Stephen Parry to brew up some agile in Gothenburg

There are roughly two parts to my work in Agile and Adaptiveness. One is working with organisations on transformation. The other is recharging my creative batteries by engaging with colleagues and peers on agile and adaptiveness techniques.

Biog PhotoThis week I will be taking a creative deep dive in the latter category when I attend the Brewing Agile conference taking place in Gothenburg, Sweden.

And while I will be presenting at the conference, it’s my co-presenters that I’m most keen in hearing and catching up with.

These include:

  • Vasco Duarte who transforms product design organizations into product development organisations.
  • Luis Goncalves, co-founder at Oikosofy, Agile Coach at HolidayCheck, author, speaker and blogger.
  • Hilary Johnson, a product manager with Pivotal Labs where she develops software for startup and enterprise clients while also enabling agile and collaborative practices with client teams.
  • Marc Loeffler, an agile coach, author and trainer.

For my part, I will be speaking on The Journey from an Agile Workplace to an Adaptive Business. My presentation will delve into the importance of creating the right work-climate for Agile to manage work more effectively and ensure organisations become highly adaptive to their customers and their marketplace.

Work-climate is a key part of this in this as it is a proven predictor of long-term business performance.

In examining ‘work-climate’, I’ll explore the following questions:

  • What are the best choices for managers and staff to make?
  • What needs to be eradicated?
  • What needs to be redesigned?
  • How do we put the customer and our employees at the heart of the business?

What I hope to do in my talk is persuade my colleagues in the agile and lean world to upgrade the foundation of their thinking to adaptive. It’s about liberating thinking workforces to realise their potential while redesigning the organisations they work in. The knowledge work in the creative environments they develop will change the world of work into a sustainable productive environment. And as goes the world of work, ideally, so goes the entire world.

To read more about the Brewing Agile conference, click here.

If you would like to have me speak to your company or conference about an adaptive transformation, please get in touch.


Making your talent valuable is the best organisational talent strategy

When working on an Adaptive-Lean transformation with an organisation, we look at their management, their leaders, their talent. What we’ve found that when it comes to recruitment, far too many look for candidates that are likely to maintain the status quo rather than infuse the organisation with new ideas.

The phrase ‘perfect fit’ is the term most of them use. But what many don’t understand is that the status quo actually means stagnation and what organisations should be looking for is reinvigoration and reinvention.

It’s this kind of thinking that often leads to companies engaging us. When the status quo isn’t good enough anymore it’s time for an Adaptive-Lean change.

People are the core of any business – whether it’s understood that way or not. But once it is  understood and integrated into the values of the organisation everything changes. If you release the potential of your people, your people will realize the potential of your organisation.

I tell organisations we’re working with to invest in their people –  make them smarter, more capable, engaged and fully aligned with objectives.  When this is done correctly, employees become worth their weight in gold.

Of course the upshot is that these employees also become more attractive to competitors. And while poaching may become a concern, it shouldn’t. That’s because when a workplace is promotes this kind of employee empowerment, the opposite happens. Candidates will flock to a workplace that shares with employees the rewards of what they bring to the organisation.

The result is you’re no longer on the watch for good people, because they’re looking for you.

To learn how LloydParry can transform your organisation into one to watch, please get in touch.

Biog Photo

The European Lean Educator’s Conference: My Day One Picks

When talking to companies about Lean and Agile, I often wish I had a way to have them take a deep dive into the broad universe of thought and opinion on this dynamic way of thinking.

That said, I looked at the schedule for the upcoming European Lean Educator’s Conference (ELEC) taking place September 16 and 17 in Buckingham, UK with an eye to what the business community and my customers can learn from it. 


I’ve come up with a list of sessions that I’m looking forward to attending. What follows are my Day One picks. Day Two will follow in the next blog post on Thursday.

Day One

Prof. Darrell Mann (Systematic Innovations Ltd)

Counter-Intuitives: Lean, Innovation & Complex Adaptive Systems
Abtract: “Lean for Leaders When we cross the threshold between systems that are complicated and those that are mathematically complex, or when we cross the threshold between the world of Operational Excellence and the world of step-change innovation, many of the Lean truisms turn out to no longer be true.

This presentation will examine some of the counter-intuitive shifts in thinking necessary in order for organisations to successfully survive in a post-’continuous improvement’, innovate-or-die world.

