Transforming Organizations

These are the confirmed speakers on the Transforming Organizations track.

Bob Marshall: Keep it Lighthearted? The Marshall Model

In most organisational transformations, few if any of the people involved have any clear idea of the fundamental nature of the challenges they are facing. Rightshifting explains the nature of these challenges. It provides both concepts and a vocabulary through which people can share and discuss these challenges. Drawing on 30+ years of experience across dozens of different development organisations, Bob uses this session to introduce Rightshifting and the Marshall Model – and the results of applying them in real-world organisational transformations.

About:  Bob Marshall has dedicated his career to helping businesses dramatically improve the effectiveness of their software development and design engineering efforts. In the course of this career he has worked at the cutting edge of software and business systems development for the best part of thirty years. Throughout, he has consistently inspired people to improve their own capabilities – along with those of their teams and organisations. He spent three years as CEO of the UK’s first 100% Agile software-intensive product-development and consultancy start-up, serving major clients in Telecoms, Finance, Media, eBusiness, etc., and has for the past nine years headed a Software Development Management Consultancy advising organisations how best to manage software-intensive product development in all its aspects.

Previously he held the role of Senior Java Architect with Sun Microsystems‚ UK Java Center, and before that fulfilled many roles, from developer, analyst, designer and architect, through product-, project- and general management, consultancy, systems administration, and QA to operations, marketing and sales.

With a keen focus on business value, able to de-risk client projects and provide guaranteed outcomes, most of his assignments now revolve around working as a trusted advisor or interim executive to ambitious, growing technology-led companies, meeting the challenges involved in taking their businesses to the next level, and speeding the flow of innovation and value in their concept-to-cash pipelines. He is the founder of Rightshifting, and the inventor of FlowChain; the enterprise-wide approach to developing software-intensive products and services.


Claudio Perrone: A3 & Kaizen: Here’s How

There is a war going on, tragically consumed behind corporate walls. It’s a war of worlds, a war of cultures, where the few who command & control systematically crush people’s hearts and minds. Frontal attack is futile. Chewed by the system, some colleagues desisted, others were let go, few even changed careers. We like to call ourselves change agents, right shifters, sensei, coaches. We prescribe our medicines and leave. But what change does really happen? How long does it last?But imagine what it would be like if you discovered a systematic way to dig into deeper forms of thinking, turn fire fighters into problem solvers, share and celebrate every victory – however small, and make improvements an everyday part of an entire organization. What would you do? How far would you go?In this session, you will follow the story of a Lean & Agile sensei who is using structured problem solving/mentoring processes and quick Kaizen systems to facilitate an ongoing Lean enterprise transformation and lead teams to a path of continuous improvement.

About:  Claudio Perrone is an experienced Lean & Agile sensei focusing on large-scale enterprise transformations. In his career, he has been driving the design and development of several large-scale solutions for global companies in the fields of elearning, e-commerce, manufacturing and automation.


Ari Tikka: Organizational Alienation

Human beings design constraints in a system. Then the system creates behavior, and people adjust the system. There are places in this loop, where human unconscious has potentially huge leverage in the long term development. When facing a challenge human mind does its best to cope with the the change by learning and acting. The more threatening the challenge is, the more the unconscious defense mechanisms protect the mind from anxiety. Defensing always has a flavor of self-deceit. It is often difficult to judge how much a certain choice is defensing and how much coping. Learning, by the way, is laborious and threatening, and thus often causes defensing. The talk will shortly present defense mechanisms. Then we will explore four common, significant and painful patterns in organizations, magnified by defensive behavior:

  • Three conflicting interests
  • Gaps between Customer and Producers
  • Competing projects
  • Overspecialization leading to coordination chaos

I have called the general phenomenon Organizational Alienation. Based on my 15 years in studying and developing large SW organizations, I have chosen three levers that you can pull in everyday decisions to change the direction:

  • From overspecialization to deep competencies having wide responsibilities
  • From avoiding conflict to passion to learn
  • From batching to flow

The most effective arena to create change is teams making decisions, both the front-line and management teams. Every member of the organization can influence.

