Tag Archives: lean coffee

West London Lean Coffee – 15th Dec

We had another great West London Lean Coffee session on 15th December with some excellent discussions.

Here’s what we talked about.

Things We Discussed

Online Boards Vs Physical Boards

We talked about whether it was better for a team to use an online board or a physical one. We felt that for visibility then a physical board could be better, however the use of large touch screen boards means that the line between physical and virtual can now be blurred. The act of physically moving cards on a board has an important effect on people and shouldn’t be discounted. However there is more chance of losing cards from physical boards.

We also talked about how there were various JIRA plugins that could allow you to photograph your physical board and update the JIRA project automatically which are useful. Here’s an example.

Top Three Benefits of Agile For the Customer

We talked about earlier demonstration of value, the adaptive nature of agile to change and how that could help the customer influence a product. There’s also a greater chance of good quality when using agile methodologies

Challenges Implementing OKRs

OKRs are Objectives and Key Results. We talked about how roadmaps could be themed to link results and deliverables to metrics and also the customer impact.

The Best Test For a Service Company

We talked about how validating a service company really shouldn’t be seen as different from a product one, particularly when one looks at how to identify the customer base and test assertions and business strategies on it.

Things We Didn’t Get To

  • Top 3 Benefits Of Agile For People In The Business
  • Lean Today – Is The Waste Really Eliminated?
  • Estimation Costs – Waterfall vs Agile

The next Lean Coffee will be on January 26th. Hope to see you there.

West London Lean Coffee – 15th September

West London lean coffee runs every month in Carluccios in Westfield Shepherds Bush. Here’s a brief writeup of this morning’s session.

The next session will be on 27th October. Hope to see you there.

Topics We Discussed

‘All Work and No Play’…But How Much Work?’

How much are activities like 10% time and hackathons of benefit to the team and the business? What works for one team may not work for the others. We had some good discussion on context and why giving room for innovation is important.

Agile and Lean For Management Teams

Some great discussion on whether adopting agile and lean works for management teams, a.k.a. the scrum of scrum masters. The idea of quick, focused meetings, transparency and team involvement is important no matter whether it’s a team of developers and testers or a team of managers. Some great tips including ‘make the focus of meetings on how to improve’.

False Agile Promises

What happens when you join a company and you find out that they are not as agile as they implied during the interview? Should you try and change the company from within or cut your losses and move on. The questions that you ask in the interview are important and need to be detailed enough to ensure that you really get a feel for the company culture. We talked about how successful agile transformations are not technology focused and how working with HR and finance first can be the secret to a transformation that works and becomes embedded in company culture.

How Much Are Personas Important When Looking At Market Segments?

We talked about persona’s and how those seeking to validate product ideas can use them. There was some previous experience in the group with the use of persona’s in technology and software development, including testing, in order to understand the customer better. We discussed how segmentation is important but need to be detailed enough to be useful.

Topics We Didn’t Get To

  • Working with sales partners and how much to involve them in the design of a product canvas.
  • London – high turnover of staff.
  • Managing people through change
  • Remote teams and tips on how to run them
  • Capacity management with stakeholders
  • Continuous delivery – how to implement in a new team
  • Embracing new tech internally
  • Is lean for tech users clients or can we convince business to go with it?

West London Lean Coffee – 28th July

I’m the organiser of the West London Lean Coffee meet-up – here’s a write-up of the July event.

(If you are wondering what a Lean Coffee is then take a look at the Lean Coffee website to find out more).

Topics We Discussed At Lean Coffee

Which Is Better – Move Fast and Break Things Or Test Thoroughly?

A great discussion about whether it’s better to release rapidly and test more in production vs testing and then making a release to production. It’s key in this situation to understand how any changes will be monitored in production, how quickly deployed changes can be rolled back or patched, and how released work is supported. Books like Continuous Delivery and also Lean Startup are good places to start to lean more.

I gave the example of Pokemon Go, where a worldwide phenomenon has occurred and been very successful despite the quality being actually very poor.

Product Manager vs Project Manager

We talked about the differences between product managers and project managers. Is there a difference or is it just semantics? Does the widespread adoption of agile and the product owner role mean that we now see more Product Managers? My take on this is more about permanence – a project is essentially transient in nature and therefore a project manager will manage many different projects over time, whereas a product manager becomes the expert at something more permanent, i.e. a product. But, as was brought up in the discussion, how does one define a product anyway, and since products change so rapidly then is there really a difference between product and project management anyway?

Keeping Teams Engaged

How do you keep a team engaged between projects? Is 20% time, hack days, shipit days and learning enough, when the gap is long and the team’s vision isn’t clear enough? We talked about how you could focus teams, including involving them in project definition decisions as well as the other options mentioned above.

Lean – With a Working Prototype, How Far Back To MVP Should You Go?

We talked about the importance of MVP and how far back towards MVP should you go, particularly when you are a lone inventor of a hardware solution rather than something purely in software. Topics included defining your measurable business goals, how to measure these and how to ensure that you produce a true minimum feature set for validation. And how this is difficult when you have such as emotional attachment to a particular idea.

Topics We Didn’t Get To Talk About

  • People management while trying to be agile
  • How to work with or manage someone who doesn’t like to document their work in detail
  • Experience using lean with physical products (as an aside – if you are reading this and you do have experience then please get in touch)
  • Working in an agile manner with consultants

Hope to see everyone next time, which will be in September. If you haven’t been before and fancy coming along then join the meetup group.

West London Lean Coffee – 9th June

I’m the organiser of the West London Lean Coffee meetup and I thought it would be good to do some short write-ups of the events and an overview of what was discussed. Useful for those who attended and hopefully also for those who didn’t.

lc(If you are wondering what a Lean Coffee is then take a look at the Lean Coffee website to find out more).


Topics We Discussed At Lean Coffee

Applying Agile To Non-Software Tasks

A good discussion about how you could apply agile to HR, finance, change management, etc. It got me thinking about this TED talk about how you could use agile to plan your families tasks.

What Is The Easiest Way To Transition To Cross Functional Teams

We got talking about how you could transition teams from being discipline focused, i.e. development team, test team, etc to cross functional agile teams. There’s some good examples in this blog post and also it’s worth thinking about skills mapping as part of the exercise.

Sizing In Points Vs Time

Is it best to size in points or time? Or both? Or neither? We talked about how you might bring two teams together who size differently, why the most important thing about sizing is not the method you use, but the fact that it gets the team to think about the tasks, and how that can help drive commitment.

Topics We Didn’t Get To Talk About

  • PO = Business?
  • Does agile estimation bring value?
  • Idea to bring a good but impersonal team together.

Hope to see everyone next time. If you haven’t been before and fancy coming along then join the meetup group.