By Nader Talai • November 22, 2017

Improvement Board

I was helping a client last year after working with the departmental transformation leader who was sceptical about how the lean and agile approaches can help the department to improve. He set me a challenge to work with one of their teams.

walking up the steps with trainers-909134-edited.jpg

Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

I didn't know that he picked their most agile team and the director of that team had even less interest in engaging and learning as he was very successful and his team was too. This reminded me of Chris Argyris work and this HBR article Teaching Smart People How To Learn. 

I interviewed the people in his team face to face and over the phone as we were geographically dispersed across three different time zones. This team developed analysis engine. During the interviews, the code review kept coming up as a key source of dissatisfaction.

After observing and studying the system of work and capturing and presenting my observations we agreed to build our Improvement Board (based on Toyota Kata by Mike Rother) to reduce story lead time and increase the delivery rate.

Use Improvement Board to highlight the problem and carry out experiments to tackle the sources of delay.

 

 
improvement board

 The results after 3 months:

  • The story lead time reduced from 22 days to 10
  • Code review time reduced from 11 days to (1 to 3) days
  • Delivery rate increased by 30%
  • Failure demand reduced by 10%
  • Work item ageing for items > 20 days 100%
  • items > 10 days reduced by 90%

 Current State

Study the system and gather data about how your current system of work is working in our case it was

  • Code review cycle time
  • System lead time
  • Work item ageing
  • Static code analysis measures
  • Failure demand
  • Delivery rate

Target State:

A baby step towards achieving the optimising goal

Timeboxed

Experiment:

Choose one of the obstacles to tackle

An experiment to tackle the obstacle, note the expected results

Carry out the experiment

What actually happened, what did you learn?

The next experiment is guided by the learning from the last experiment

Obstacles:

List of the obstacles in the way of achieving the optimising goal

Tackle the obstacles one at the time

Want to know more about Toyota Kata

The below is the list of our obstacles
  • Scheduling of code reviews
  • Reviewers being overloaded with multiple code review requests
  • Code of low quality
  • Reviewers be pedantic 
  • work item ageing

The results after 3 months:

  • The story lead time reduced from 22 days to 10
  • Code review time reduced from 11 days to (1 to 3) days
  • Delivery rate increased by 30%
  • Failure demand reduced by 10%
  • Work item ageing for items > 20 days 100%
  • items > 10 days reduced by 90%

Want to learn more about how we help clients  read more

Do you want help with building your Improvement Board?