Tools for Improvement / by Dennis Britton


Gentle Introduction to Agile

Fun tutorial and introductions to basic agile concepts, forms and practices:  

Lean In

Lean improvement videos

Here’s a deep dive into lean thinking that covers the Essentials

Agile Software Teams/Engineering/Scaling/Assessment


Scaling Agile Engineering


Mob Programming

Fading Problems with Mobs 

Organizational Agility

  • McKinsey Survey spells it out for org units that are startup/trapped/agile/ 
  • The Spotify Squad/Guild/Tribe example
  • The Kanban Movement and Limited Work In Progress (WIP) movement. I really like this simplified approach to organizational improvement. It was canonized by David Anderson who popularized RAD or Rapid Application Development. There are some great links and a Prezi you can use in this article . 

Lean Startup, Discovery, Emergence and Innovation

IDEO On Design thinking

The lean startup

Lean Canvas

On Being Adaptive People and Organizations, on Being More Effective

Conscious Business Video (careful, video plays with audio right away after click)

Conscious Business Defined

Reinventing organizations Ken Wilber Integral Mapping

Otto Sharmer from MIT Labs on Upgrading our Systemic Operating Systems

Presencing as a way to create change/the future


Tools for Visualizing and Measuring the work and ensuring Real Time Connection of People

Trello  is awesome and also a simple type of Kanban especially with plugins that allow WIP limits and lean analytics. Doesn’t allow for swimlanes though.

this is best Kanban board for professional use that I have found. Allows swimlanes, vertical and horizontal Kanban.

Pivotal Tracker is a  scrum centric board for software development. Does what Jira and Rally does but without the cruft. Better for startups and small teams/orgs.

Online collaboration platform great for running online ideation and decision making. Games that get work done!

Online sticky/white board for visual conversations/virtual meetings

Instant Chat with easy to create channels is essential to keeping the question/response time to a few seconds even when you are sitting next to each other. (noisy environment/passing long strings of text)

Webex/Zoom/Skype/ for video/audio/screen sharing. All 3 works fine.

History and Theory

Deming is the master statistician that helped rebuild Japanese manufacturing after WWII and inspired the TPS, Toyota Production System that embodies lean thinking. PDCA: Plan Do Check Act cycle.

theory of constraints is the  Essential way of understanding and affecting systemic change in organizations or simply problem solving complicated systems 

Toyota Production System -- Goal: Highest Quality, Lowest Cost, Shortest Lead Time


  Comparison of PSM and CSM and other certs read Lucas Smith's excellent comparison on this page

Local Meetups

SF Bay Area

Lean Startup Circle in SF

Largest meetup for agile in the South Bay/Silicon Valley Agile Leadership Network (cofounded this one with Monica Yap and Stacey Louis)

Largest agile Meetup in SF: Bay Area Agile Leadership Network

East bay but focuses more on software QA 

Lean Coffees are great for beginners to learn on a variety of topics and get questions answered 

Agile Silicon Valley is sponsored by cPrime, a project management focused consulting/recruiter

Sillicon Valley Engineering Leadership is for engineering managers, includes lots of hardware folks. Run by Sam Hahn and Ron Lichty.  Highly recommended for you. 

Gateway is a new agile meetup in SF 

East bay Agile

Lean User Experience in SF


Also look at your local meetups: is the largest.

Lean coffees are usually very accessible to beginners

Here’s one in Lincoln: