Disciplined Agile

Part XII: Additional Resources on the Net Objectives Portal

This page lists resources on the Net Objectives Portal that we find relevant to FLEX but not an essential part of its description. If you have a particular challenge with something (whether you are using FLEX or some other approach) you might want to start out with the FLEX Support System.

Coaching, Teaching and Adoption

This page is a collection of key concepts needed. It refers to other coaching pages available.

Lean Product Management

Managing Large and Small MBIs

Lean Thinking, Flow and Theory of Constraints

The Essence of Lean Thinking

Laws of Flow, Lean and Theory of Constraints 


Art of Action: How Leaders Close the Gaps Between Plans, Actions and Results. Short re-cap of this great book by Stephen Bungay.

Toward Middle-Up-Down Management: Accelerating Information Creation  Middle-Up-Down management is the essence of Lean management- Middle managers looking Up the value stream to create a great environment for those Down the value stream to work.

Minimum Business Increments

MBIs are useful throughout the value stream. They not only designate what to work on but they provide alignment while assisting in making local decisions within the context of the big picture. This section provides a series of articles that discuss how to use MBIs.

Defining an MBI based on balancing value delivered sooner Vs potential extra development cost. This is a case study that illustrates why driving from business value is more important than driving from development efficiency.

Decomposing a Capability Into MBIs

Decomposing an MBI into Features

Why WSJF Should Be Done on MBIs and Not Features or Epics

Using MBIs in the SAFe Planning Event

Focus on Finishing Stories in the Sprint and on Finishing MBIs in the Program Increment

Managing Large and Small MBIs

Systems Thinking

If Russ Ackoff had Given a Ted Talk. 12 minute video that provides the best explanation I’ve seen of systems thinking.

Improving Frameworks with Operating Models. The biggest difference between FLEX and other approaches is FLEX is an operating model, not a framework. This expands on why this is important.

Team Level

Cross-Functional Teams: Improving Communication Between People who Work Together (Case Study)

Team Agility / Scrum Support Systems. provides considerable support for Agile teams using Scrum, Kanban or Lean.

Team Estimation is a simpler, faster, just as effective approach to estimation as planning poker. You can learn it in 5-10 minutes.

Dynamic Feature Teams: Creating Small Mobs Within a Large Group (Case Study). Although the ideal case is independent teams, very often requirements come in that require multiple teams to work together. Dynamic Feature teams is often a great way to increase collaboration across teams that have a common requirements base.

Technical Agility

A Primer on Emergent Design. In the Agile world, our designs must evolve with our requirements. Here’s a primer from Scott Bain’s award-winning book Emergent Design: The Evolutionary Nature of Professional Software Development.

Refactor to the open-closed is a method that provides changing the design so that it can better accommodate a new requirement. This is a chapter from our Essential Skills for the Agile Developer: A Guide to Better Programming and Design book.

Theory of Constraints

Theory of Constraints (TOC) 3 Bottle Oiled Wheels Demonstration (short video). Provides a metaphor for how activity does not mean value.


Scaled Learning. How to learn new methods is often as important as the methods themselves. Most Lean and Agile workshops use methods that are known to be less effective than modern methods.

The Dot Game is a simple way to teach the essence of Lean, Scrum and Kanban. It takes only an hour to run the game but it can be expanded into a 4-hour session to teach all of Scrum.

Teaching/Learning Business Agility a Step at a Time.  People already know a lot of the concepts needed to be more effective. This is the landing page for a method of teaching business agility in tiny steps.

Value Streams

Why Looking at the Value Stream Is So Important. One reason that looking at the value stream is so important is that it gives us a way to see the work being done in a better manner than just watching people.

The Value Stream of the Effective Organization. One of the main tenets of Lean-Thinking is to attend to the work being done not the people. Some of the reasons for this are: We trust our people so we want to provide them with the best environment we can. This requires improving the environment – we don’t need to improve our people

Mapping Your Value Stream. Value Stream Mapping is an activity that catalogs the steps in the work producing a product or delivering a service. It reveals where the interfaces are between activities, as well as the times involved in and between process steps.

The Value Stream Impedance Scorecard. The Value Stream Impedance Scorecard (VSIS) is a qualitative method of determining if a change to your system will be an improvement or not. It is used to predict whether a speculated “to be” state will be an improvement over the current “as is” state. It does this being guided by whether or not the change will improve value realization.  Essentially, it looks to see if the resistance to flow will increase or decrease. The VSI Scorecard should be used as a heuristic as change in complex systems is not predictable although it can follow patterns.

SAFe From a Value Stream Perspective. SAFe is built around different levels of the organization. It is much easier to see how to implement it if you look at it from a value stream perspective.

Using the Value Stream to Get to Root Cause With ‘Five-Whys’. Overview This article describes how a company achieved a 20% true productivity improvement in a development group of about 100 people by discovering the true root cause of their challenges with value stream mapping and Lean’s ‘Five whys’ practice.

The Value Stream in SAFe. SAFe, unfortunately, redefines the decades old definition of the value stream.  This causes a lot of confusion and weakens a powerful concept.

Attending to the Customer’s Value Stream. While we often talk of value streams in referring to how we are building software, we should remember that the software systems we build help define the value streams of  our customers


Art of Action: How Leaders Close the Gaps Between Plans, Actions, and Results. Stephen Bungay. One of the best management books written. See above in Management for a short re-cap.

The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development. Don Reinertsen. This is the best resource on Flow-thinking.

Turn the Ship Around: A True Story of Turning Followers Into Leaders. David Marquet creates the leader-leader management paradigm.