Saturday, February 11, 2012

Leancamp Barcelona. Wow!

I've just returned from the Leancamp held in Barcelona and I needed to write some lines. When I registered for this event I wasn't sure what was that about, but the idea of Lean and that the guys from Agile Barcelona where eager to attend was enough for me. Moreover, I was convincing other friends to attend (and I succeeded on that, I have to say).

I thought I needed to prepare myself for the event and I decided to read The Lean Startup (the book that inspired the movement). What a great book full of ideas! Once read, I knew a little more what I was going to find, and finding among the speakers Angel Medinilla and Alex Barrera I was sure It was going to be amazing. And it has been so.
Opening session. Picture by @leancamp

Leancamp is an unconference, and it means something like an Open Space: there are a lot of parallel tracks and you can attend to the ones you like most. But the most important part is the Law Of Two Feet: if you feel you cannot bring anything to a session or the session cannot bring anything to you, you are responsible of using your two feet and go somewhere else.
Morning talks. Picture by @nickycast

With such a bunch of interesting people it has been very difficult to choose among the sessions but I'll try to share my experience.

Introducing the Lean Startup
The first session I attended was given by Rob Fitzpatrick introducing the Lean Startup ideas using a concrete start-up in London which links big companies with street artists. Low funding, invest on User Experience, use money when needed, question everything, build metrics on your own questions.
It's been an exciting talk, but 25 minutes has been too short for his message.

Human Side of Lean
Angel Medinilla knows how to handle time, even though his hangover. He has explained the history of NUMMI, a General Motors plant that was recovered when run by Toyota people. Then he went on to a Japanese poem about three warlords and a bird that didn't sing. The furious Nobunaga, the  persuader Hideyoshi and quiet Tokugawa.
"If a bird doesn't sing, kill it", said Nobunaga.
"If a bird doesn't sing, make it sing", said Hideyoshi.
"If a bird doesn't sing, wait for it to", said Tokugawa.
Angel says that lean is more like Tokugawa (and, by the way, Tokugawa won).
Afterwards Angel defined "corporate culture": the way we do things around here. And he said that for it to work people needs two things: a noble cause, a purpose and shared values.
Great Talk!

Bumble Bee-ing
The third session I have been a Bumble Bee in the sense of Open Space Technology: I've used my two feet and I've gone to different groups: User Experience, Aikido and starting a start-up. It's been interesting merging the concepts behind Aikido and Lean. I've been translating some Aikido concepts to Judo, my own background, and everything works the same way.
Aikido and Lean. Picture by @CarlosTheSailor
Fourth session has been  with a guy with a hat named Andreas Klinger, who is CWTFO of LOOKK. He's shared with us the lessons learned with metrics, measuring users accessing his site. He said to focus on Retention, because the good measure is User Happiness, and it's the best way to measure it. He explained a the concept of cohorts that's used in Lean Startup (a group of people based on some attribute) and in the end he went to AARRR: the sound of looking at metrics. No, but he explains it better with his slides on slideshare.
He didn't managed time, but the talk was very, very good.

Scrum + Kanban
Again with Angel Medinilla we started to talk about Kanban. First of all he played with us and we performed the game of writing names (good exercise to understand "one project at a time"). He went to the 5 principles of Lean:
1.Value for your customer  (anything else is Waste). If you don't want more of this, it is waste.
2. Stream
3. Pull
4. Flow
5. Kaizen

Then to the principles of Kanban:
1. Value Stream
2. Visualize Work
3. Limit WIP
4. Flow
5. Improve

This time I took profit of the talk because of my previous knowledge on the subject, but it was hard to fit all that stuff in 25 minutes (game included).

Visual Thinking
Esther Gons (@wilg) was running this talk that I was expecting so much, but it ended up just explaining Andreas Klinger LOOKK story. Interesting, but not that much. I'll read The Back of the Napkin, which is on my reading backlog anyway. 

Learning, Knowledge Management and Innovation
Pic by @CarlosTheSailor
Again with Angel Medinilla, but this time on a more practical session: tools and techniques for sharing and creating knowledge. And just Wikis don't work, he says. The most important thing, we know it, is the interaction between individuals.

Retrospectives. Talking about Kaizen (continuous improvement) and Haisen (continuous reflection), and the importance of having a plan after a retro.

Pairing. Not only pair programming, but anything. He suggested Pair PowerPointing. Share mistakes and learn from failure.

Lab time. Invest a fraction of the team time on labs, to learn and improve. Angel suggested his blog just for Lab suggestions (I'll try to find the proper link).

Brainstorming. And first of all, learn about how to do it.

And the audience suggested other interesting things.
Go analog!. And the link
Lightning talks. And Pecha Kucha presentations (20 seconds for 20 slides).

A lot of interesting stuff!

And That's all
This is the first of the three great Lean-Agile events going to be held in Barcelona. ALE and Scrum Gathering are coming to town on August and October. I'll be informing.

Other Links and Reviews

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Lean Startup

How Today's Enterpreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
De Eric Ries. 2011. Publicado por Crown Business. 336 páginas

Eric Ries define una startup como "una institución humana diseñada para crear un nuevo producto o servicio bajo condiciones de extrema incertidumbre", sin entrar en detalles respecto al tamaño o al sector. Entiende que hay emprendedores dentro de compañías ya establecidas (intrapreneurs), e incluso que puede haber en el sector público.

El Lean Startup es una aproximación para desarrollar startups exitosas, utilizando de forma más creativa el talento y el capital, inspirados por los principios del Lean Manufacturing.

No conviene perder demasiado tiempo en estudios de mercado, sino poner en marcha el producto lo más rápidamente posible (un MVP, Producto Mínimo Viable). Propone crear experimentos, que ya son el producto, de manera que puedas obtener información de su aceptación cuanto antes. El objetivo del experimento es aprender y validar el aprendizaje.

Una vez tienes tu proyecto en marcha evaluar si vas por el buen camino: perseverar o pivotar. Y pivotar no es abandonar, sino hacer un cambio aprovechando lo aprendido hasta el momento. Parece ser que la idea de pivotar se ha vuelto tan conocida que hasta en el New Yorker le dedicaron la viñeta.

El salto de fe, la hipótesis de valor y la hipótesis de crecimiento, el ciclo Construir-Medir-Aprender, las vanity metrics, los split-tests, los tipos de pivot, los mototres de crecimiento, la historia de los sobres,... Este libro contiene tantas perlas y está escrito de una forma tan brillantemente estructurada que lo convierte en una lectura muy recomendable.

Este mismo sábado, en La Salle deBarcelona, habrá un encuentro relacionado con Lean Startup, el Leancamp, con mucha gente interesante y muchas ganas de aprender. Nos vemos allí.