Responsibility and Continuous Improvement with LeSS

We are hosting Craig Larman again for his Certified Large Scale Scrum (LeSS) Practitioner workshop in Orange County / Los Angeles area in November. I’ve already told a number of advocates for Continuous Improvement and asked my coaches who haven’t attended yet to make sure they go.

Why? Fundamentally, LeSS gives something that SAFe doesn’t – room to grow.

Large Scale Scrum LeSS - continuous ImprovementOne of the 10 Principles of LeSS is More with LeSS. During an internal training, I had the attendees determine the ways that additional roles, processes and artifacts hurt teams taking

  1. Responsibility: “It’s not MY job. It’s the Release Engineer/UX Designer/DevOps/Solution Architect’s job”
  2. Improvement: “We are using the Gold Plated, Expert-Vetted, Best-Practices process. How could we improve THAT??”
  3. Getting Customer-Centric:“Success! I’m done with my component/widget/design/artifact!” “Can we ship?” “No.”

We started a current agile adoption (organizational redesign) with the statement, “Everyone has job security. Not everyone has role security.” This has allowed amazing fluidity in movement of people, particularly managers, to go where needed for supporting the teams. LeSS gives a lot of guidance and tools for management to support the transformation.

But if we left the current org structure, and only put contributors on teams (and often not even feature teams), then we are, obviously, sub-optimizing. The org structure likely was there to support the way work had been done, not the way work is being done now (much less in the future, with continuous improvement).

Take a look at the LeSS training class, and see what you think.

For now, I’ll leave you with this excellent example from the LeSS Continuous Improvement page:


In 2001, Toyota created an internal Toyota Way booklet summarizing the lean principles. On hearing the proposed title, chairman Toyoda suggested renaming the booklet Toyota Way 2001. Why? To emphasize that there is no final process in Toyota (which would stifle kaizen), but rather, continuous improvement and change.


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