Series (7 of 7): Building High-Performing ART — “Give your ART Downtime”

teambuildongGive your agile Teams and team of Agile teams some downtime…space. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy! The same is true for your ART. agile-teams.jpgLet them be creative and innovative — away from the current work — during this downtime. Remember, innovation is very important to any enterprise’s future.

In SAFe, this downtime is called the ‘Innovation and Planning (IP) Iteration. The last iteration before the next Program Increment (PI).

Here is another beauty of this IP Iteration — in addition to being a space for innovation: It is a built-in buffer (albeit small) between Program Increments (PI). It is an estimation guard band to prevent unfinished work from carrying over to the next PI. guardbad4This estimation guard band is similar to the radio frequency guard band — an unused part of the radio spectrum between radio bands, for the purpose of preventing interference. Another way of looking at this IP iteration is this: think of it as an extra fuel for your train (assume your train is fuel-based train)… that you’ll need to use — when you still have a few meters to cover to get to the next station — when your train runs out of fuel. Without that extra fuel, your train will be in full stop…as a result, it will be off schedule… and will be labeled as unpredictable…the delivery of its cargo (very valuable cargo, I surmise) will be delayed. Customers will start not trusting your train! LYNX_BLUE_LINE_03 (1) Read my earlier post about ART Predictability

Lean flow teaches us that operating at “100 percent utilization drives unpredictable results. Planning everyone to full capacity, does not allow people to flex when problems inevitably occur.

There you have it, have downtime for innovation, planning, learning, creative and productive playfulness, and to mitigate unpredictability and delays in value delivery.

play2This is also applicable at home: take those technologies  away from your kids — say, set a technology-free day per week —  and agree with them that you (yes, including you the parent) are all — as a family — going to use your brains, bodies, senses, everything non-technology in a creative and playful way. Let your children  — and you, parent — play… just like the good old days pre-technology (pre smart phones) era. All tech and no play makes your kid a dull kid. This applies to you and everyone else…including your ART.