Conference Programme
Conference Programme

Days 2 and 3 follow a similar format. Presentations from world renowned Lean luminaries will be interspersed with chaired debate and breakout opportunities.

The conference programme is available to download as a pdf. Conference Programme

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Day 2 - Monday 28th September 2009


Registration and coffee


Welcome and Introduction by David Anderson


Keynote speech - Mary Poppendieck - The Tyranny of "The Plan"

Perhaps one of the biggest fallacies in organizing work is the idea that schedules or "plans" lead to predictable performance. Just break work down into tasks, schedule the tasks, and viola! you know when the work will be done. Of course, people must dedicate themselves to following the plan exactly - any deviation will throw everything out of whack.

The fact is, handing down a deterministic schedule to a process with any amount of variability is in exercise in futility that leads to unpredictable, sub-optimal performance. And this is well known. Predictability in the face of variability comes from establishing a reliable workflow and coupling it with pull scheduling. It comes from creating an adaptive, learning system, not a planned system.

A flow system requires that we focus on reliable handoffs and system throughput, not on utilization. It requires creative people who vigilantly address problems and improve the workflow. It requires a leadership team that understands "Results are Not the Point" - the real point is to create a system and grow people who are capable of delivering excellent results over the long term.


Q&A with Mary facilitated by Alan Shalloway




Keynote speech - Alan Shalloway - Creating a Model to Understand Product (and Software) Development

Lean is attributed to having been created by Toyota. Building on Deming's theory of systems and people, Toyota added the concepts of Just-In-Time and Autonomation along with the profound insight that inventory was waste, not an asset. Toyota further extended Lean with a culture of continuous process improvement. While many organizations are attempting to emulate Toyota's success with Lean, it is a difficult path to take - unfortunately, most organizations are not up to it. But that does not mean they can't take advantage of what Toyota has accomplished.

In this talk, Alan Shalloway presents two ways to look at Lean. The first is the entire package - Lean as a thought process, a culture, a way for an organization to be. The second is just the thought process - that is, how to use Lean to solve problems. Alan presents the case that Lean-Thinking can be used to solve many problems that face all organizations. Lean-Thinking does not require an organization to become Lean, but gives the people involved more tools to become more effective.

How fundamental Lean concepts such as fast-flexible-flow, utilization theory, minimizing work in process, and focusing on time issues more than productivity issues work together is presented. This enables a model to be created that is useful for applying Lean-Thinking at an Enterprise or Team level. An understanding of this model directly helps practitioners of Kanban and provides insights to other not-explicitly Lean Agile methods, such as Scrum.


Q& A with Alan facilitated by Jeff Patton




Keynote speech - Jeff Patton - Lean Product Discovery

Think of a product you love, one you'd eagerly recommend to a friend. What makes the product valuable to you? While I'm not a mind reader, I'm reasonably confident you weren't thinking: "lack of bugs" or "how quickly it got to market."

We evaluate the quality of a product subjectively based on how well it meets our goals, and how happy it makes us doing it. It's that desire for a product that creates market demand, the kind of "pull" we really want in our system. The most difficult part of software development isn't delivery, but the discovery of products and product features that are truly valuable to the people that'll use them.

In this talk I explore applying Lean thinking to the often process resistant job of product discovery. I'll talk about how we place what seem like unpredictable creative activities into a visible and smooth flow. I'll explore counter-intuitive strategies such as building multiple solutions, partial solutions, and un-shipable solutions - all of which look like waste in production but reduce cycle time and increase quality in discovery. I'll discuss overlooked lean concepts that encourage visiting and observing customers to learn for yourself how they use your products. And finally, I'll expose all the clever ways we avoid a healthy product discovery process by over-producing and ignoring the subjective quality we know our customers value.


Q& A with Jeff facilitated by John Seddon




Keynote speech - Professor John Seddon - Re-thinking Lean Service

Lean arrived in service organisations at a time when industrialisation (call centres and back-offices managed as production systems) was the rage. Taking some misguided ideas from manufacturing, lean interventions shared many false assumptions with the status quo. In short, 'lean' in service took the wrong path.

Taiichi Ohno discovered some counter-intuitive truths as he developed the Toyota System. Similar counter-intuitive truths wait to be discovered by leaders of service organisations. When they are understood and applied, service organisations' performance is transformed to levels that, to the current mind-set, would be considered unachievable.


Q&A with John facilitated by Mary Poppendieck





Four separate sessions by Monday's keynote speakers discussing issues raised by delegates during the day.

Business case study (starting 16:00)

Phil Badley will outline the Stockport Council's approach to transformation and the impact that a systems thinking approach is having upon business improvement and efficiency using practical examples from the journey so far.


Masterclass feedback


Day 2 Summary by David Anderson



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Conference organisers IndigoBlue

Specialising in Agile and Lean project management IndigoBlue enables organisations to improve their project management processes to incrementally deliver high quality solutions. Reducing risk and maximising return on investment.