Video: Dean talks aha moments with Gene Kim, Mik Kersten, and Don Reinertsen

Video: Dean talks aha moments with Gene Kim, Mik Kersten, and Don Reinertsen

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Hi Folks,

At the recent Global SAFe Summit, I had a chance to moderate a panel with three of my heroes: Mik Kersten, Gene Kim, and Don Reinertsen. These best-selling authors are exceptionally astute thinkers who have influenced how we approach IT operations, digital disruption, innovation, and product development. I’ve read nearly everything they’ve written and much of SAFe is built upon the principles and practices that these folks have brought to the industry.

The hour-long panel was a fast-moving exchange of ideas, keen observations, and experiences, all highly relevant to today’s greatest business and development challenges. Scroll down to view the video.

Here’s just a sampling of what was discussed:

  • The journey to business agility, roadblocks, and the path forward
  • Queuing theory, flow efficiency, and the lack of understanding around WIP
  • The thrashing caused by context switching 
  • The economic value that can be created by the 18 million developers who aren’t in the FANGs (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google)
  • The ascension of transformation rebels
  • A friendly debate around Deming’s work as we apply it to product development; what still holds true and what might not
  • How it’s important to not only do things that have high probability of success
  • The ‘miracle’ of Toyota’s system design and the continual process improvement 
  • Lack of confidence in high-risk, high-gain initiatives compared to historical attitudes toward confidence and high risk
  • One of Gene’s favorite graphs that show what happens to wait times as you ramp up utilization
  • Recovering mistakes made in rapid deploys 
  • Facebook’s approach to reducing risk by creating ‘concentric rings of exposure’
  • Etsy’s fast flow of features going into production 
  • How optimizing costs can increase costs and have no effect on customer value
  • How many senior leaders miss the importance of the economics of flow 
  • The contrasting views of portfolio management between product development and finance
  • The next big focus: product value streams and elevating them to the business and the boardroom
  • The book Gene Kim wanted to throw across the airplane and why

I walked away from this with a head full of insights that I’ll be chewing on for some time to come. I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did.

Stay SAFe,

Author Info

Dean Leffingwell

Recognized as the one of the world’s foremost authorities on Lean-Agile best practices, Dean Leffingwell is an author, entrepreneur, and software development methodologist.

comment (2)

  1. Erik Kaare Andersen

    30 Jan 2021 - 3:02 am

    I should add to Don’s comments about financial portfolio management: Capital markets do not only combine assets with low risk with assets with high risk. They combine assets with high risks – but with imperfect correlations, i.e., the total risk of the portfolio is smaller than the sum of the risks.

  2. Erik Kaare Andersen

    30 Jan 2021 - 2:58 am

    I agree very much with Don in his critic of some of Deming’s ideas. Deming’s work is applicable to operations management, but not necessarily to software/product development. I would add that this is true for much of queueing theory.

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