October 22, 2014

Agile Coaching Exchange meetup with Karl Scotland

Just heading back from the Agile Coaching Exchange meetup where Karl Scotland gave a presentation on Kanban and the Learning Organisation.

Karl has put together a framework based around Kanban for enabling large inspect and adapt cycles in organisations.

He has designed a big board that can be printed onto A0 size paper. (For non UK residents, that’s very large). The board can be found on his site http://kanban-thinking.net.

The process goes through a number of stages. These are:

  • System – scope

This is essentially a discovery phase. You find out as much as you can about the organisation, projects, value etc. This is very high level and takes the form of the PIXAR story (see Dan Pink’s book – To sell is human).
The outcome of this stage is to sell the transformation as a concept. (You can tell he is a consultant 🙂 )

Once this is done, we move to a set of steps where we imagine what would be the impossibly good / bad ending for each step. The steps are:

  • Flow –

Here we focus on process and reliability

  • Value – unbeatable product

Here we focus on validity and effectiveness

  • Potential

Here we focus on passionate people – flexibility and euphoria

For each step we spent two minutes coming up with a scenario we had faced in our day to day. I felt we did not have quite long enough to do this for it to be constructive. But the idea was good.

The next set of steps are grouped together under the heading Interventions

  • Study

More in depth inspection of the system / domain including empathy mapping, classes of service, values, features, cost of delay

  • Share

Sharing the finding in a single visual model such as a kanban board. This can include elements such as scope, time, cost, priority, value, risk, dependencies,assumptions, issues, cost of delay, constraints, capability,

Each item on the board is a token that has precise placement and inscription detailing the item

  • Stabilise

This is the getting the balance of constraints, setting WIP limits, defining how to set, creating a DOD, defining entry / exit policy

  • Sense

Determining measures and meetings to create insights, metrics, outcomes, behaviour, trade offs, LEAD TIMES, employee engagement – happiness. I have interpreted this as the inspect part of the cycle.

  • Search

A chance to perform small changes / experiments to adapt the process.


There was a lot of useful check points in the process which I think are worth remembering. I’m not sure the headings really do the phases justice. I can’t quite see the relationship. It was a good talk over all.

The pizzas were great too. I met a few people tonight and saw some familiar faces.




Simon Powers is the CEO and founder of Adventures with Agile. He has over 20 years’ experience helping very large organisations to thrive in the market and to be better places to work. His approach led him to create our transformative ICAgile Certified Enterprise Agile Coaching training courses, which run worldwide and online. Simon is one of the first ICE-EC experts in the world.