If you operate in an organization that tends to blame individuals first, this principle will be challenging. However, you can run your group the way you think it ought to be done and buffer them from this organizational culture.

For Lean-Agile to unlock the potential of individual people to make huge gains in productivity, you, as the leader of the new Lean-Agile effort, have to buffer people from that culture of blame as much as possible. Make clear by your actions that experiments with small failures are okay, as long as people show they are learning from the failures.

First, focus on process fixes before blaming individuals. Create an environment where Lean-Agile can flourish.

  • Is the team holding daily standups in front of the Kanban board? (Performance Feedback)

  • Does the iteration retrospective find the lessons learned in every "failure"? Blame does not foster improvement or innovation.

  • Did new people get access to the tools (virtual Kanban board, conference lines, web-based authoring tools, phones, workstation computer)?

  • Are new people introduced to the basics of Lean-Agile?

  • Is there a Lean-Agile Coach reinforcing on-the-job training during daily standups?

  • Are WIP limits being observed?

  • Do the individuals know when they are supposed to act? Are performance triggers clear?

  • Is the workflow on the Kanban board?

  • Does the current workflow need adjustment if conditions have changed?

  • Do the process step columns have an explicit definition of "done" for built-in quality?

  • Are teams using avatars to indicate who is accountable to their team mates for the specific work item cards?

  • Are teams pulling the next highest card (priority of work)?

  • Are team ground rules posted? For example, that all are expected to work?

  • Does the team know to escalate when someone is acting out of bounds?

  • Are all team members invited to and attending the iteration review/demos for regular customer feedback?

  • Does the process provide consequences to each person’s performance that is aligned with the goals of the iteration?

  • Are work items broken down into similarly sized efforts? So person A does not get stuck with an effort seven times bigger and appear to be slow?

  • Are the consequences strong enough to influence people?

  • Are work item cards updated before daily standups start?

  • Are expectations about working outside your specialty clear to everyone? For example, test cases against acceptance criteria checklists.

  • Is the team work pace sustainable indefinitely? Does it lead towards fatigue and poor decisions in the short term and burnout over time?

  • Are the people who do the work expected to work out the improvements? Yes is better.

  • Are instructional/LX designers open to feedback from team members about how well their intent is communicated?

After assessing the process, then look at the person.

  • Does the person know how to do the job?

  • What is the movie like, versus the snapshot? If one observation is like a snapshot, then many observations over time are like a movie.

  • How does the person feel about the situation?


Line By Line

Here a Little, There a Little, Layer by Layer.

Back to Overview