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#222 Sense and respond with Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden

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US podcast is funded by me and together with contributions we get from you our listeners if you'd like to contribute you can do so financially but also as volunteer we'd love your help to make sure we get our transcripts ready and published for each in good time so raise your hand and help us by emailing us way but that there were a lot of things that were out of the teams control and those things needed to be that context in which the teams were working and agility back into corporate cultures joining us to talk about Culture Operations Agility templates deliverables resilience recipes and self sufficient teams. Here are Jeff Goffin Josh side is we'd love to work this way but my boss or my company won't let me work this way we don't work this way so josh and I saw that as an opportunity respond book and the content that we've been working on for the last few years is the response to the feedback that we sensed from lenient that needed to change that was an organizational problem in organizational design problem and so it really was it's have been described as designers strategy consultants product managers coaches authors speakers writers and founders and together they have written the books is that there was a book that was filled with things that people individual contributors and teams could do differently to work in a more agile I'm James Roy Lawson and I'm paddock's boom and this podcast bouncing business technology and people the book has the book has been successful which is which is amazing and the the work that we've been doing has hinged around the content of the book a you know the the book has been out now for six and a half years we wrote a second edition about three years ago and as we've been every other Friday from Stockholm Sweden we've listened in a hundred and eight thousand nine countries around the world from Granada to Morocco. Today's guests is or boiled down that feedback to one core theme the thing that we hear every single time we get in front of a new client or New Class or workshop or coaching engagement rex this specific feedback that we were getting you know as Jeff said people were saying the organization wasn't set up to work this way or my boss won't let me and what we realized a a call to arms for managers to change the organization's the machine if you will that makes the making so we've collected feedback over the last six and a half years about the material and about how well it works and how will it doesn't work in some situations but if you were to homogeneous have a conversation with the bosses and that was really the the birth of the sense and respond idea to be a little tongue in cheek about it really the the sense officer go work in this new modern collaborative customer centric way there are ton of cultural first edition came out in March of two thousand thirteen right now well the photo book that I guess Togethers Sense and respond lenient ex and sense and respond and more recently they've also founded sent them respond press with the goal of bringing customer centric evidence based Decision Making respond book has been out a couple years what have you learned that you wish had been in it then how are people responding to that in the sense that great now the organization is less coming to us or is something else we need to still be able to apply the new X. processes yet so I think the conversations that were end operational dependencies in an organization to change if you really do want to work this way not the least of which is things like incentives and performance the conversation that we're having with the leaders these days is broader because it's not as simple saying okay well I'm the VP or under chief product so Jeff Josh lenient I came out back in two thousand thirteen I think right about that measurement criteria and things like that and so the conversations that we're having a broader their conversations about the agility of the entire business and the transformation of the entire but festival tells a little bit about the journey from the linear expert to sense and respond so happy abby to tell the story organization which is fascinating and interesting and Harry and complex and difficult I mean it's organizational change at when it comes to the application of of these kinds of things you're not talking about something that happens over a sprint or over kind of a couple of months so I mean yes it is extremely complex and I mean act possible so I love how you have you learned from the Lee new x book and what you learn from their that turned into the Senate respond book essentially now that the sense doc was that it should be a high level of book that was sort of making the case for change and to sort of explain in a kind of you understand that it is but how do you bring that down to where do we start what were the key to start start untangling mask well I think you know one of the directional sense what that change needed to be a lot of the feedback that we've gotten from that book has been okay cool how do I do it and the how do I do it problem is a lot more detailed it's a lot more detailed than your question how to books on on on exactly this topic like how do I make that those changes and to the books focus on product management digital transformation and and have a method that I can use in some kind of practical tangible way to start transforming the company a hope was I can read them on a flight from San Francisco to Seattle or from New York to Boston or from on the train from London to Paris a new publishing company that we've built called sense and respond to press and we published kind of short practical things that we realized and and sort of answer your question in maybe two ways the first is that our goal for sensitive respond for that book of Difference Between Lean and agile and design thinking but then we've written books on how to how to run innovation in in large companies first question was like what are we wish was in that book like I don't you can't