About:  Ari Tikka started his career with ten years of mathematical engineering and software development. Since 1997 he has been coaching leaders to build productive and sustaining organizations. His work includes Agile and Lean transformation, cultural change programs, leadership, program and portfolio management. His approach is based on solid experience in three diverse fields:

  • software business and product development
  • leading complex and turbulent organizations
  • behavior of individuals, groups and organizations


Francisco Trindade: Subject to Change – How & why your change program is going to fail, and what you can do about it

Change is complicated – most organisational change initiatives involve not only newer practices and processes, but a shift in the company’s culture. This is particularly the case when introducing lean methodologies for software development.When faced with this challenge, most organisations choose either a top down approach, aiming to create an artificial environment where change happens, but in a controlled manner, or they hope for a bottom up initiative that will break their current structures and create change from the ground. They propose an unfair deal, asking their employees to support change, but only the the one management is putting forward.

This presentation is going to discuss (with examples) how this approach is doomed to failure and why management should give up control and embrace change, fostering an innovative environment where it will naturally happen. We’re going to talk about how a company desire for uniformity, as in adopting Lean or Agile, actually takes away the responsibility of solving problem from its employees, by assuming they are not able to decide by themselves, instead of giving them ownership of the situation.

Using lean and systems thinking and real cases of companies that challenged the traditional management status quo with reverse accountability principles, this talk will propose an approach to how an organisation can empower their employees to innovate and change by sharing responsibility and control.

About:  Francisco Trindade works as developer, coach and consultant at ThoughtWorks. After working on his own start up, Francisco has been helping several companies in the telecommunications, media and finance industries to improve their processes and deliver successful software projects. Having worked with different types of projects in the past years, both in the Uk and in Australia, his interests range from technology and development to systems thinking and how to create performing teams & organizations. He has presented about agile & lean in various conferences, including Agile US, XP Europe, Agile Brazil and South-American Agiles.


Marcin Kokkot: A3 language as the glue for Lean transformation

Even though IT has already more than 50 years and we have experience more than hundreds of new approaches, one thing remains unchanged for two decades – people in the center of all effort. We are still finding that the majority of the root causes of problems experienced are simple problems with communication, common understanding and dealing with distance among teams. Different roles, experience, culture, insights – ale this points to the fact that if we want to deal with the situation we need to have common language. The same applies to the Lean transformation we have undertaken recently.

But learning the new language is hard, therefore we need to simplify it to the limits. We needed concept as in Scrum – User Story card which is only the symbol of the information but in the same moment understandable by all different stakeholders. One “card” which is enabling discussions, planning, and joining the teams in the same effort.

As the result we have gained one way to, in the same moment, visualize our progress in the continuous improvement, enable proactive approach by anybody in the corporate, enable personal growth of people who are investigating the surrounding to learn about it. As the addition it came to be remarkable simple way to show status of all improvements, easy reporting tool and simple story telling about each improvement without any focus on from who and from which department the change is coming. And also it change the mindset of every person involved.

About:  He started work as a programmer to gradually go through the role of team leader, project manager, unit manager to currently support the teams, projects and organizations as an Agile/Lean Coach at Tieto. He has in his history broad number of projects he has been helping, mostly in a distributed environment and multi culture teams. Projects were coming from whole Scandinavia, Germany, Netherlands, India and China. When coaching and mentoring the teams he was working with teams of programmers, but also project managers / programs as well as entire units, sales departments and legal entities.

He conducted training courses on project management practices, Agile (Scrum, XP, TDD, OpenUP, RUP) and Lean Software Development, as well as from the areas of coaching and leadership. Also held several workshops with several companies, including results such as new types of Agile contracts Agile. Thanks to a wide range of experience, he is able to assist organizations practically on any level. Member of the core team of Lean Transformation and Delivery Mentor Network. His greatest passion is working with people and assisting in achieving the “impossible”.


Henrik Mårtensson: A hoop through the OODA loop – Basic principles of business strategy and organization

A hoop through the OODA loop – Basic principles of business strategy and organization, how they apply to Agile, why the business community got them wrong, and how to get them right The title says it all! The talk takes a close look at business strategy and organization using systems thinking and Maneuver Conflict, a military strategic framework, as perspectives.

The conclusion is inescapable: Most companies today use strategies that stem from sound principles, but they apply them in the wrong context. By reexamining basic principles and building from them, most companies can become much more competitive, and fun to work for too.

