Kanban Leadership Retreat 2014 – Cascais, Portugal #klrpt

Every year since the first Kanban Leadership Retreat in Iceland, 2011, David J. Anderson invites the Kanban community to a nice place somewhere in Europe to discuss, share experiences and advance the Kanban Method. This year, we met in beautiful Cascais.

Although I couldn’t attend all sessions at the retreat, it would be way too much. That’s why I want to focus on my top three. Here they come:

3. Fitness for Purpose

The last session I attended was proposed by David J Anderson. It wasn’t called Fitness for Purpose, but it was one topic in the session, which stuck with me. First he explained the concept behind fitness for purpose and why he thinks it’s helpful. This wasn’t new to most of the attendees, but it was a nice round up.

At least new to me was the split in two. Talking about fitness for purpose on organization level we are talking about two parts of fitness. The first is the fitness of the product or service you deliver. The second part is the service delivery itself. In other words you must know, how you create a fit product for the market you are in and how are delivering that product to the market.

We got the Kanban Method to improve the latter, but in David’s opinion we are missing something for the former. We are all know Lean Startup and other methods to create a good product, but the feedback of LKNA14 attendees in San Francisco was it sounds very nice but doesn’t fit for big enterprises. So the question was, how can we help.

Of course we didn’t come with something totally new and game changing, I think that would be presumptuous to think, but the insights and discussions we had very helpful to think about further ideas. I’m excited to see where the road, this session showed us, will lead to.

2. Depth of Kanban rebooted and “Agile Fluency”

The session to finish up session was a joint one proposed by Mike Burrows and my colleague Sebastian Sanitz. Mike had the idea of rebooting “Depth of Kanban” tool introduced at the Kanban Leadership Retreat in Mayrhofen 2012 and Sebastian Sanitz introduced to us the Agile Fluency™ model by Diana Larsen and James Shore.

Mike Burrows wrote about the session and why Agile Fluency was important to in his own blog. So I suggest you hop over and read Mike’s article.

1. Role-based Guidance

Number one on my list was actually the first session I attended at the Leadership Retreat. Again David proposed the topic. The question he wanted to find an answer was “How can the Kanban Method and the body of knowledge around it help role X?”

The group was pretty big so we split up into four groups each with a different role to discuss. My table started to create a persona we called Tessa Rossa the test manager. Next we thought about her challenges she faces everyday in and out and prioritised it. We found a lot of stuff. In my opinion it was especially funny, that challenges which one might think would be essential to the position of a test manager such like “quality assurance” were very low ranked in the list. The last step was to think of topics helpful to Tessa Rossa she should teach her in a Kanban class.

The outcome of every single group was pretty nice and helpful to better understand what each role needed, although every group did it in a different way. At least to me the session showed me I could and should think of how I can improve my classes for the different roles out there in the real world.

Frank Vega and David had a similar session at the Leadership Retreat in Monterey, where they asked a slightly different question namely “How does Kanban influence your role?” Read more about it here.

Unsurprisingly the Kanban Leadership Retreat in Cascais was worth it and I will be definitely will be in Mayrhofen next year. I cannot but suggest to you, if you every have the chance to attend a Kanban Leadership Retreat, do it. You will not regret it.

I am very much looking forward to meet old and new friends again at Kanban Leadership Retreat Austria in Mayrhofen and I am sure some of them I will already see at Lean Kanban Central Europe 2014 in Hamburg.


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