Tag Archives: waste

Learning flow with the Lean Dot Game

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Yesterday we had one of our regularly occurring so called Agile Lunch & Learn in the tribe at Spotify I currently work. We wanted to make the lunch about why it is often better not to work and focus on flow than to maximize your work and focus on resource efficiency. I searched for something in the Crisp bag of games. Pass the pennies – more about big batches. Kanban  tothpicks – to many rounds and variables. Folding envelopes – again more batches. Eventually I found the Lean Dot game.

Result board from a round of the Lean Dot Game

Result board from a round of the Lean Dot Game

What a find! This game will be with me for a long time. The best flow game there is, with extremply simple props: post-it notes and colored dots. You can run it  in an hour and get tons of experiences and stuff to discuss, such as:

  • Why it’s better to slow down
  • Adapt to bottlenecks
  • Batch sizes
  • Little’s law illustrated
  • Waste and inventory
  • Customer collaboration
  • In process testing
  • And more, and more, and more…

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Dealing with technical debt

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Technical debt is a metafor created by Ward Cunningham to describe situation where shortcuts taken in the software process  will bites us back. Read Martin Fowlers excellent summary if you want do dig in on the subject.

There are many reasons for occurrence of technical debt, and not all are bad. A start up company for example might need to deploy pre maturely in order to finance it’s existence.

The problem arises when a team needs slack from their product owner to deal with technical debt. It might not always strike the product owner as a good deal, especially since the tech stuff are mostly makes sense to the developer more that  to the product owner.

If unlucky, the constant need to explain yourself can move the team into a deadlock where improvements don’t take place. To prevent this, here is an alternative approach!

Define actions to remove technical debt as any work made to fix the seven wastes of software developments.

  • Extra features
  • Partially done work
  • Extra efforts (discarded knowledge, reversed descisions)
  • Handoffs
  • Task switching
  • Delays
  • Defects

So whenever you do work of technical debt and your product owner asks you what you did, link it to one of the wastes of software development.