About:  Henrik Mårtensson is a systems thinker, writer, and management consultant. He began working with Agile methodologies in 2001, and soon became interested in why it was so difficult to fit Agile teams within existing organizations. This lead to an interest in Theory Of Constraints, Lean, and Systems Thinking. Henrik’s book Tempo! is currently under translation to English. More books are on the way.


Maarit Laanti: Agile and Wellbeing –Stress, Empowerment and Performance in Scrum and Kanban Teams

Little research data exists on agile teams and wellbeing. This study is based on survey research of 466 people, where we asked subjective feelings of stress, empowerment and performance in teams after they changed to use agile methods. The results reveal that feeling of higher performance improvement and sustainable pace are related, and that this difference statistically significant. Respondents who feel their team is empowered also feel less stress. However, stress and empowerment are not related to whether team works in Kanban or in Scrum mode.

About:  Maarit Laanti has been working in software industry for 20 years, most of which she has spent in Nokia, leading software projects and teams. After long time in waterfall, in year 2000 she successfully converted her software project into incremental mode, and in 2004 she started to study “turbulent project management” which she found then later to be close to agile. Since then she has written several publications on agile, her research interest focusing on scaling agility into large organizations and (lately) quantitative studies of deployment success. Maarit holds a M.Sc. Engineering degree from Helsinki University of Technology, and at the time she is finishing her PhD. She has been the key person to lead Nokia to use agile methods since Jan 2007, and works there currently as an Agile and Lean Coach.


Henri Kivioja: Ericsson Finland Agile and Lean Transformation, Experiences and Learnings

Ericsson Finland started large scale Agile transformation 2008. In my presentation I will explain how we changed a traditional silo-based R&D center towards a Lean and Agile software development R&D Organization. We realized early that this is a profound transformation of the way of working, the organization, our physical seating arrangements, our culture and our competence profile. This is reflected throughout the presentation and opened up with real-life examples and thinking. Main topic for the presentation is Change in aspects of Leadership, Lean Thinking, Continuous Learning and Organizational Changes. I will go through how we have put in place our implementation in regards of Cross-Functional Teams, Product Ownership, Line Management and Agile Testing. Our experiences and learnings are reflected in the presentation and special attention is put into Self Organization and Governance. We also want to share how we think when reflecting by-the-book theories and how they are applied in our context.

About:  Henri Kivioja acted as Project Manager in different SW projects almost seven Years until 2009 after which organization started the transformation. The role within Agile transformation has been to secure scaling up of cross-functional teams in multi-site development. As a Program Manager in Development organization Henri has had a central position to experience how different theories and practices meet and sometimes collide. This presentation has been held numerous times inside Ericsson and now we are able to share our experiences also externally.


Katherine Kirk: Kanban and the Importance of Equanimity: Navigating politics and data aversion at the BBC

“This exploratory presentation continues and compliments the conversation topic of ‘Humans and Kanban’ with Benjamin Mitchell (see his great work on Double Loop Learning etc).

Drawing from my experience and experiments in the Future Media division of the BBC as a Project Manager and Delivery Improvement Specialist, in this presentation I will be exploring how understanding the concept of equanimity might assist coaches, managers, practitioners and team members overcome issues such as politics and data aversion.

As Kanban is often used to visualise and expose a part of a system which is failing, it can sometimes evoke negative emotion. But the question is, in these scenarios, how do you ensure the best possible outcome?

In very basic terms, equanimity is generically defined in the western dictionary as: “Mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation”. Eastern philosophy views it a little differently, for example Hinduism states that ‘equanimity is the concept of balance and centeredness which endures through all possible changes in circumstances’.

Perhaps focussing on helping coaches, managers and teams achieve a state of equanimity before and during Kanban implementation could help overcome issues such as politics and unexpected negative backlash – whilst still preserving enthusiasm for continuous improvement?

So, what is the concept of equanimity, how do we get to it, and could we use it to strengthen and complement Kanban implementation…?”

About:  Katherine Kirk is a Project Manager and Delivery Improvement Specialist in the BBC iPlayer and Core Services divisions of the BBC. She is an active participant of a community of Lean and Agile practitioners in the BBC Future Media and Technology division who explore and challenge the status quo through experimenting and collaborating. She is particularly interested in edge-cases and the cultural interaction between hierarchical management and Agile teams. She supports this interest by studying an MSc in Software Engineering at University of Oxford, specializing in Process Improvement, Managing Quality and Risk, and Software Systems Security.