Real World Kaizen in Action

No Comments
Kaizen - Change Good

In October 2012 Superstorm Sandy hit New York City.  The results are still being felt today.  Relief agencies struggled to keep up with the demand for food.  Six months later, people in Rockaways are still hungry.  Toyota will donate up to 1 million meals, if you watch this video.  You’ll learn about things like Kaizen, Muda, and Toyota Production Systems.


  1. Eliminate Muda (Waste)
  2. Create continuous flow

Result?  Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) and more people getting food with less waste.

Original distribution time: 3 hours
Current distribution time: 1.2 hours

Categories: Video Tags: Tags: , ,

When PMI Introduced the Elephant – Part 3

No Comments

This post concludes my 3 part series about when PMI Introduced the Elephant in the Room.  It’s the basis of my talk at AgileDC on October 26. The elephant I am referring to is the mainstream adoption of Agile.  In part one of my series, I introduced the idea that Agile was about to cross the chasm.  The chasm I’m referring to is based on the “Technology Life Cycle Adoption Curve” concept from Geoffrey Moore’s 1992 book Crossing the Chasm. I see parallels between a technology life cycle adoption curve and a methodology life cycle adoption curve.  Though waterfall may be at the far right, with the laggards and skeptics, I see Agile as being embraced by the innovators and visionaries for the last 10 years.  But within the last view years, the earliest adopters and visionaries started to get traction.  It took real leadership to follow a few “lone nuts” and brave ridicule.

There comes a time within the adoption curve that the tipping point occurs.   If the original Agile leaders were the flint, the first followers were the spark that made the fire.  With PMI creating the PMI-ACP certification, there is going to be a lot of fuel on the fire.  After teaching my first PMI-ACP class over the last few days, I asked my students why they were pursuing this certification.  What made it different?  Their answers were both enlightening and similar.  The common answer was that their organizations see the PMI endorsement of Agile methods as the legitimizing of Agile.  Until PMI got involved, Agile practices were “undisciplined ideas from those on the fringe”.  Even with the certification being in the pilot stage, it has rapidly become a viable alternative to other processes that just aren’t working.  Though Agile isn’t for everyone, I find it amazing that so many have not adopted it, merely because it wasn’t supported by the status quo.

I’m actually not sure where we are on the adoption curve.  But, from listening to my students, the fear of ridicule is being stripped away.  I do believe we are crossing the chasm.

Watch this 3 minute video.  If you are a version of the shirtless (Agile) dancing guy at your organization, all alone, remember the importance of nurturing your first few followers as equals, making everything clearly about the movement, not you.

Be public. Be easy to follow!

There is no movement without the first follower.

(Link to Video on YouTube)

Categories: Agile, Project Management, Video Tags: Tags: , , ,

And so the Party Begins

1 Comment

I’m sitting backstage, enjoying the show.  Ty Kiisel and Raechel Logan are onstage and doing an awesome job.  The Keynote today, at the conference, is actually going to be the Talking Work podcast.  There’s a live band, several hundred people in the audience, and the stage looks like the set of The Tonight Show.  I’m sitting backstage, sipping my water and listening to Donna Fitzgerald speak.  I wonder to myself, what is Ty going to want to talk about?  Before I answer my own question, I notice one of the people backstage approaching me, as he mouths something into his radio. He smiles at me and says, “They’re about ready for you, Derek.  If you would please, got ahead and get into position.”  I remember from the rehearsal the night before that I was to go stand on an X and wait for the lights to come on.   …and so the party begins.

The entire WorkOut 2011: TalkingWork Keynote lasted about 1 hour and 26 minutes.  I modified the embedded YouTube link so that it would advance to just before I came on.  But, I would really recommend you go back to the beginning and watch the whole thing.  Donna had some excellent talking points. I don’t want to say what anyone talked about.  It’s so much better letting them speak for themselves, via the video.  Ty and Raechel were amazing hosts and AtTask blew me away by the level of quality this event had.

