Archive for October, 2006

The TAO of holding space

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

Marc Evers pointed me to a PDF book published by Chris CorriganThe TAO of open space. I’ve never seen a book quite like it – it’s got chapters of the Tao Te ching on the same page as how that chapter translates to Open Space.

The chapters are brief, and seem to provide interesting quotes (from chapter 14):

Harrison Owen once called Open Space “vapourware.” There are a million people who want to describe it, but no one is ever satisfied with the explanation.

Process Improvement on “borrowed time”

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

<meta name="GENERATOR" content=" 2.0 (Linux)" /><meta name="AUTHOR" content="willem ende" /><meta name="CREATED" content="20061019;9374500" /><meta name="CHANGED" content="16010101;0" /><br /> <style type="text/css"> <!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --> </style> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in">I liked <a href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);">Emmanuel Gaillot</a>‘s <a href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);">Borrowing the First 5 minutes</a> a lot. You can almost see the <a href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);">Diagrams of Effects</a> in the words, so I decided to draw some (<a href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);">systems thinking step</a> 1: tell story). I’ve made a bunch of them, hoping that it makes the thought process easily traceable.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in">The first two diagrams are on the problem</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in"><img alt="" src="" /></p> <blockquote> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in">The more pressure you’re under to deliver, the less you care about the quality of the software you’re releasing. Unfortunately, the less the quality is, the more rework you’ll have to do. And of course, more rework means more schedule slippage, ergo more pressure to deliver the next bit.</p> </blockquote> <p>Lower quality means more rework, more rework means more slippage, more slippage leads to more pressure, which in turn leads to lower quality – a vicious circle.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in">and the first analysis:</p> <p><img alt="The image “” cannot be displayed" src="" /></p> <blockquote><p>Here’s the catch: changing your work process means that first, you’ll have to slow down.</p></blockquote> <p>Improving your process will (hopefully) in time lead to higher quality (the || indicate a delay). In the short run, process improvement is likely to cost time and cause noteable slippage.</p> <p>The first two were easy to draw, as the cycles and arrows are literally in the text. Emmanuel offers five solutions, drawing diagrams for them required more interpretation. And that is what I like about DOE’s: they require another mode of thinking, and open different perspectives on the problem or proposed solution.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in">So in the third step, two interventions are added. As Emmanuel says,accepting pressure is a choice and there is always something you can do to improve.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in"><img alt="The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors." src="" /></p> <p>So two ‘interventions’ are added to the diagram. The intervention from Slippage to Pressure means that you can choose to accept the slippage as a fact of life. Calmness will save you! Maintaining a clear head will increase your chances of actually delivering. The other intervention, between improved process and slippage, indicates there might be a way to improve the process without causing noticeably more slippage. If you can not find such a way, <a href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);">take no small slips</a> .</p> <p>After the third DOE, I notice I forgot something. The assumption is that ‘ordinary’ rework will increase quality. I’ve been in places where rework caused quality to remain insufficient for release. Rework without sufficient safeguards will introduce new defects, so instead of improving quality by removing defects, the number of defects increased…</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in">I’ve used the techniques Emmanuel mentions in recommendation #2 – <em>Don’t try to deny all the pressure at once</em> – before (usually up-front with moderate pressure, though). Writing a test for a defect and doing (if even a little) pair-work would be the kind of safeguards that ensure your rework is a quality improvement.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in"><img width="477" style="cursor: -moz-zoom-in" alt="" src="" /></p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in">If we take the steps from #2 as our improved process, and draw Pair Rework, new Tests per Defect and Hasty Rework as variables, we get a choice of which activities to perform when Quality is insufficient.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in">Hasty Rework is likely to decrease quality (<a href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);">haste makes waste</a>), a new Test per Defect will focus the repair work, and prevent the defect from re-appearing in the future. Assuming these tests are programmed (not done by hand), collected in a test-suite, and re-run regularly.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in">Pair rework ensures knowledge about the defect and its’ repair is spread, and that errors made in repairing are caught before the fix is released.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in">Looking at diagram 3, we may notice these suggestions all work on the defects directly. How can we come up with suggestions like these, and new ideas to improve the process? <a href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);">Ask ‘why’ five times about every matter</a>. Which gives me energy to write about, at another time. The DOE helps to see at which level you are working, and gives inspiration for other levels.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in">In proposal #3, Emmanuel recomends to <em>watch for improvement</em> and in #4 to <em>reinvest</em> . I’ve combined them in a new DOE – managing the process improvement process is at another level of abstraction than what we had before. Since the timings are measureable, they are drawn as ellipses rather than clouds – clouds are for observables:</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in"><img alt="" src="" /></p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in">The Process Improvement Effectiveness depends in part on the time you spent on it; if you spend no time on PI then the process is unlikely to improve, but after some point, more time spent will not increase the effectiveness. Effective PI will reduce the mean time to solve a defect (I refuse to use the word bug, as that suggests the defect magically came<br /> into life in the code…) .</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in">Emmanuel suggests in #, that once you’ve had some success, you might call for some guidance.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in"><img width="493" style="cursor: -moz-zoom-in" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Getting an Expert in will increase the effectiveness of your process improvement. It also might save you time spent on PI per defect, as the expert can quickly guide you to what to do and what not. Guidance will improve the quality of your work, save time on improvement, and (not drawn) if you get a hands-on kind of person in, he or she may directly contribute to repairing defects as well – and often with more awareness of possible root causes as well .