Supporting leaders align teams and build trust across diverse interests

Leaders of delivery organizations hire us to get more value from their agile-lean transformation journey. Feeling exposed with T&M contracts, clients look to service providers to share delivery risk. While vendors look to customers to be more accountable for their contribution to overall delivery success. By offering collaborative rather than adversarial agreements, delivery partners benefit from deeper engagement through tighter cross-connects between teams. This is especially valuable for clients when working with remote teams, multi-team setups and/or service provider teams on critical initiatives.

Build stronger shared accountability for desired outcomes 

  1. align diverse interests in and between teams, 
  2. dig deep to core values and interests to establish critical stakeholder priorities,
  3. formalize horizontal communication structure through a network of joint commitments.

Discover, clarify and resolve issues, challenges and constraints by 

  1. empowering teams to negotiate, agree and resolve agreements



The immediate job-to-be-done is to align stakeholders & teams, build trust in delivery capability and then leverage the momentum gained. And do it in a planful way.

The approach:

  • Align and Start: Align delivery partners through agreements where joint accountability for success is introduced. 
    • strike rough flexible agreements for first iteration and then refine/extend them
    • base joint commitments on estimates within "working with certainty™" constraint. This builds trust across teams.
    • start with iterations sized for this constraint
  • Build Momentum: Create flow and leverage momentum: 
    • focus on constraints to increase delivery effectiveness, predictability & iteration length
    • build out agreements required for success. continue to resolve to identify improvements
    • implement improvements and learning using metrics to align and motivate.
  • Plan: In parallel, develop road map commitments (EPIC agreements): Implement "fail forward and fast" risk management approach to planning as part of the team committing to delivering a road map

Time Investment: 7 to 9 weeks; Shared risk model available after first three week engagement.

Other services include:

  • Neutral, Coaching Facilitation and Mediation Services included with use of online platform 

  • Process Exploration Workshops

    • For clients using joint accountability to engage service providers

    • For Services providers, engagement and delivery processes

Implementing Lean
Service Delivery

The job-to-be-done is to use natural conflict that today drives partners apart in adversarial relationships creating waste. To use it as the basis for alignment, creativity and continuous improvement "collaboration". 

Leaders implementing Lean Service Delivery "Lean SD™" facilitate the creation of tight cross connects between people and teams. Alignment and creative problem solving are fundamental to driving continuous improvement across a series of "delivery experiments" (iterations). 

The process is to:

  • share risk so teams win and avoid loss together
  • create collaborative agreements to tie dependencies together
  • leverage conflict and its resolution to drive out better solutions.

Qualification: We propose this specific implementation of Lean for clients in service delivery i) seeking radical outcomes, ii) who are highly invested in delivery process and automation, and iii) are a long way down the path with enterprise scaled agile but aren't satisfied.

Remove Waste: Like other lean projects, bottleneck constraints will be targeted to remove waste. Removal of constraints through process change and automation reduces wastage ($/Time) and increases flow of work focused on value creation. Functional areas impacted include: delivery, accounting and payment, procurement and legal. These savings while exciting are not what you will want to "write home about".

The Large Upside is tapping into the problem-solving creativity of aligned and empowered teams. Highly productive motivated teams can have an exponential relationship with value creation. Key to this is a switch to joint accountability across a network of agreements leveraged on top of a culture change and agile practices. Making partners accountable to each other across the organization and extended enterprise fundamentally shifts the relationship between dependent partners and how things get done across the enterprise.

Implementation Approach: The approach and stages used to implement Lean SD are very similar to those used to turnaround a project. The stages have a similar focus of experimentation and learning. However there is more time in the schedule for training and creating a more solid foundation for the implementation.

  • Align and Start: Align delivery partners through agreements where joint accountability for success is introduced. 
  • Build Momentum: Create flow and leverage momentum by building trust in delivery capability 
  • Plan: In parallel, develop road map commitments (EPIC agreements) leveraging "fail forward and fast" risk management approach

Inspect, resolve and adapt processes determines the journey each organization takes.