fit how do we do it into just into that kind of book and so that was in some ways the with leaders who have read sense and respond to our hope was that the people who read lean you X. would would give sense and respond to their bosses at the beginning of the conversation and we have seen that happen the the most recent book from the Press we've got we've got eat Jeffer- nine books out now and eight we've outcomes yeah the nerve that guy exactly yeah no I mean I think the manifesto every once in a while we break down and write a book so my my I contributed to the press called outcomes over output and when I say we as Ryan Jacoby we have fantastic authors woman named Debbie Madden who runs a consulting firm in New York City but it's difficult can you help us and so that's really a big points to what Jeff was saying which is that which again is responding to this question that I'm hearing in my work which is we love this idea of outcomes we wanna be more outcome focused agile is applicable to so much more than software and that we really want to step back and say we want to deliver value early and often to our customers leaders so I'm not going to list them all you can go to a website and see him but so it's not just me and Jeff writing we've got in fact our goal is that it's not US rating but list for what Jeff and I have been working on next I sometimes joke that it's you know it's it's the third half of everything I two which is make me a button you have to tell them achieve this results for the business and so figuring out what that results should be hotter a piece of running code for me I love how the Actual Publishing Company is an example of a design solution intended to solve the problem of public really wow yeah a published in half a dozen in some form of production our first book was actually Jeff's book about the the the difference arrested the team what's the right level of detail how to how to plan and manage and get visibility into that work had a staff a team that works this way so that was the outcomes of outputs that was one of the the short books as part of our series exactly yes so so one of the books and so how do we how do we broaden our focus to encompass at to focus on delivering value not just making the great book called Hire Women we have a book by Tim Herbie a about how product managers need to be what he calls ladder Shannon and innovation and their series of small focused method books that managers can are are audience let's go understand how to better serve that audience and we went out and we we created personas target personas of who we thought we were building this referring to the peace of the agile manifesto that says you know our highest priorities is to satisfy the customer with going to get the vex designers right and and the style of work that we advocate is customer centric right so if we're going to build a new product or service for a specific trump but it's like you know frequent early delivery of valuable software and I think most of us who work in this business now understand that oh she you tweak to the the Gel manifesto didn't you did you change sham the first one of that from from from outputs to to which I had I had self published just on my own as an experiment and every time we put that size of a book into the hands of I just giving it to them and they'll small small chunks and look that that is not coincidental that was born of research so war background is you were two hundred fifty or three hundred page book and so everything that we've done here has been research driven has been experimenting driven and most importantly it's been customer centric specifically that we learned was an it really came from we had a prototype the prototype was the first version of lean versus versus design thinking how to coordinate outcomes across teams a lot of issues there and so that's what this book it's about I actually liked thinking in that particular book I think one of the challenges is that you know organizations really want they want recipes because recipes give you the sort of they let you dictate a everybody's moves from kind of central kind of command and Josh well well it's it's simple guys you just follow this recipe who mashed are persona the first thing they would say would be something like I might actually read this and to us that was validating press for and then we went we talked to those folks and we ran the research to understand whether our assumptions right and some of our assumptions were correct and some of them were Dr who are closer to the work are learning their way forward and letting solutions emerge and that's that's really hard and it's really countered to all of the instincts of organization where leadership is setting direction and you know the the folks in the rest of the organization us and how do we do that and so it's not only about making software sometimes it's not about making software at all it's about achieving this result leadership and it's counter to the structures that we set up I mean you know starting with fundamental things like annual planning and budgeting you know like like how do you know Tober Twenty nineteen what I should be building in October twenty twenty you know and so so we talk about the length that they were speaking about they said let us thirty forty fifty pages like Josh said I can get through a flame or a commute or a train ride and and that's far more realistic than the change is not just a Oh do this new thing it actually to be more outcome focused you need to change the way you framework for your teams right instead of telling them those folks who you're sort of tricking them into reading a full book reading reading it in pieces and then essentially you're getting your message across because you know we we we live the ideas that we teach so kept so if the book too long manages to read and troll position and as as we try and increase Jill dougherty we're trying to move away from command and control in two more of an aligned that wants to work this way but they write contracts in such a way that they promised their clients a specific set of deliverables right in other words five minutes or so how do we then boil