Positive Incline Mike Burrows (@asplake) moving on up, positively

May 17, 2012

LSSC12 Debrief

Filed under: Kanban,lean,Portfolio — Tags: , , , , , — Mike @ 12:32 pm

Two days of tutorials start today and I’m written this in a bit of a rush, but here’s my run-down of what has been an superb LSSC12 conference in Boston. Certainly the best conference I’ve been to (not counting last year’s unconference – can’t wait for Mayrhofen). Nice variety of formats to keep us interested, superb keynotes, varied talks, fantastic hallway/mealtime conversations.

My one regret was not making the Lean Camp openspace on Sunday which by all accounts was very intense. Just too much to fit in.

Monday’s daytime highlights:

  • Steven Spear’s keynote got me thinking a lot more carefully about what experimentation means. This one will stick.
  • Jeff Anderson’s talk was impressive, also a little controversial. I’ve been following his Lean Startup-inspired approach to change management for a while and have encouraged a couple of other people doing similar things to compare notes with him too. The controversy was around validation, in particular its granularity (person-level) and transparency (not a lot). My lasting impression though was of his ambition. Wow.
  • Michael Kennedy’s talk was very interesting. I struggled to hear him from the back of the hall in Antwerp but I’m so glad I gave him a second try here in Boston. I’m not quite as excited by the “tradeoff curves” specifically as some appear to be, but there’s definitely something important there, and I touched on it in my first talk on Tuesday (blog & slides to follow).

For Monday evening I organised an informal session on portfolio-level stuff (sic) to help define the space a bit better and to decide how (if at all) we want to carry the conversation forward. 23 people showed up at 20:45 in the evening – another wow. As expected, we found that the problem space is huge. As hoped, we agreed to use a mail group, and someone (I forget who, sorry) had the very smart idea of a hashtag (#ppm) on posts to kanbandev.

Tuesday was a big day. My scheduled speaking slot on Tuesday’s Risk track got extended as a result of the following speaker dropping out, creating an opportunity I couldn’t refuse to encourage people to attack portfolio-level problems with the Kanban method. My scheduled talk “Who Moved My Risk?” went fine, but the question-filled portfolio session was more than I could have hoped for. Thanks everyone! I’ll share slides and blog on both talks separately.

That’s enough about me. Other Tuesday highlights:

  • Greg Howell’s keynote on Lean in the construction industry. There’s a pattern emerging here, excellent keynotes from people outside our industry that help us to understand better what’s happening inside our own.
  • The Ignite talks were great, the format definitely works, more of these please.
  • The Brickell Key Awards banquet. Congratulations to Arne Roock and Jim Benson, richly deserved.

With my talks done, I could relax a bit on Wednesday. More great talks, including:

  • Don Reinertsen was on good form (is he ever not?).
  • Larry Maccherone and Karl Scotland on advanced metrics. Larry in particular is doing some amazing work in this area (I got a demo over breakfast). Karl prompts me to write a short followup post on this topic too.

Bring on the 2013 conference in Chicago!

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