Tame your Work Flow
This book is 99% complete
Last updated on 2019-08-10
About the Book
This book describes advanced applications of the TameFlow Approach - a pragmatic systems-thinking approach for creating breakthrough performance-innovation in knowledge-intensive digital-businesses. You will learn how to apply the Theory of Constraints to knowledge-work, and in particular to handle coordination, synchronization and prioritization in "PEST" environments, where you have multiple Projects or Products; multiple Events or deadlines; multiple Stakeholders; and multiple Teams.
Focus is on producing business outcomes and customer value with tangible bottom line results. The TameFlow Approach provides business agility to change direction at speed and at scale by dramatically improving organizational performance beyond that of mainstream Agile or "agile-like" methods and frameworks (Kanban, Scrum, SAFe, LeSS, Nexus, Scrum@Scale, Enterprise Scrum, etc.), and providing new means to tame the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) of modern knowledge-work.
CEO of Elyakim Management Systems, author of “Throughput Economics, Making Good Management Decisions.”
TameFlow offers a combined approach of the Theory of Constraints (TOC) and the Kanban Method, and it challenges the mental models of the reader along the way. When this is directed at the constraint for the growth of the entire organization I rationally conclude that reading the book is a very beneficial start to deal with the source of the pain.
Daniel S. Vacanti
CEO AcionableAgile, author of “Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability, An Introduction”
Flow is unintuitive; much of what is talked about in the Lean-Agile circles concerning flow is simply wrong. These reasons are why this book is such a critical addition to the Kanban literature.
Director, Thought Leadership for Agile at Scale Programs, the Project Management Institute
Perhaps the best way to describe “Tame your Work Flow” is that I now know I did not understand Dr Eliyahu Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints prior to reading it. Yes, I had read “The Goal” 20+ years ago. But even with reading follow up articles I missed the amazing power of the Theory of Constraints.
Author of “Scrumban: Essays on Kanban Systems for Lean Software Development,” inventor of Scrumban, Personal Kanban.
I applaud the approach of grounding everything thoroughly in the underlying theory. This book has the potential to bootstrap a correct method.
Transformation Lead for Global Equity Derivatives at UBS, Co-author of “Commitment: Novel about Managing Project Risk”
Buy this book, you will get your investment back from the first chapter alone! The rest is a bonus.
CEO at ProChain Solutions, Inc.; former Director of Software Development, The Goldratt Institute; author.
This book contains information every manager needs to understand.
Owner, Focus and Leverage Consulting; Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt; TOC Jonah; author.
This is one of the best books I have ever had the privilege of reading and I mean that! Just when I thought that one chapter was the best in the book, the next chapter took its place. I will be re-reading this book again and again and will advise everyone that I know to purchase this gem.
Lean/Agile Transformation Agent and Coach at Crisp
An impressive effort! Steve and Daniel rigorously apply the Theory of Constraints to the problem of Flow Efficiency for knowledge work in a VUCA context. In search for the elusive constraint, they discover and explain in details new powerful patterns, like Full-Kitting or MOVES, that can profoundly improve any existing Kanban systems. Moreover, what makes this book unique is that they don’t stop at improving delivery systems, they also introduce Throughput Accounting.
Agile Transformation Coach and former Chief Agile Evangelist at Boeing; author.
If you have ever wondered why Agile transformations result in lackluster outcomes, this is the book for you. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this book should be REQUIRED READING FOR ALL AGILE COACHES! Even though I already knew Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints, I don’t practice its tenets every day and don’t have its principles internalized as I should. This book provides one of the clearest presentations of the Theory of Constraints.
CIO at UNICEF and former CIO at Zoetis and former CIO at Pfizer for several Global Business Units
This book provides a different look at workflow management. After having lived through countless - as well as fruitless – Continuous Improvement transformations as a CIO, I can only recommend to all C-level executives to take a few hours to read this fantastic book and embrace the challenges that lie ahead with optimism.
Consultant and writer.
If you’re trying to create an agile culture, do yourself a favor and read “Tame your Work Flow.” From the explicit mental models to understanding how flow works in an organization, to the whole issue of accounting and money, this book helps you understand what you might - and might not - do to create your business agility culture.
Disciplined Agile Fellow and Organizational Agility Advisor
This book will leave Agilists of all stripes - as well as anyone with an interest in knowledge-work - with a sense that here at last is a higher order of thinking, one that goes beyond the usual how-many-angels-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin type of casuistry and semantic diffusion to which agile seems to have mostly fallen prey. Read it to challenge yourself and perhaps take away some applicable ideas - there are many here.
