Peter Middleton – Lean Software Management: BBC Worldwide Case Study

This case study examines how the lean ideas behind the Toyota Production System can be applied to software project management. It is a detailed investigation of the performance of a 9 person software development team employed by BBC Worldwide based in London.

The data collected in 2009 involved direct observations of the development team, the kanban boards, the daily stand up meetings, semi structured interviews with a wide variety of staff, and statistical analysis.

The evidence shows that over the 12 month period, lead time to deliver software improved by 37%, consistency of delivery rose by 47% and defects reported by customers fell 24%. The significance of this work is showing that the use of lean methods including visual management, team-based problem solving, smaller batch sizes, and Statistical Process Control can improve software development. It also summarises key differences between Agile and Lean approaches to software development.

The conclusion is that the performance of the software development team was improved by adopting a lean approach. The faster delivery with a focus on creating the highest value to the customer also reduced both technical and market risks. The drawbacks are that it may not fit well with existing corporate standards.

About:  Peter Middleton is a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland.  He received his PhD from Imperial College London and MBA from the University of Ulster.  He co-authored the book ‘Lean Software Strategies’ published in 2005, and edited a book of case studies on applied Systems Thinking: ‘Delivering Public Services that Work’ in 2010.  His research focus is combining Systems Thinking with lean software development to help organisations significantly improve their performance. He can be contacted on


James Sutton – The Living, Breathing Organization: Lean, Science and Complexity

Businesses are living entities. More precisely, a business is a complex system whose most-important elements are its people. People are alive; creative…and unpredictable. However, most businesses are not handled as living things. They are managed either as lifeless machines (in what is often incorrectly called the “scientific approach”), or like a combat patrol making its way through a dark forest by following someone with night-vision goggles (the “expert approach”). Neither approach takes the people in the business seriously. Neither helps a business gain access to people-driven breakthroughs, nor avoid people-driven landmines.

Is it any wonder that so many businesses do poorly?

This talk will explore how Systems Thinking (in the Ackoff rather than Senge sense) makes the living organization possible. The framework we will use is the Scientific Method, applied in seldom-seen entirety. It will unify the independent fields of Lean Thinking and Complexity Theory to achieve this goal.

The result? A business that both “thinks” and “feels.” A business that picks the right goals, then achieves them better than any other one could. A business where people are glad to come to work. A business that is secure, because the whole is alive so it can detect new conditions, adapt to the unexpected, and heal itself when wounded.

About:  James Sutton’s passion is for unleashing the power and joy of human creativity in the development of systems. He is a chief software-systems architect whose designs and processes have consistently quadrupled productivity compared to company and industry norms, accompanied by a ten-times reduction in defects compared to normal. His book “Lean Software Strategies” won the 2007 Shingo Prize, which Business Week has called “The Nobel Prize of Manufacturing.” He is an INCOSE (International Council on Systems Engineering) ESEP (Expert Systems Engineering Professional), one of only 50 worldwide, with a Master’s degree in Systems Engineering from Southern Methodist University, and is CEO of The Jubata Group. More recently, he joined with other recognized experts such as David Anderson, Dean Leffingwell, Alan Shalloway and Don Reinertsen in co-founding the Lean Software and Systems Consortium, which he now is the President.


Steve Denning – Making The Entire Organization Agile

Traditional management has failed. To deal with a radically different marketplace and workplace, today the whole organization must be focused on creating a stream of additional value to customers through continuous innovation and delivering it sooner. In short, delight the customer. This reinvention of management reflects in part an application of Agile/Scrum thinking to the whole organization.

Drawing on his award-winning book, The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management (Jossey-Bass, 2010), Steve Denning shows how the reinvention of management involves five fundamental shifts in terms of the firm’s goal, the role of managers, the way work is coordinated, the shift from value to values and the shift in communications shift from command to conversation.

About:  Steve Denning is the author six business books, including most recently The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management: Reinventing The Workplace For the 21st Century (Jossey-Bass, 2010). He has been at the forefront of the global movement to establish leadership storytelling as a key competence in organizations and politics. His books in this area include The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling (2nd Edition 2011) and The Secret Language of Leadership (2007), Squirrel Inc (2004) and The Springboard (2000) He is the former program director of knowledge management at the World Bank (1996-2000) where he spearheaded the introduction of knowledge sharing as an organizational strategy. He now works with organizations in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia on leadership, innovation, business narrative and radical management. In November 2000, he was selected as one of the world’s ten Most Admired Knowledge Leaders (Teleos)


Bjarte Bogsnes – Beyond Budgeting: a new management model for new business realities

It is hard or maybe impossible to fully succeed with agile project models (like for instance Scrum) unless agile also becomes the way the whole company is managed. The way most companies are managed has not kept pace with an increasingly dynamic business environment, and with the knowledge worker becoming the norm more than the exception. Budgeting, planning and performance evaluation is still conducted in more or less the same way as in earlier times, through a rigid and centralised command-and-control approach. Even if our leadership thinking has evolved significantly over the years, our management processes has not, leading to serious gaps between what companies say (and often also mean) and what they actually do.

Beyond Budgeting offers a proven and coherent alternative to this serious problem. The main purpose is not to get rid of budgets, but to take reality seriously, both the world around us and people in the organisation. The three different (and often conflicting) budget purposes of target setting, forecasting and resource allocation are not abolished, but separated and improved in ways not possible when all three are crammed into one annual set of budget numbers.

Performance evaluation is turned from blindly reading performance against fixed and preset targets, towards more relative targets combined with relevant hindsight insights. Forecasting is relieved from the gaming caused by also serving as target negotiation or resource applications.

Resource allocation is made dynamic and more self-regulating, instead of once a year defining the “right” level and mix of resources by handing out millions of small bags of money each autumn. More responsibility is devolved to the front-line, with full transparency on targets, resource use and performance as an effective control mechanism. Misuse of trust and freedom is resolutely dealt with, but all employees are not locked up because someone someday will do something wrong.
The presentation will also cover how the Beyond Budgeting principles is applied at Statoil, Scandinavia’s largest company.

About:  Bjarte Bogsnes has a long international career, both in Finance and HR. He is now heading up Statoils Beyond Budgeting project. Statoil is Scandinavia’s largest company, with operations in 34 countries and a turnover of 90bn USD. Bjarte is also Chairman of Beyond Budgeting Roundtable Europe, and author of the book Implementing Beyond Budgeting – Unlocking the Performance Potential. He has also been involved in Statoil’s Scrum implementation.