</p> <p>Proposition #5 is about <em>spiraling up</em> – what to do when you’ve gained so much time through process improvement that</p> <blockquote><p>your managers will start noticing that it takes you significantly less time to do stuff</p></blockquote> <p><img width="493" alt="" style="cursor: -moz-zoom-in" src="" />At first management may not notice the change in Mean time to solve defect, then when they notice, they’ll celebrate, hopefully after making sure you are not reducing time by cutting corners…</p> <p>Then it is time to <em>negotiate . </em>Together with your management you can choose to divide the gained time between increasing throughput (solve more defects per week) and training (drawn here as a higher investment in Expert Guidance).<br /> Do not increase throughput implicitly – you’ll lose the time you’ve gained, and you lose an opportunity to share your gains with other teams around you.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p>The diagrams have worked for me, it helped me better understand what <a href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);">Emmanuel</a> was exactly writing about and spin off some more ideas, some of which ended up in this post, others as <a href="" >fieldstones</a>.</p> <p>I hope they have worked for you, and I’m looking for feedback (<a href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);">systems thinking steps 10 and 11</a>: get feedback from presenting to a group, and adjust the diagrams).</p> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="" title="View all posts in people & systems" rel="category tag">people & systems</a> | <a href="" title="Comment on Process Improvement on “borrowed time”">3 Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post"> <h3 id="post-215"><a href="" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Citcon London 2006 photos">Citcon London 2006 photos</a></h3> <small>Sunday, October 8th, 2006</small> <div class="entry"> <p>The open space conference on continuous integration and testing in London was a lot of fun. Lots of energy from the participants and a good variety of session topics. I’ve put my <a href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);">citcon photos</a> up. Some samples:<br /> <img title="img_0540" alt="img_0540" class="qdig-image" src="" /></p> <p><em>opening session</em></p> <p><a title="Next Image" href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);"><img title="img_0542" class="qdig-image" alt="img_0542" src="" /></a></p> <p><em>Jeffrey and Paul explain the open space conference format</em></p> <p><a title="Next Image" href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);"><img width="420" height="280" class="qdig-image" alt="img_0544" src="" /></a></p> <p><em>Steve Freeman proposes a session, someone else takes a card to write a proposal on</em><br /> <a title="Next Image" href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);"><img width="420" height="280" class="qdig-image" alt="img_0584" src="" /></a><a title="Next Image" href=""><br /> </a></p> <p><span style="font-style: italic">animated discussion</span></p> <p><a title="Next Image" href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);"><img width="420" height="280" class="qdig-image" alt="img_0586" src="" /></a></p> <p><span style="font-style: italic"> using the beamer to show the notes that have been taken so far (instead of presenting slides <img src='' alt=';)' class='wp-smiley' /> )</span><br /> <a title="Go to - thumbnails" href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);"><img width="420" height="280" class="qdig-image" alt="img_0592" src="" /></a><a title="Go to - thumbnails" href=""><br /> </a></p> <p><span style="font-style: italic">closing session</span></p> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="" title="View all posts in people & systems" rel="category tag">people & systems</a> | <a href="" title="Comment on Citcon London 2006 photos">1 Comment »</a></p> </div> <div class="post"> <h3 id="post-214"><a href="" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Opening the space">Opening the space</a></h3> <small>Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006</small> <div class="entry"> <p>I’m having an open space themed week:</p> <ul> <li>I’m going to <a href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);">CITCON</a> in London – the unconference on continous integration and testing, friday evening and saturday.</li> <li>Preparations for the <a href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);">International Open Space Technology Training</a> in Berlin (November 2 through to 9) have started. Another participant has created a mailing list, to virtually open the space, and the organisers inform us there are still a few places available (currently 41 participants, 15 places left). I’m looking forward to this. Since leaving university I haven’t been on a course this long… (it’s a full week, including a weekend).</li> <li>Two sessions in the <a href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);" title="XP Days Benelux program">XP Days Benelux program</a> have joined forces to form an open space track divided over two afternoons. Thursday afternoon features a themed open space track on <em>How can your business benefit from agile</em> facilitated by Anko Tijman and friday afternoon wil be ‘open’ open space (the session previously known as <em>the planned unprepared session</em>) intended to let the participants reflect on sessions they’ve attended so far and discuss important last-minute topics. We’ve got an energetic bunch of people together preparing these – if the sessions are going to be as much fun as the preparation… <img src='' alt=':)' class='wp-smiley' /> A manager says:<br /> <blockquote><p>I spend a lot of my time dealing with and talking to managers about agility and how the principles of XP are relevant to the non programmers in the organisation. It may seem obvious to us but sometimes it needs to be spelled out. There is a sort of fear of loss of control from most of the management people I talk to. I have to assure them that control is an illusion at the best of times and that trust is a better, more productive way. One of the things I like about the open open session is that it grasps that fear and says “ok lets see what happens if you do relinquish control – will people mutiny and waste time or will they rally and try to address the issues.”. We can use these sessions to show that people will naturally allow the real priorities to surface and in a more direct way than they might otherwise be able to on a rigid agenda.</p></blockquote> </li> <li>Diana Larsen said at Agile2006 there might be an american open space conference on agile. <a href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);">Her company’s event calendar</a> says its on January 30 – 31, 2007 and it goes by the name <a href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);" title="Agile Open NorthWest">Agile Open NW</a> in Portland, OR USA. More <a href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);">Agile Open</a>s <img src='' alt=':)' class='wp-smiley' /> . The website isn’t up yet apparently, hope it will be soon.</li> </ul> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="" title="View all posts in people & systems" rel="category tag">people & systems</a> | <span>Comments Off</span></p> </div> <div class="navigation"> <div class="alignleft"></div> <div class="alignright"></div> </div> </div> <div id="sidebar"> <ul> <li> <form method="get" id="searchform" action=""> <div><input type="text" value="" name="s" id="s" /> <input type="submit" id="searchsubmit" value="Search" /> </div> </form> </li> <!-- Author information is disabled per default. Uncomment and fill in your details if you want to use it. <li><h2>Author</h2> <p>A little something about you, the author. 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