Posted on May 16, 2012 by admin

By Dominica DeGrandis

A collection of incredibly impressive thinkers and leaders from around the world has converged in Boston for the Lean Software & Systems Conference. This issue covers some of the many takeaways ….


Sunday’s Lean Camp (facilitated by Jim Benson) provided some amazing eye openers.  First, an opportunity to study two large Kanban implementations and discuss why one saw viral spread and the other didn’t.  Next, we played Russell Healy’s new Kanban system design game for Operations teams. Lastly, Jason Yip facilitated a well attended session on learning.  Takeaway - put yourself in uncomfortable settings to learn - else you risk falling back into your comfort zone.

Day 1
The opening keynote with Steven Spear focused on achieving greatness through learning. 
Spear suggests, “Find out what’s wrong with what you are doing and go tell a friend.”  An appealing storyteller, he demonstrates the need for senior leaders to demonstrate their need for more knowledge to motivate people to learn.

David Joyce kicked off the Kanban track Monday morning with a talk on moving beyond the traditional PMO to 21st century portfolio management.  Takeaway – Include a “Study” column at the beginning of the board.

Lightning and Ignite talks enlightened us all quickly!  Simon Marcus, @lycaonmarcus voiced his concern on the current trend of management bashing.  Between @stevenspear’s keynote and Simon’s lightening talk, my interpretation is the following if then statement:
      if management is asking why
      and not dictating
      then don’t bash

Videos from talks will be available through lssc.  In the meantime, slides from some talks have been posted on slideshare

Day 2
Troy Magennis incited discussions on how teams can work with upper management to get reliable estimates using the monte carlo simulation.  Takeaway – The average is the worst value to use.

Mary Poppendieck’s talk on continuous feedback included an engaging and interactive discussion followed on set-based decision making versus Multiple Viable Product and a/b experiments.
Takeaway – These are not mutually exclusive, we just know when to do one or the other.

Day 3
Don Reinertsen rocked the main stage with his talk on decentralizing control. Taking examples from the US military and the forest fire service, there are too many takeaways to list, but here are my top three:
The important communication is lateral, and not from the top.
You have a duty to disagree if you believe otherwise.
If you think you can eliminate uncertainty, you’re delusional.


Lean Software Systems Conference – Boston, May 13-18, 2012 (#lssc12)

Agile France – Paris, May 24-25 (#AgileFrance)

SFAgile – San Francisco, June 4-6, 2012



Lean Kanban University (LKU)



Limited WIP Society