When diagnosing problems with Lean-Agile consider the following questions:

_ Does the customer and contract expect and allow for scope adjustments?

  • Prioritize the product backlog items with the highest priority items on top. This helps ensure that each iteration pulls an iteration’s worth of product backlog items that are of the highest value to the customer. This is a key part of the risk mitigation of Lean-Agile.

  • If the customer or contract requires fixed-scope, then all product backlog items may end up being the same priority.

_ Has the team’s overall cycle time increased?

  • Reduce the number of things in process (reduce WIP inventory).

  • Improve the average completion rate.

  • Reduce rework. Make a visual signal for rework like a different colored card. We use orange virtual cards or sticky notes for CRs and defects.

  • Make blockers visible (we use red signals) and reduce blockers actively, escalating as necessary.

  • Are any work items too big, that should be split into smaller work items?

  • Throughput allows forecasting future capability. Throughput is the rate of delivery of customer-valued work into production.

_ Is the WIP inventory increasing?

  • Are WIP limits exceeded? Are WIP limits configured correctly for this team?

  • A backed-up WIP queue is not a matter of opinion. Look at the board for evidence.

  • This is a leading indicator. An increase in WIP today means an increase in the time to deliver that work in the future. You cannot do more work than you have the capacity to do, without taking longer to do it.

  • Can you free up resources to address the WIP inventory? Swarm if needed.

_ Is there anything that delays the start of work, interrupts work, requires ramp up to "full speed" or is similar to another task?

  • See if any of the interruptive or delaying tasks can be off loaded. The goal is to have people speed through value added work without delays or interruptions.

  • What ideas does the team have for reducing latency?

  • Can any of the interruptive or delaying tasks that can’t be off loaded be automated or streamlined?

_ Can complexity be reduced?

  • Standardize internal tasks like Lego blocks to reduce task complexity.

_ How can we further reduce transaction costs?

  • Smaller batches mean more transactions, so lean out as many transaction costs as possible.

  • Reduce coordination costs with scheduled fixed time box meetings for synchronization daily.

  • Reduce coordination costs with long meetings with everyone present.

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