Clarke “the bottleneck guy” Ching
Clarke “the bottleneck guy” Ching Author of Amazon best seller “The Bottleneck Rules” and “Rolling Rocks Downhill.”
Eli Goldratt would have been delighted with this book. Steve and Daniel have elegantly extended his work into the world of knowledge-work. It’s a must read.
Scrum Master at Kneat Solutions
“Tame your Work Flow” represents the first and only holistic attempt to gear knowledge-work organizations to high performance.
Principal Consultant at Gofore, keynote speaker, writer, thinker.
I think this book is what we really need after Agile, TOC and Kanban to improve the effectiveness of knowledge-work in our organisations.
Etienne Du Plooy
Theory of Constraints Jonah, Author of “Throughput Accounting Techniques, Maximize the profit mix of your company.”
The TameFlow Approach is focused and directly impacts where improvement needed. My biggest takeaway from this book is how to stay focused in PEST environments with TameFlow’s Throughput Accounting measurements.
Project Manager, Scrum Master, Agile Coach, DevOps Expert at XERIDIA
This book - Tame your Work Flow - is one of those books that have the characteristics of what I consider as the original Agile Revolution: Question preconceived ideas, break with old paradigms, represents new challenges and mental models… in short, it is a true revolution. It has that spark!
Independent agility coach, trainer and strategist.
TameFlow is Kanban for grown-ups, for teams, for teams of teams, for organizations. It’s not just about optimizing flow; it’s about optimizing throughput in the pursuit of positive impact. “Tame your Work Flow” has got to be a top 10 read for any self-respecting 20’s knowledge-worker.
Kanban Coaching Professional, Enterprise Lean Kanban and Scaled Agile Consultant.
Steve and Daniel have written a great book about knowledge-work management here, packed with practical information drawn from the Theory of Constraints that seems especially useful to Kanban users. Like Reinertsen’s “Flow,” this book is densely packed without much padding. Highlights include the chapters on Throughput Accounting and the actionable patterns in the back of the book.
“Dr. Lisa” Lang
resident Science of Business, TOCICO Certified Expert, TOCICO Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, TOCICO Board of Directors, Author.
In “Tame your Work Flow” Steve and Daniel explain some of the traps of Cost Accounting and some of the benefits of the alternative, better solution – Throughput Accounting. This basic understanding will serve project managers well and “Tame your Work Flow” should be on every project managers reading list.
Author of “Kanban in Action”
This book is packed with experience, tested practices and ways of applying the principles for not only Agile, Lean and Kanban but maybe foremost, the Theory of Constraints. It is very nice to see this applied in a real-world setting and see how much great arguments and solid advice that can be deduced from the (relatively) simple principles and practices. Many good tools and visualizations are being shown and explained throughout the book.
Managing Partner JS Project, PhD Organization and Management, Management 3.0, Kanban/Agile, OKR, PM consultant & trainer.
This book strives to combine Kanban and the Theory of Constraints in one seamless approach. Can it be done? Yes! Steve and Daniel have done it. They focus on the best of these two worlds and link them together in a very practical way, especially for multi-project environments. The result? A fascinating book, clearly written, which you read almost as Raymond Chandler’s hard-boiled detective novel.
Software Engineering Manager, Enterprise Agile Coach, Tech. Program Manager, SAFe SPC / Scrum CSM / Kanban Trainer.
“Tame your Work Flow” is an unusual book, it manages to push the borders of Kanban towards the world of business-wide improvements, inspired by Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints. Steve Tendon and Daniel Doiron deliver an enjoyable, innovative approach to improve any business area, or even whole companies. Unlike other pre-packaged approaches, theirs is a goal driven method, that is sure to improve any company. It’s an enjoyable, original, and enlightening book. A must read!
Founder and Managing Director Ludu Consulting Partners, Enterprise agility facilitator, mentor and coach, Fellow, Government Transformation Institute.
I’ve been looking for principles and concepts to further evolve my clients’ agility and throughput of value, without frameworks. “Tame your Work Flow” provides great insight and ideas for the next level(s). I’ll be using the material in this book for several years to come, as I imagine many others will. Real thought leadership is rare - thanks to Steve and Daniel for providing it.
Senior Business Analyst, Project Manager, Scrum Master, TameFlow CKP and LSSGB.
