Monday 21 September 2020

Lead Time Driven Delivery - Part 0, Introduction


Lead Time Driven Delivery (LTDD) approach has emerged from personal need to improve software delivery teams speed, LTDD is an extension of your Agile framework and it attempts to fix the following problems:

  • Agile frameworks tend to be collection of methods from industry practitioners. Most of these methods do not have any real evidence behind them that they actually work. Agile frameworks don’t necessarily have clear focus on what result they are trying to achieve, that is apart from vague "delivering value to customer” which is hard to measure.
  • Once organisations roll out Agile framework, it is not happily ever after. Some organisations start to deliver software slower, some speed up. However, no matter what happens, organisation's sponsors expect continuous improvement, so what’s the next improvement? How do you know what you can and can’t change? Are you bound to the Agile framework methods?
  • New practitioners and managers starting in the industry should not need years of experience to learn (often arbitrary) methods to be able to understand the main delivery concepts of why they are following some method, how it is applied and how they can make further improvements.
  • Certain scientific manufacturing management paradigms and models such as Theory of Constraints, 8 Wastes, etc don’t translate well into knowledge work. In fact, some aspects are hurtful and damaging to the knowledge work.
  • Software engineering department is not the only department in your company, how do you integrate your Agile Framework with Sales? Customer support? Implementations?

As a practitioner if you have identified similar problems then you might be happy to know that you are not alone, maybe this short series will give you some ideas on how you can further improve your team and your organisation overall. LTDD is not a collection of specific delivery methods such as pair programming, sitting together, using story points etc, this is already covered in abundance. LTDD is a framework and a way of thinking, it frees you from the Agile method and it allows you and your organisation to choose the methods that minimise your organisation’s lead time.

The name "Lead time driven delivery" name comes from research book called “ACCELERATE Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organisations", this book identified KPIs that seem to correlate with profitability of organisations, and lead time is one of them. This is hardly surprising, our sponsors and customers don’t care that you have taken 5 minutes to make a software change but have taken 3 months to ship this change to production, all your customers see is 3 months elapsed time and not that 5 minutes. So, if lead time makes your organisation respond to market changes faster and provide better customer experience than why is this not your number #1 KPI?

This short series will attempt to give you some tools to make a change, and a really great thing is that it does not matter where you are and it does not matter how long it will take you to reduce that elapsed time from 3 months to 5 minutes, what matters is that you make a start and work with your peers through these problems, that collaboration is the real transformation.

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