#LSSC11 – Lean Software & Systems Conference 2011

This years Lean Software and Systems Conference was held at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach, CA between the 3rd to the 6th of May. This was an interesting conference and quite different from other international conferences I have attended in the past like TechEd and MEDC. This conference vas much smaller and much more intimate. I think we where something like 280 attendees. The breath of topics was large as you can see on this tracks listing:

  • CMMI and Multi-Modal Processes
  • Kanban
  • Lean Management
  • Lean Product Development
  • Lean/Kanban at Large Scale
  • Media and Games
  • Risk
  • Systems Design
  • Systems Engineering
  • Visualization

My focus was to attend as much as I could of the Visualization,  Lean Product Development and CMMI and Multi-Modal Processes tracks. I was also scheduled to do a demonstration of Visual WIP in the tools showcase. Due to pore planning and advertisement the tools showcase was moved so I missed out on some very interesting sessions but I eventually got the opportunity to show Visual WIP during two demo sessions.

Keynotes

Most of the keynotes was outstanding. I especially enjoyed Chet Richards

Fundamental Secrets of the Universe where he talked about John Boyd and the OODA loop.

Sessions

I think the session I enjoyed most was “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wall – Visual Management and Gemba Walks” (link to blog with slides) by Inbar Oren. Inbar talked about what management want to see and the concept of Gemba Walks. The Gemba walks concept is nothing new to me but the presentation really reminded me why and how it can be done in an Agile/Kanban setting. Very well done Inban. If you are interested in learning about Gemba walks Inban recommended the book Gemba Walks by James P. Womack.

As I have a very small stake in the game of Kanban tools I was especially interested in what Russell Healy had to say about The Future of Kanban Tooling. Russell’s message was that the next generation tools had to be more flexible and more like free design surfaces where the processes could be visualized and at the same time collecting the appropriate data with as little effort as possible. He also pointed out the importance of multiple context dependent views of the same data. He showed these ideas by showing a prototype of his product under development. I think many of the concepts and ideas presented are already in my tool Visual WIP so I was very pleased.

In the the tools showcase Rodrigo Yoshima showed a demo of the upcoming tool FlowKaizen where he uses QRCode to capture where work is on the board by uploading pictures to FlowKaizen. This looks to be an interesting tool. I just hope he will make it possible to export the captured data to other tools.

Other extra interesting sessions I attended where:

I also attended these sessions:

Panels

I also attended two panels that I didn’t get anything useful out of:

The hallways

I have never understood when people has said that the best with this and that conference was the hallways. Now I understand. I had some very interesting and rewarding discussions in the hallways, at lunch, at dinner and at the informal evening events during the week. Thank you all for new and deepened insights and new friends ships.

Thank you Carol Dekkers for the great trip to the brewery!

Lean Coffee

When there is a Lean Coffee nearby I will attend if I can. I attended two great Lean Coffee sessions and just love the format.

Overall

I think the execution of the actual conference could have been done a little bit better. The scheduling mishaps with the tools showcase and the lack of focus on the open space could have been avoided.

It is great with lots of speakers with different backgrounds but some of the speakers where very inexperienced as speakers and could have done much better with some speaker coaching.

The venue was great except that the open space and the tools showcase was so far away form the rest of the action.

I think it was a good conference bordering to great. Will absolutely try to make it next year.

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Tutorial day at LSSC11–Implementing Continuous Flow

Today, Tuesday the 3rd of May 2011, was tutorial day at Lean Software and Systems Conference 2011. I had decided to attend the tutorial Implement Continuous Flow by Joshua Kerievsky and John Goodsen.

I was really looking forward to this tutorial and had high hopes for it. But I’m sorry to say that it did not live up to my expectations. It was way to focused on software practices for me. I was expecting much more on how to make an organization transition to a continuous flow approach. In hind sight this was my mistake as I didn’t look at the speakers backgrounds.

I actually left the tutorial right after lunch as I found out that the tools show case track had been moved to Wednesday and I needed some more preparations. I’m could have missed all the interesting stuff in the afternoon but it sounded like there was more software practices on the agenda.

But all was not lost. I had a great time at the welcome reception meeting lots of people I have followed on Twitter for a long time and others that I just met. Great conversations with lots of interesting people.

Yesterday, on the Monday afternoon, just after I arrived to Long Beach I meet up with a big crowed of speakers and other attendees for some beer and some great and relaxed conversations.

Here is a sneak peek at a screenshot from my presentation tomorrow on Visual WIP.

Swim lanes