The book “Tame your Work Flow” is exactly that. The answer to your questions. It is the result of experience, professional maturity and the understanding of common problems encountered and how to mitigate them and innovate in a direction never explored before. The Theory of Constraints, Throughput Accounting, the Wait Time versus the Touch Time, the Drum Buffer Rope and many more approaches will take you to another level, a higher level, a level you have never reached before.
Founder & Principal Consultant, Intentionally Adaptive - Seasoned Product Leader who enjoys growing lean-agile organizations.
Honestly, this book surprised me. Why? Because I’ve been reading books about and consulting on Flow, Lean, Systems, Kanban, etc. for over 10 years so I didn’t expect to learn much. But how Steve and Daniel blend these concepts and present the interactions between them gave me food for thought on multiple occasions. That being said, it’s also a great read for someone just beginning their exploration into the ocean of these ideas. There’s truly something for everyone here.
CEO of Intelygence GmbH
Having been involved in Organizational Change Management and Agile Transitions for a long time, it’s utterly refreshing to see such a profound source of inspiration. The authors have connected critical bits and pieces with formerly missing links to go far beyond where typical “Agile Approaches” would take us. This book provides a clear way to break past the flawed assumptions and mental barriers inherent to many of today’s “Agile” framework implementations.
Agile Coach, founder of faceofscrum.org
The book has thrown open the doors of my imagination on the possible applications of the Theory of Constraints through the TameFlow Approach.
Senior Scrum Master/Coach (CSP), Scrum Management Office, Health Learning, Research & Practice, Wolters Kluwer.
I am loving this book. It is pretty big. But I have to admit, it is great and each and every page is highlight worthy.
Founder and CEO of Realization Technologis, TOCICO Lifetime Achievement Award winner.
This is a serious book, for organizations and managers serious about improving their software delivery or DevOps processes. Not an easy read, but so what!
Savio Nevile Spiteri
What really strikes me in TameFlow is how through the use of shared “Mental Models”, true organisational alignment is achieved - what the authors call “Unity of Purpose” - and organisations are able to learn how to focus on what really matters and achieve meaningful and lasting improvements through systematic and methodical approaches. Make no mistake - this is not an easy read, but one well worth your attention if you really intend to succeed in any change initiative you are about to embark on.
Lead Agile Coach at Idealo Internet GmbH
The book shows easily and clearly that constraints management can and should be applied to knowledge-work and how to pursue it step by step. The authors challenge well-established mental models on how organizations may be ‘managed’ and offers alternatives approaches that enable higher performance and customer satisfaction without strain or stress. This is not mainstream management literature, it’s new thinking for a complex world.
Enterprise Strategy & Transformation Consultant / Executive Advisory Services / Lean Agile Coach & Trainer, CTT, SAFe-SPC, CSP, CSM, PMP, BEng
Along comes TameFlow - an evidence-based, light-touch, laser-precision approach able to both diagnose and cure organizational illnesses. This light-weight sniper approach to finding constraints and eradicating them can be applied at every level of the organization, and can result in a win literally within hours of targeted application. The beauty is that these tools are also timeless, and will therefore retain their razor-sharp edge indefinitely.
President Tom Cagley & Associates; author; editor of the Software Process and Measurement Cast (SPaM Cast).
The only higher praise I have for a book than “it is useful” is “it is very useful.” Steve Tendon and Daniel Doiron provide the readers with an actionable path to improving flow. “Tame your Work Flow” is a book that is on my must own, must read and must carry when helping clients improve value delivery.
Managing Partner at Oikosofy, #NoEstimates author, Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast host.
This book goes into the nitty gritty of what Flow is and why it provides (when improved) massive Business Value! Simple techniques and practices like postponing commitment and limiting work in progress become obviously good ideas when you read this book! As a bonus you get loads of stories about how certain patterns contribute to improved flow! A must-read!
Enterprise flow consultant; Agile coach; credentialed in Kanban Method, XSCALE, Okaloa FlowLab, AgendaShift and the Scaled Agile Framework.
With “Tame Your Work Flow”, Tendon and Doiron raise the bar on Agile - the ability to change direction at speed. The Tameflow Approach brings accelerated and dramatic enterprise business improvements. It is not yet broadly used in the industry, but it deserves to be for the sake of making business more humane and the Agile market more sane!
President, Focused Objective LLC
Theory of Constraints can be boring. “Tame your Work Flow” by Steve and Daniel makes TOC practical and easy to understand - and (almost) fun. Filled with actual techniques to observe and improve the economics of delivery, this book is essential to making the right decisions about flow and improvement.
