Dominica DeGrandis on Andy Patton's Antipatterns (Las Vegas 2020)

The playbook for digital agile cloud transformation (no prior experience necessary). The one best way, best practice program to digital nirvana. This week's guest is Dominica DeGrandis. Jonathan Smart, business agility practitioner, thought leader, and coach, reveals patterns and antipatterns to show how business leaders from every industry can help their organizations deliver better value sooner, safer, and happier through high levels of engagement, inclusion, and empowerment. Sooner Safer Happer: Antipatterns and Patterns for Business Agility For Leaders At All Levels, In All Roles


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Jon Smart

Author, Sooner Safer Happier


Dominica DeGrandis

Director, Digital Transformation, Tasktop



Welcome to anti-patterns. Anti-patterns your playbook for your dev ops, agile digital cloud transformation. No prior experience necessary. This is your one best way. Best practice program to digital Ivana. Today I am joined by Dominate my granddaughters Dominican Republic. Dominika the grandest Dominica. DeGrandis uh, Tell them what, what do you do?


Oh, good morning. I am a flow advisor at Tasktop. So essentially what that means is I ask a lot of questions and how organizations get just really curious about what prevents them from and their teams from getting their work done.


So as a flow advisor, so presumably presumably then you're cracking the whip, your, uh, you're telling people what to do and making sure they're working hard. Presumably presumably your Dominique at the dominator


Dominica. DeGrandis how you pronounce it. Uh, no, not at all. Quite the opposite actually. Um, I, uh, help teams make their work visible first off so that they can see everything that's on their plate and see what, where the blockers are. See what's preventing them from being able to deliver, uh, the requests that their leadership is asking them for.


So presumably, uh, everyone must say yes to everything when they work for you then, um, which, and I respect your position. I think we need more people like you to get them to do what we want them to do, because you know, saying no does make you look like an ass. Everyone avoids that, you know, the no person that you needed, a person who is that negative energy vortex and people like to surround themselves with yes, people,


You have a good point there. I mean, it's natural for humans to say yes to requests. You know, don't want to let the team down or the boss and people do continually take on more work than they have capacity to do. It feeds this desire to be wanted. You know, it's like an addiction, the dopamine and endorphins flow from the feeling of being needed, being desirable. But it's only temporary because when the time comes to deliver, we wonder why on earth did I commit myself to this? Right? There is a perception of failure when we say now, but you know, Andy, the need to please everybody all the time will eventually kill you. It's why people pleasers die their time, right? Because of that suppressed anger and emotions. Like if you don't know how to say no, when you need to, your body will say it for you in the form of disease, right? And that's why we need to limit whip more, no less sweat.




Make you an arse. And if you like, I can, you know, send one of these your way, put on your laptop.


It's survival of the fittest. Uh, you know, my opinion in it to start more initiatives, people need to be starting more initiatives else. They'd be fired by the person who is, it increases your probability of getting stuff done. You're not going to say no to funding. You've got once a year to say yes to funding, you've got to pitch for as much, much as you possibly more. And you have to grow your empire. You have to say yes to all that funding and get as many programs and projects running as possible. It starts with starting to be successful.


No it doesn't Andy, you know, no is actually a complete sentence. If you see the more work in progress, the more interruptions, the more context switching, the longer things take right. If time to market is important than the ability to deliver quickly is going to require some focused attention. And if requests have dependencies on specialists, our shared services teams, Dan, your request, probably isn't the only thing they're working on and team A's number one priority isn't team. B's number one priority. So a decision to do feature a is really a decision to delay feature B in fact say no temporarily to feature B is what allows you to deliver feature a in fact, there's this new book out, uh, something like, um, sooner, safer, happier, or something. There's this great quote in there. I want to read, I'm gonna read this to you over here. So every system of work has a natural capacity, a natural throughput determined by the bottleneck. So in other words, you can only go as fast as the slowest moving part of the workflow. And that's why it's so important to start finishing and stop starting. And that's what the WIP limit allows you to do, right? It's the new


W limit the limit. I think that's a good point. I think you need to force people to work harder to force through that bottleneck. Um, deadlines is a great way to drive behavior. I find lots of deadlines, measuring people by their ability to deliver on a date. Um, you know, I'm going to be done in three years time. Anyway, I'm going to be on and changing roles. That's my deadline. Um, say, do ratio, velocity, predictability. I think these are all great measures for holding people accountable to do what they say they're going to do. So presumably you use these metrics then in your arrest, uh, Dominique, the dominator type work


well, what you measure shows what you value. So it's worth being curious about the real desired outcomes, right? By looking at well, there's two standard questions that fall into this. So what category I'm going to add a third one in my own first question is, does it matter to my customer? And the second question is, does it help us make a decision? So for example, I forget what you just mentioned, but was it like the number of story points? Like does the number of story points doesn't matter to your customer? Uh, maybe, maybe not. I do the number of deploys per day or MTTR matter to our customer. And I maybe don't know. I mean, not all outages are created equal, uh, but, but maybe they can help you make a better decision. It really depends on the goal. I'm not saying these aren't valuable metrics for your organization. Just saying, be curious, like, don't assume one size fits all. Ask why it matters. I mean, what are you going to do with that information? And the third question that Dominica add-on question number three is what are your customers grumble about? When I asked that question, the CIO is they respond with things, take too long. I mean, time seems to matter to everyone. And that's why measuring flow time is one of our key. Okay. Ours.


