With Heraclitus’ help we carve a continuously improving and learning organization using the force of change and flow.


With a little tongue-in-cheek we will use Heraclitus’ quotes of change and flow also known as Panta Rhei to explore the flow of improvements through an organization. For example the subtitle of the talk is derived from Heraclitus’ quote: ‘No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he’s not the same man’.

In Scrum the inspect and adapt cycle on process level is established through the teams retrospective at the end of each sprint. The team sets itself a goal, defines improvement tasks and feeds them back into the sprint. But how is an inspect and adapt cycle established at organizational level? How are goals defined and worked against for several feature teams or even the whole organization? Scaling frameworks such as LeSS do include and suggest methods and elements for organizational improvement, but how can they be connected to establish a continuous flow of improvements through the organization? Why and when do we need a continuous and structured organizational improvement flow? Which roles have the most influence in establishing the improvement flow?

In this talk a real world example is used to outline how continuous improvement at organizational level was established and executed. We will see how to get from an issue to an improvement idea to an experiment and finally to a new and better functioning organization. Methods such as Communities of Practices, Organizational level Retrospectives and others are introduced and connected with the Backlog and Scrum events. Hints are given, where to be careful and what are the weaknesses and strengths of the presented approach. Additionally it is highlighted what certain roles such as Managers or Scrum Masters can do to start, steady or block the improvement flow.

The session is outlined as follows:

Set the Stage

• Why and when do I need continuous and structured organizational improvement flow? When not?

• What is the Flow?

Data and Details of the elements of the Flow

• Organizational Improvement Workshop or Overall Retrospective

• Communities of Practices

• Scrum Events – Why are they important for the flow

Insights, Strengths and Weaknesses

• Which roles have influence on the improvement flow?

• What other influences exist?

• What actions start and steady the flow?

• What actions slow down or even stop the flow?


• Summary

• Q&A

Most of the presented content is based on an agile adoption the author is part of. Roles such as Scrum Masters or Leaders may have the most influence in starting improvement on organizational level hence, they are the main target audience. Nevertheless everyone is part of an organization and hence affected of an improvement initiative and is therefore very much welcome to contribute to a holistic learning experience for everyone.


Learning Objectives

Attendees will learn what elements can be used to establish a flow of improvements through the organization. They take away ideas how to establish continuous organizational improvement in their own system using the Scrum and scaling events for prioritisation and inspect and adapt. Additionally potential pitfalls, bottlenecks and showstoppers are highlighted.


Format: Talk (60 minutes)


Speaker Biography

Elisabeth Richter currently is internal Scrum Coach at CAMPUSonline, the software development group of Technical University Graz. One of her passions to think outside the box to create creative solutions as well as sound reasoning to help through change and adoption. Her first contact with agile methodology was in 2003 as a software developer. Since then she deepened her knowledge and experience with Scrum and other agile methodologies through both academic studies and hands-on experience as Scrum Master, Change Agent and Agile Coach.