Founder of BlueDolphin
As a co-author of the first book of the TameFlow-series, I really had to have a close look at what Steve and Daniel were doing here! This is not a book – this is a firework of breakthrough ideas! I tried counting them, and found on average two worthy ideas per page. For every page of the whole one book. Amazing! So, for all managers in the world, this is a must read!
About this Book
- Free Bonuses!
- What is this book about?
- Is this book for you?
- What you need to know before reading this book
- Scope of applicability the TameFlow Approach
- Relevance of this book
- How this book is organized
- Typographical Conventions
- Introduction by Steve
- Introduction by Daniel
- The Story of Herbie
- Herbie and Your Work Flow
- The Five Focusing Steps
- The Secret of all Steps
- PART 1 - Limit Work In Process And Improve Flow Efficiency
Chapter 1 - The Power of Explicit Mental Models
- What is this TameFlow, anyway?
- What is Flow and Throughput?
- Decision Making through Explicit Mental Models
- A Mental Model to Explain the Business Value of Flow
- The Desire to Increase Performance
- Increasing Performance through Effort bears Many Downsides
- The Rate of Demand is Important Too
- The Difference Between Demand and Delivery is Even More Important
- Why Companies are Always Overburdened
- The Hideous Effects of Multitasking
- The Value of Matching Delivery to Demand
- Thinking about the Demand Line instead of the Delivery Line
- The Quest for Stability and Predictability
- Unintended Consequences of Good Intentions
Chapter 2 - Postpone Commitment and Limit Work in Process
- Limiting Work in Process
- Postpone Commitment - But We Cannot Wait!
Chapter 3 - The Business Value of Flow Efficiency
- Touch Time and Wait Time
- Work Faster or Deliver Earlier?
- Delivering Earlier Will Increase Throughput
- Is it Worth it? The Impact of Flow Efficiency and Little’s Law
- Economic Impact
- Flow Efficiency, Little’s Law and the Theory of Constraints
- Beware of Sprints - Another Flawed Mental Model
- PART 2 - Thinking About Herbie - The Constraint
Chapter 4 - Where to Focus Improvement Efforts
- On Bottlenecks and Constraints
- Where to Improve, Where to Invest
- PART 3 - The Flow Of Cash
Chapter 5 - Accounting F(r)iction
- Kanban Models and Culture
- Accounting F(r)iction
- Smart Money at the Constraint
- Unanimity or Consensus Based Decision Making?
- Throughput Accounting Basics
- Case Study - David’s One Year Project at TRUSTNEWS
- Cost Control and Flow Accounting at TRUSTNEWS
- Steve is Back!
- Absence of Constraint Management
- Expertise Mix between in house and consultants
- The Throughput Accounting Report
- Show me the Money !
- The Financial Throughput Report
- The “GOAL” Line
- PART 4 - Taming Multiple Projects, Events, Stakeholders and Teams (PEST)
Chapter 6 - Constraints in the Work Flow and in the Work Process
- VUCA and PEST
- Constraint in the Work Flow and Constraint in the Work Process
- The “Painting Gadgets” Example
- Shape and Form of Demand
- Relation to Special Cause Variation and Common Cause Variation
Chapter 7 - Understanding PEST Environments
- Overview of the TameFlow Simulation
- Simulating a PEST Environment: Initial Setup
- The Work Flow and Work Process for a Single Project and Four Teams
- Round 1 - The Warm Up
- Round 2 - First Estimation
- Round 3 - Two Projects and Conflicts of Interests Immediately Emerge
- Round 4 - Ten Projects and Three Product Owners
Chapter 8 - Finding the Constraint in PEST Environments
- Impact of the Shape and Form of Demand
- Expose all (Virtual) Queues of Work Load without WIP Limit Distortions
- Focus on the Constraint in the Work Flow First, then on the Constraint in the Work Process
Chapter 9 - Drum-Buffer-Rope Scheduling
- Reflections on Column WIP Limits
- Introducing Drum-Buffer-Rope in the Work Flow
- Drum-Buffer-Rope Portfolio Kanban Boards
- The Constraint in the Work Process of the Constraint in the Work Flow
Chapter 10 - Portfolio Prioritization and Selection in PEST Environments
- Prioritizing for Business Value
- Quantifying the Work Load
- Economic Prioritization and Selection via Throughput Rate
- The Need for Estimation Practices
- Cost of Delay and CD3
- PART 5 - Scaffolding for PEST Execution Management and Governance
Chapter 11 - Flow Efficiency, DBR and TameFlow Kanban Boards
- New Types of Kanban Boards
- Flow Efficiency Board
- Managing Flowbacks
- Drum-Buffer-Rope Board
- The TameFlow Throughput Management Board
- Revisiting the Portfolio Board
- Acclamation of Idleness
Chapter 12 - Outcomes, Values and Efforts in PEST Environments
- The Virtue of Minimalism: the Minimal Outcome-Value Effort (MOVE)
- What is a MOVE?