Yeah. Features, features, features, features. That's what people care about. It's important that we're shipping features, um, and you know, feature counting. That's what counts the feature factory. I think there's a great analogy with, uh, digital factories. I think that's a great idea. It's no different to an assembly line. We need to be churning. Those features off the end of the assembly line workflow doesn't really matter as long as we've shipped enough features.


Hm well, but let's, let's take a look at the teams doing this work in the feature factory because teams who are responsible for maintenance of those features have a lot of pain around getting improvement requests, prioritized, where if we're just looking at short-term goals, you know, business goals don't often include revenue protection, just revenue generation. So debt items like cross training, maintenance, tech debt, they get neglected that results in unhappy people. Like if you've got accountability to main maintain system, but you don't have authority to prioritize those maintenance requests, it causes long-term problems. I mean, you got to change the oil in your car every so often before the engine seizes up. But, uh, to your point, you know, if you aren't going to be around long enough to mop up the mask, then, um, maybe it's not a decision you should take part on or in, you know, maybe, maybe, uh, to let those decisions be part of the long standing product teams who will be around and are going to be accountable for the mess down the future. After the consultants have left.


Sorry, sorry, Don. My Mister, he was saying there, but I've got the dinner on, uh, I'm trying to keep the children entertained and do this at the same time. I'm trying to keep all the plates spinning, but I'm sure it was very interesting. Anyway, the next question, time theft. So presumably time theft is when people are slacking and that basically stealing time from organizations by sitting around doing nothing. So I know you've written, written a book and you've written about, uh, time theft. So is this getting people to work harder and monitoring them, monitoring the amount of time there were keyboards and the key strokes


Again? No, not at all. Uh, this is about the load on the teams, right? Because as we all know, the more load teams have the longer things take, right? If your calendar is scheduled with back-to-back meetings all day long, if you've got the all day cram calendar, this, you know, you don't even have time to go to the bathroom. Right. And this leads to exhaustion leads to burnout, leads to loss of confidence, right? And, and we want actions to be driven by self esteem rather than by lack of confidence or insecurities. Right? So I'm assuming you still hear me. I mean, if you look at time thief neglected work and individually in invisible dependencies and conflicting priorities, these, these troll or teams, especially now that everybody's, you know, assuming that there there's this assumption that, oh, you're working from home. So now we can book you 24 7 when in reality, we need to allow ourselves and our teams pack the time to breathe so that these time thieves can keep them at a distance. There's this quote by Warren buffet. I just finished with this last point. There's this quote. He says the difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say almost no to everything. Right.


I missed, I missed that dog. Um, I just probably just have to go to the bathroom. You mentioned not having time to go to the toilet. I don't have time to go to the toilet. So, uh, so I just have to go just then. So, um, I need to go and spring a meeting on my team, um, just to make sure that they're all busy and they're not slacking off. Um, so


Sure you tell them to put some, do not disturb hours on their calendar.


Um, uh, um, and then I'll make sure that I crash. Those do not disturb hours. So that wraps up another Andy patents. Anti-patterns your playbook and your devil outside your digital cloud. Yes. Transformation, no prior experience necessary the one best way, best practice program to digital Nevada tune in next time for someone who's not quite as lazy as Dominique.


Hi there, John smart here, Andy Patton does half the building. If you haven't caught on Andy's my alter ego and advocate for anti-patterns that act as a headwind to delivering better value, sooner, safer, happier. Maybe you can identify with what Andy believes the best practices. Hopefully you're experiencing what our guests are advocating. And to be clear, my role as anti-pattern in this series is a hundred percent parody. All of the guests have signed up for the intentionally uncomfortable banter and insults learn more about these anti-patterns and patterns for better ways of working, leading to better outcomes in my book, sooner, safer, happier, available in all formats. I also encourage you to attend the virtual DevOps enterprise summit, Las Vegas, taking place October the 13th to the 15th, the DevOps enterprise summit events and community are near and dear to my heart. I truly believe it's one of the best places to learn from the actual experiences of our peers and to make new and lasting connections.