supported over going off-piste (big if). Methods choice causes new problems. Nexus is one potential solution to the problem of synchronizing work for 3-9 Scrum teams while avoiding the need for post-sprint integration work.

Many would say there is no need for any more frameworks. I call that black and white thinking. I simply ask my clients when we go over 3 teams per product, "how will we synchronize the work?", after first educating them on some of the options including:

  • no pattern at all
  • Scouts and Champions,  a network effect 
  • Nexus and Nexus+ 
  • LeSS and LeSS Huge
  • Scaled Agile Framework - see my previous post When is SAFe safe?
  • etc.

If using a pattern, I prefer to  use  a pattern that is supported over going completely off-piste (unless the organization has the wherewithal internally and is genuinely staying true to good agility).  And I don't like to see a pattern diluted.

Nexus, at the core of Scaled Professional Scrum, was published by Ken Schwaber and Scrum.org in 2015.  I made the mistake for some time of thinking that Jeff Sutherland also published Nexus but Jeff Sutherland did not. Jeff Sutherland's modular Scrum at Scale™ framework is about guidance.  Nexus and Scaled Professional Scrum were collaboratively developed by Ken Schwaber, David Dame, Richard Hundhausen, Patricia Kong, Rob Maher, Steve Porter, Christina Schwaber, and Gunther Verheyen.

To understand more about Nexus, check out the Nexus Guide under Resources as www.scrum.org and Simon Kneafsey's post about Nexus+.

Ken Schwaber and Roman Pichler taught my Certified Scrum Master course in June 2006. I had been playing with Scrum before then but I clearly remember my road to Damascus moment that 2nd day in London, UK. I was living in Ireland then.

I also play a  "Nexus game" at my Scrum training days, to see Nexus in action every few weeks, and I try different variations to try to make it fail. I am curious to know the weakness of all patterns, including my own. 

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Nexus with a twist

The Nexus format in this post is essentially the same as normal Nexus with additions of Kanban or The Lean Startup in "sprints". The Nexus Integration Team(NIT) is accountable for minimizing dependencies across all teams in the Nexus, and is accountable for a combined potentially shippable increment. I jokingly called it "KanScrumUp". So it's Nexus with some tweaks. So perhaps this is not a fair account on Nexus.

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"I am the Change" for Growing Agility and Agility Transformability

[fa icon="calendar'] 2017-03-13 08:00 / by John Coleman posted in Growing Agility

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“Try, fail, learn” - Sir James Dyson

Fail well, avail of opportunities for learning. It’s a bit scary being so transparent, but hopefully rewarding in the long term.

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When is SAFe® safe?

[fa icon="calendar'] 2016-11-24 11:39 / by John Coleman posted in Scaled Agile Framework

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