So, sit back and enjoy the show.  And could someone please tell me where the hell that green feather went!? (Don’t worry, you’ll find out)
Since this post was written, the Keynote video has been changed to “private”.  It looks like each of the interviews will have their own video on YouTube.

I have a quote by Seth Godin that has recently become my mantra. He wrote

Go, give a speech. Go, start a blog. Go, ship that thing that you’ve been hiding. Begin, begin, begin and then improve. Being a novice is way overrated.

Thank you again to Ty and Raechel for inviting me out to Utah, to enjoy your event and share in the wonderful conversations.

What I’ve heard Ty say rings true.

It doesn’t matter what we do.  It doesn’t matter what industry we’re in or even what our role is.  We all share one thing in common.  And that is we all work.

Blending Scrum and Kanban

No Comments

Though I frequent the LeadingAgile website, I have to do a little more than just retweet a link in support of this post.  I’ve known Mike Cottmeyer a while now.  The guy just gets it!  For those who are new to Agile, Scrum, or Kanban, you need to carve out 10 minutes and watch this video.  In his own words, Mike says he 

blends concepts like Epics, Features, User Stories, Story Maps, Minimally Marketable Features, Scrum, Kanban, RUP, and even traditional SDLC to create a scaleable agile enterprise portfolio framework.

I wouldn’t doubt that pretty much anyone who watches this video is going to have a light bulb moment. Recently, I’ve had quite a few people asking me about Kanban. Though I’m excited to tell them what I know and my approaches, Mike does an awesome job of both blending Scrum and Kanban and then communicating the approach in 10 minutes.

Head over to LeadingAgile and read some really great stuff. Also follow Mike on Twitter at @mcottmeyer

Categories: Project Management, Video Tags: Tags: , , ,

Web Interview Retrospective


Today, I was the guest for a live web interview with @AgileScout.  I’ll admit, I’d never done a live (video) web interview before.  I did recently do an audio interview with @tykiisel & @RaeLogan.  I enjoy interacting with people but I usually do it one-on-one.  I rely a lot on audio and visual feedback to steer a conversation.  So, that made both interviews a bit challenging for me.  Since I had no visual feedback for the audio interview, I literally closed me eyes to stay focused.  To help me stay focused during the video interview, I closed all screens with the exception of the one of me on camera.  No, I’m not vain.  I just wanted to make sure I was centered on the camera.  

So, let me say, I really enjoyed the interview.  Peter made it seem effortless.  There is a lot going on behind the scenes.  We talked before the interview to resolve technical issues and roughly go over the scope of the interview.  When you watch the interview, know two things.  [1] I was pretty excited and anxious.  I had already drank a pot of coffee.  [2] I was staring at a live feed of myself, not Peter.

ASL002 – LIVE with Derek Huether 2011.01.22 from Agile Scout on Vimeo.

The Retrospection

While we were doing the interview, my wife was in the other room watching the live feed.  After the interview, she said she thought I drank way too much coffee (during the interview) AND I moved around too much.  You know what?  That’s not bad feedback!  If she had walked into the room and told me what I was doing (during the interview), I would have probably stopped (drinking my coffee).  Though it would have been a momentary interruption of the interview, it would have been a perfect testament to the need for short feedback loops.  THIS is a perfect example of why you want co-located teams.  THIS is a perfect example of why you have daily stand-ups.

Shorten the feedback loop and you will have less waste and deliver more value.

Thank you, again, to Peter Saddington for being an independent voice democratizing Agile.

Categories: Agile, Project Management, Video Tags: Tags: , ,

Upcoming Interview on AgileScout


LIVE Interview this Saturday with me at 10:30am EST, 1/22/2011.
[GO TO:]

AgileScout will be broadcasting with live chat so you can ask me anything you want, or just join us for the web cast and see two Agile-fanatics go at it. Want to see more interviews by AgileScout? Check out the other broadcasts that were previously recorded.

Until then, if you’re looking for an independent voice democratizing Agile, go check out AgileScout!

Check out AgileScout Live

Categories: Agile, Video Tags: Tags: ,