Friday, January 26, 2018

What is missing in the Agile world ? Thinking in models, LeSS

Our Agile practitioners are pretty good with Scrum ceremonies, Kanban, WIP limits, Cycle times and even building the self-organizing teams. However, I feel that the important thing that is lacking from the vocabulary of agilists is "modeling."
You might be questioning, What's modeling? Why is it so important?
Remember, we live in a complex world. Every conversation, actions and interactions are producing new behaviors and consequences impacting the system at large.
Modeling enables us to organise this complex information in a meaningful manner for further analysis, brainstorming, and forecasting.
One must also remember that models are as good as the data at hand. That's why it is said that, 
"All models are wrong and some are useful".
There are researches which prove that people who model the system are better at making right choices and better decisions.
For example, consider a group which is keen to model the decision about hiring developers quickly(even though low skilled) to increase the feature velocity.  
Teams and leaders who can model the idea before implementing it can see that, in the longer run, this decision of hiring low skilled developers could work against the intended goal of increasing the velocity.
As seen in the systems model below, the low skilled developers could end up creating more defects in the long run and thus reducing the feature velocity.
Modeling decisions, ideas, and observations will enable the team to make conscious choices rather than being driven based on instincts or past experiences.  
Every day, the leaders, team members are making critical decisions without really modeling their impact on rest of the system. I feel that modeling skill is a crucial gap in the Agile world as of now.
This is one of the key reasons, why LeSS has embedded "Systems Thinking" as one of its principles and encouraged teams to Systems modeling during the retrospectives.
I spend quite a bit of effort teaching Systems modeling during my Certified LeSS Practitioner course. If you are keen to learn more about Large-Scale Scrum(LeSS) and modeling, you can register for my upcoming courses. The details about the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane courses are below:

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