- A Small Target-Scope Work Package
- The Balance of Two Opposing Forces
- Unit of Commitment
- Mechanism to Limit Work in Process
- Risk Managed via Time Adjustments and not Scope Adjustments
- Managing Scope Variation
- A MOVE View of the Simulation
Chapter 13 - Introduction to Execution Management Signals
- The Logic of Critical-Chain Project Management (CCPM)
- Critical Chain Planning
- The Critical Chain Plan
- The Critical Chain Buffer
- Buffer Zones
- Buffer Consumption and Buffer Burn Rate
- Execution Management Signals
- Visual Execution Management and MOVEs
- From One Team and One MOVE to One Team and Many MOVEs
- From One Team and Many MOVEs to Many Teams with Many MOVEs
Chapter 14 - Introduction to Full-Kitting
- Introduction to Full-Kitting
- We don’t have time for this!
- We Cannot do Waterfall Big Up-front Design in a VUCA World and we must be Agile
- Dedicated Roles
- The Nature of Full-Kitting
- Simulating Full-Kitting on the Client-Side
- Simulating Missing Information
- Round 1 - Heads or Tails as Bearer of Information
- Round 2 - Avoiding Flowbacks
- Round 3 - Simulating Full-Kitting on the Team Side
- PART 6 - Execution Management and Governance in PEST Environments
Chapter 15 - Full-Kitting as Ongoing Executive Activity
- The Full-Kitting Work Flow
- The Backlog Column
- The Full-Kit Column
- The Prioritization Column
- The Ranking Column
- The Committed Column
- The In Flow Column
- Operational Full-Kitting
Chapter 16 - Execution Management in PEST Environments
- Many Moving MOVEs
- Virtual Integration Points
- Planning with respect to the Constraint
- Monitoring the Buffer Consumptions
- The Constraint Caused by Execution Issues
Chapter 17 - Governance in PEST Environments
- Constraints Everywhere!
- Early Detection Signals
- Focused Governance
- Overload Detection
- Full-Kitting Revisited
- Management by Exception - Limit Meetings
- Management by Exception - Ad-hoc Meetings
- Standup Meetings with Buffer Signals and Ageing Items
- Informational Flow
- Notes on Cadences
- PART 7 - How to Get to Flow
Chapter 18 - Getting Started
- Baby Steps towards Improvement
- Pattern 1 - Leave No One Behind
- Pattern 2 - One Slice at a Time
- Pattern 3 - Set The Goal
- Pattern 4 - Prime the Mindset
- Pattern 5 - Measure The Ends and Have a Plot
- Pattern 6 - Show the Work
- Pattern 7 - Show the Flow
- Pattern 8 - Show the Numbers
- Pattern 9 - Limit Work in Process
- Pattern 10 - Make MOVEs
- Pattern 11 - Forecast (or Estimate)
- Pattern 12 - Place and Use Your Buffers
- Pattern 13 - Bake the Whole Cake
- Pattern 14 - Set Priorities and Sequences and Get the Full-Kit
- Pattern 15 - Keep Feeding Herbie
- Pattern 16 - Catch the Signals
- Pattern 17 - Stand Up for a Cause
- Pattern 18 - Swarm the Block
- Pattern 19 - Bubble Baths
- Pattern 20 - Keep Reason Logs
- Pattern 21 - Look Back at the Roots
- Pattern 22 - Become a One Metric Company
Epilogue - It is Never “Done!”
- What Have we “Done?”
- The Prevalence of Mental Models
- Mindsets and Attitudes to Win in a VUCA World
About the Authors
- Steve Tendon
- Daniel Doiron
- Hyper-Productive Knowledge-Work Performance
- The Essence of TameFlow
- TameFlow Chronicles 2011-2015
- TameFlow Patterns
- Help with TameFlow
This book is published on Leanpub by TameFlow Press
TameFlow Press - a business unit of TameFlow Consulting Limited - brings you the most current information and cutting edge ideas about the TameFlow Approach to help you develop your own breakthrough performance-innovation for your organization. For more about the TameFlow Approach, visit https://tameflow.com.
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