down sense and respond into an answer to a question on a podcast. You won't actually know in October twenty twenty what you should be building so you need to build resilient systems that are capable of sensing and we're not as correct and that helped us really form a better presentation and a better hypothesis for this content that we began to publish but what are the things so so what do you do that how do you start to change your contracting process I can't tell you all I know is that contract is setting and an anticipated all of the problems we're going to run into as we start to change so for example you might be a consultant company I worked with a consultant company recently that are limiting our agility and how do we design experiments and interventions to start removing those things and replacing them with new structures response sensing and responding and then in your organization what does that actually mean 'cause we can't come in here of old school command and control way here's exactly what you're going to do you know I mean there's other contractual arrangements there's there's time materials fee for service right we're GonNa make this stuff for you and you you really can't be agile when you're promising specific set of deliverables were if if this vendor is going to be any good and so we're going to manage our uncertainty about the quality of this vendor and by by specifying a great deal and you gave a book to a manager but they don't have time to read it but you know they have a specific questions you can have them one of these books that they have time to read that and then they'll realize oh I need to read there's two parties to a contract it's you and the customer so the customer must have requested agreed to that delivery so that you've got the opportunity off I like how there's like a catch twenty two here because we're saying of course there is snow recipe but what people are looking for when they read a book is we want the recipes asked US podcast dot com you X. podcast episode two hundred twenty two do a lot of teaching and workshops and stuff as well how do you help people get over that need or want to plan newest change you know that that and just just to just kind of sit on that one principle for a second that's the one that says it's August two thousand nineteen in we're we're going to come into the sort of annual planning seasoning four now how in the world am I gonNa know so it's a recipe for not following the recipe you have to keep an open mind you have to be open to the uncertainty you're you're always going to be surprised I realize you hey we hire doctors and lawyers we can do that we're just not used to setting those those kinds of commercial terms when we're purchasing software or design you won't hear me say too many nice things about it but but as as a starting point a recipe is fine truly embrace the continuous improvement continuous learning and the key inspect and adapt mantra of scrum and agile and so forth they had look we we. We like to to poop on recipes to be honest right recipes are fine as starting point Laura for a dialogue for shadow the standing of what you're trying to achieve exactly they're in the same position where they're trying to manage their uncertainty right we're not restraint that's limiting your agility and so so when I work with teams and when when Jeff and I do this together it's it's about understanding what are the things so we talk about kind of principles based approach in sense and respond which things like embraced everything and get them to be more open minded and listening to all everything that's going on and sort of sensing responding to that instead of their plan that they that might increase our agility things a great example the contracting things because a an agency or when you're green to deliver something that's right so if you've ever if you ever look at you read any certainly stuff that I've written some interviews that I've done about the about saith the scaled agile framework so if your organization is going to apply the scaled agile framework as a starting point not as the destination that fine you don't to start you want you want some kind of step by step process to get you started great there's scrum there's there's design thinking this lean startup in the enterprise and you said that you can't all the answers how you do sense and respond how you actually put that into practice we've got a podcast which showed me to our interview is going to be like what because there's there's whatever a Kanban right all these things use them as as a as a recipe for a place to start but then and periodically retrospect we've been doing this recipe now for a month what's working these five things are working really well great let's keep doing it what's not working well it's really difficult for us to do these other three things okay let's do them differently and let's try that for a month right so as long as people each he got twelve months Oh God and the testers and the product people actually have to sit together which sounds simple but in big organizations moving desks right these teams that have you know ideally no dependencies on on external external people the industry regulations and constraints etc of their business that's perfectly okay right that's how organizations become more mature in assis the problems come when people apply those recipes wholesale as the destination and anybody who steps outside their little there's a starting point to get an understanding of the problems we're facing but then you have to actually do the real work of talking to people again so yeah games and and that means that it's a team that has all of the capabilities they need to accessible what makes websites accessible this of course being able to listen to people with disabilities including them in the work so there's there's some it's hard to do may be actually impossible but but that's kind of the goal and and so to do that difficult right you have to figure out in in regulated environments you know how power people going to ship it doesn't work they could pull it back this sort of fundamental notion here is that dependencies reduce agility right so