Notes from my talk @ Design Leadership & SAFe – 191120

Jens Wedin invited me to have a lightning talk at the meetup Design Leadership & SAFe. This is in short what I talked about and links to more reading that I was referring to.

I currently work as deputy head of LACE (Lean-Aglie Center) at Handelsbanken. In this blog I state my private thoughts.

The question stated in the invite ( was:
How might we as design leaders or agile coaches and SAFe experts collaborate to find new and improved opportunities to create value in organizations where SAFe is used as framework?

This is my take on that:
A key answer to that is in the question. Leadership and Collaborate. The question then becomes: how to lead and collaborate? One hypothesis is to start your learning and leadership with a 3 x 3 view.

But first we we have to acknowledge that we all are leaders. You always leads at least one person: yourself. In your leadership lay a big responsibility to always encourage and inspire to learning – for yourself and for others. Toyota calls it Lean-thinking manager-teachers. As leaders we understand Lean thinking and principles and, as part of our everyday work activities, we teach them to others. There is always one person learning most in a class room situation: the teacher. Become a teacher!

We also need to acknowledge the fact that we all are developers. The difference between us is the prefix. We could be system developers, design developers, business developers and so on.

To change we have to lead, teach and we have to develop. Together.

Trying to describe the 3 x3 view
on learning and leadership at the meetup

Shift focus from method to the real purpose and then back to method

Don Reinertsen says: “What should we change in our development process? Eliminate waste? Increase quality? Shorten lead time? The key to answering this question is to step back to a more basic question: Why do we want to change the process? The answer: to increase profits.

How do we increase profits? The answer to that should decide how your development process should look like. And it is most likely a lean-agile process. Increase profits is of course crucial. But here can we lean more to the overall goal in Lean: value. “The goal of Lean is to deliver the maximum customer value in the shortest sustainable lead time … ”
It is up to you to define your value. It could be customer satisfactions, sustainability, less churn, happy co-workers, or a mix.

Learning and leadership with a 3 x 3 view

As a leader in SAFe and in a lean-agile context I need to be able to have the perspective IT-Customer-Business, I have to understand and refer to the knowledge base of Design-Lean-Agile and I have to encourage teamwork based on Structure-Purpose & Vision-Psychological safety.  

This is a good start point. After a while you wil be ready to go beyond the frameworks and models and dig deeper, especially around the knowledge areas and the teamwork parts.


IT – Can we build it? Would it work?

Customer – Do customers and users want the solution?

Business – Will the solution creating more value than cost?

This perspective helps you both as an individual but also as a team, an ART and in the portfolio. Have we secured that we have those perspective when we entering a meeting or developing a product?


Design – explore the problem

Lean – build the right thing

Agile – build the thing right

Design is a way of working that enables us to act customer-centric and create successful services.

Lean is a way of thinking that aims to maximize customer benefit while minimizing waste in the system that produces customer benefit.  

Agile is about being adaptable and flexible in a changing world and together in cross-functional teams continuously delivering value with the customer in focus.

We need knowledge from all three areas and after a while we need to go deeper and discover what knowledge is behind design, lean and agile.

Team work

Structure – Scrum, Kanban, SAFe …

Purpose & vision – the why and the what

Psychological safety – a safe environment where all ideas are welcomed

If we leave one of these three out there will never be any real teamwork.

Lean-thinking manager-teachers

Management makes a system work. Leadership builds system or transforms old ones. To do that you need to learn and relearn all the time. And you have to teach and communicate.

Perspective, knowledge and team work will help you with that – regardless if you are in a SAFe context or not.

Do! And adjust. And think. But most important: do.

You will never be done so forget about done.  That is also important that everyone also understand – we will never be done.

Tell your story. Tell it every day, every week.

Hint: the story is not Lean-Agile or SAFe …

Good luck!

Read more

Lämna ett svar