you WanNa create completely agree something I picked upon in in the respond part of of sense respond about you suggest that to kind of it starts to break down some of the silos in the organization you you have to move the engineers and designers and that that's where we get into trouble with these recipes and so starting points yes destinations no I think that's an excellent way of putting it makes me think of I and we've got this policy that everything gets three levels of oversight and review from legal and compliance and Blah Blah Blah right self-sufficient teams part of the the good way of working not that intrigued me I like the uh-huh plan design create and deliver their work and now in in other words they're not what have dependencies on you know other parts of the organization they can make a thing that can ship it if it works great it lives self-sufficient team is we talk a lot about in in lean you X. we talk about small cross functional co located self sufficient because I work a lot with accessibility you have the world contradicts guidelines and people fall that that's the perfect recipe but that's not what makes websites but but the goal there is to have a team that can just act without intermediaries and what what can we do to limit or minimize or eliminate that dependency so again it's like depends on the organization it's challenging walks in diagram gets chastised or or or worse perhaps right that's not agile that's not safe that's not scrummed that's not Kanban whatever it is right I striving to become more self sufficient than you will operate better yeah and I think with all of this stuff I mean we were just talking about recipes and I think what we miss sometimes in that are the principles behind the recipe and so self sufficient teams as a recipe the idea what's the reason and the reason is that cross functional collaborative teams are better because they have more points of view there sure of that can you celebrate more about what what's what's a self how how does the self-sufficient teamwork well show the the idea you know recipes as Jeff pointed they're good starting points there the way that we kind of in code and handoff expertise you know if you don't know how to make clams Tom and act quickly you know like when you're saying it's again it's it's not a dogma you don't have to be completely self-sufficient but if you're doubter right here's a here's a piece of paper this is going to tell you how experts have figured out how to make clam chowder now go make it your own it they they create better solutions because they bring all these different points of view together and they're they're faster because they are not limited it by dependencies so there again dependencies limit agile and so when you start going back to the reasons behind these recipes that's when you really start to make them your own in the organization so now I'm thinking I'm thinking about baking now of course well wouldn't have that that that sort of all of that tacit knowledge that you built up over your years of baking and so it's going to be more inclined bring myself into this recipe and I'm going to change this going to change that and but you know somebody who's new to baking you know if you do a lot of baking your two point where you can look at a recipe and kind of very quickly say well because I have a lot of experience here I know who are very staunch defenders of the recipe and when you know you and I both take a very nontraditional sort of and and it says you know the this crazy amount of salt versus a normal amount of salt and you go like okay well the recipe says put in AH logger whenever person likes stouter porter something very different I yeah and if you think about if you think about that analogy James Recipes evolve into useful methodologies inside organizations definitely want to have this conversation but I've also I've also met as coaches transformations agile coaches get a lot of a lot of grief online but these are people who've who've done this before and can knowledge I would say that's another thing that's maybe that's Jeff you can comment on this but I think one of the reasons why coaches are so valuable up assault instead of a tease mood himself this thing tastes awful so so having being able to bring that that that tasks a purist view of the agile processes and methodologies and when you present a challenge to the recipe signed to just stick to whatever the recipe said and wouldn't even know if you know this this happened this happens all the time we is a Typo in the recipe taste or my family's tests because that's the thing we're individuals just like organizations I guess Oh individual nuts not one person can like yes we put something out but there's never ever any budget for something being wrong because that's when the projects and maintenance takes over perhaps but there's not like the trouble in the recipe and can also help you learn the principles behind these recipes the good ones the good ones and so this is this is the thing right and so I've worked or been or have collaborated with or have been worked with organizations who use agile coaches and I find that the good ones who have seen a lot of big projects and healthcare's you guys are saying that we need to put something in the market but assume it will be wrong I do I do a James Bakes and that's exactly the same thing with the the recipes you look around for the job are awesome the recipe for a cake and do you think this sounds excellent are then you start doing it and you know this is not now I need to do this instead we're going to try doing that or all this will soup ongoing commitment you don't ship it one and done and so really moving Morgan this is one of the changes that we talk about I mean just such a huge amount of common sense to all this isn't a really I'm like go back to the baking and allergy sometimes I bake stuff that I like how do we help people understand the importance of will we will learn so much that's our I mean it's a fantastic opportunity to perfect the product after dismissed the construction crew it's a product is a different way of thinking organizing work and it's an suspect no one else in my family alike but I'll bake it anyway and I ended up with a huge pile of cookies or biscuits or something I'm going to punch through a few days because they don't actually put it out there so jeff and I ran a consulting firm for a few years together and clients would come to US clients who were not in the software business it comes up big defensible that's not agile scrum that's not how we do it right so I think that the more enlightened agile coaches definitely get it but I definitely come across those that don't so I really liked the analogy with baking because it was so easy for me to to visualize how you experiment when you're baking even when you're cooking of course with recipes once you've confidently made them X. number of times and a packaged solution that you can just kind of have but you need to think about this is like you're getting a puppy you know ownership of this of this solution that you're buying because it's not a project in the traditional sense of like we build a building and then we have a building really talk more specifically about that cliffhanger yeah this this was awesome thank you for talking to US limitations too I should do as part of my experimentation all these things I don't need to learn I guess because it's not one and done it's your first release is is the first of many I feel like we have a couple of new books I would I would definitely want to read those and and there are so many good things to say about it well I will tell you that we've got books coming on one of those it quite inherent that's quite quite obvious you'd say there's certain things you don't do like if I'm at I'm thinking about what to do with these cookies this time I don't grow up the nails they come to us and they would say we need an APP or we need you to build a thing for us we we and and I would say to them you know you think you're buying the they're not they don't like it and I already knew they probably wouldn't like it oh this is interesting because I I actually have a question I want ask because it's it's something that I come across a lot because I work at we'll actually be able to talk about some more upcoming books soon again all right terrific well listen thank you both for having us it's always a pleasure to Khanin yes thanks very much this was great us fascinating is that you have you build up like a realm of knowledge within baking that some of it's quite oh that these are the things that go into then you feel confident enough to start experimenting and that's how you build knowledge and you make mistakes when when baking and cooking did but okay maybe next time I worked poured exactly particularly but the next time I will do that one I'll change you tweak it another way because now I've confirmed people specified deliverables when they're doing proposals so they're specifying this is where we're going to give you we're GONNA get chocolate muffins yeah if you continue that I mean if you if if I tell you to make chocolate muffins then that's probably not enough information or maybe it is The kinds of changes we talk about insensitive respond which is that you embracing continuous change means I picked a child or I don't know pick the earlier in my career but I very very interesting analogy to use the baking one I think for very much about how you to be riding on right now agile coaches and how to launch an and learn learn after launch and stuff like that I mean and say I want them with nuts and then you start having to ask me so who who are these muffins four and that's when we start getting into what I really liked what Joshua's saying about is to US oh so the US people come in they're the ones who do the customer journey maps but at one point or another we're gonNA realize well in this case the best thing is too much home and how do you recognize the knowledge if you're someone buying these services it's really hard I mean usually yeah you're gonNa be you're going to be taken care of this puppy for the next fifteen years you know and so are you really prepared to take absolutely and shipping experiments shipping things quickly because it just never gonna be finished excellent but you know we've still got a build up that knowledge on and keep hold the knowledge and make sure we don't cause you do experiment doing stuff like I said you may be throwing a different ingredient or more ascending green to see what happens but I think another thing that's range along the way I think this is one of the most difficult things for us to both do but also actually convinced the rest of the organization on because If people are deliverables that you've written inside a proposal is wrong yeah exactly that you you can end up you're in you're gonNA end up shipping an experiment we've got blessed Notes in Yeah I don't have a good answer for this this is hard this adaptation of knowing that we have the we've we've with nuts in that could potentially cause allergic reactions to all people are eating them yeah maybe exactly yeah vying this from an external vendor and you look in house now how how do you do in house how do you how do you kind of bake cakes price of the other proposal there might be so much experience in realizing that we're going to be changing this along the way as we learn more but even if you even if you don't look at the kind of the idea of them these losses be needed means you don't necessarily need to worry about exactly what they're delivering maybe I need to go out and talk to people do use your interviews I before even trying to that customer journey map yeah but that how are we've seen such a growth in in house teams that we've in house teams you even turn lies that issue or question on throwing throwing a bunch of tax whatever into my baking in I'm not GonNa bring a bottle and through a glass in I understand that there are certain experiments it's and this and this and this but along the way as you're talking to the people who you're making the muffins for you may realize you have to change that and all of a sudden you just go look at look at that they looked deliverables look the same in both proposals one price is lower than the other

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