The paper is borne of a seventeen year, 5.5 million case study analysis of what does and does notwork in complex environments, and will explore why there is no such thing as a ‘root cause’, why ‘ready, fire, aim’ is the more appropriate change strategy, how the propensity of butterfly wing flaps to cause distant tornadoes makes the Pareto Principle dangerous, and why some degree of ‘waste’ is critical when our world flips into the mode of a complex adaptive system.

I am particularly interested in organisational adaptability, as I have been involved in this particular field for a number of years. This session’s theme is important not only for practitioners and (increasingly so) chief executives but also start-ups.”

Prof. Dr. Christoph Roser (Karlsruhe University of Applied Science, Germany)

The Origins of Lean & Lessons for Today

Abstract: “Lean manufacturing is arguably the best approach to faster, better, and cheaper manufacturing. We all know that Lean originated at Toyota in Japan, from where it spread throughout the world. But Toyota did not imagine their Toyota production system out of thin air. They took many good ideas from others. The Toyota production system, and hence Lean, is based on inspiration from the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan, and others.

The achievement of Toyota is to merge these ideas in a new and unique approach to manufacturing that the world has never seen before. Let’s have a look at some of the many origins of Lean production. But remember, the giants of Lean stood themselves on the shoulders of Giants…”

Much of LLoyd Parry’s work has been with a number of companies in Germany – where there seems to be a much more open attitude to accepting and experimenting with new ideas. Lean and Agile is no exception. The ‘engineering – logic’ aspect of Lean and Agile seems to resonate with German management practices. I really interested to see how they managed with the soft side of Lean and Agile with regards to changing behaviours and cultures.

Belinda Waldock (Being Agile)

Agile for Lean People

Belinda helps teams and businesses find and hone their agility to support growth and improvement. She is author of Being Agile in Business, an introduction to agile working for the whole business, a professionally qualified ILM Coach and Mentor in business, and a Computer Science graduate. Working with a diverse array of businesses she supports the development of growth strategies through technology, teams and leadership using agile methods and practices.

There are still serious misconceptions  and misunderstandings within the Lean and Agile Communities, leading to futile discussions about Lean trying to become Agile on the shop floor and Agile trying to scale up using Lean. I have written on this issue in the past and I am sure it’s a subject I’ll return to it again after the conference and inspired by this session.

Sir Anthony Seldon (University of Buckingham)

Innovation in Education

Abstract: “Education is just about to enter its fourth revolution in 10,000 years. Delegates must puzzle out what the first three were before hearing about the fourth!”

I’ve often wondered why it has taken so long for academia to make the connection between education and Lean – which is the best known business learning system available to managers today. It will be interesting to see how they apply Lean – to create better, more effective, learning experiences for students that teach them the principles of continuous learning. More importantly I’m also looking forward to how they use Lean to ‘Lean our administration processes’.

In closing day one looks like a cracker. The content across all the sessions looks great and if you can’t find something in the list you like, then by all means go through the agenda and make your own. And if you want to add a few more with your reasons for choosing them, go ahead and add them in the comments below.

software developer

Past experience won’t help businesses survive change

It’s a scary yet exhilarating time to be in  businesses survive change.

Scary because it’s a time when past experience and solutions are shown to be poor determinants of whether or  not a business survive.

Exhilarating because embracing change is not just an option, it’s the only way to run a business in the  21st century.  If you can’t create a culture of adaptability and move with the market, your foundation is about as solid as a sandcastle waiting for the tide to come in and wash it away.

Here are some salient facts to consider…

  • Global competition is increasing at exponential rates.
  • Employee and customer expectations are outpacing many organisations’ ability to keep up.
  • Shareholders and stakeholders are demanding more for less.
  • Disruptive technologies are creating environments of continuous change and wiping out entire industries on a scale like we haven’t seen before.
  • Traditional management training and development programs were established in a time of relative stability and are woefully inadequate to deal with not only what’s coming next – but what’s here now.

So what’s the way forward?

In an interconnected world, we must develop interconnected skills, knowledge and learning.

Senior management must be open to data and evidence flowing forward from any position in the organization. Being that accessible and flexible while leading and engaging staff requires a mind and skill shift.

Sense-and-Respond thinking creates a climate that can see the value in recognizing ‘disconnects’ with customers and a climate in which management and staff learning is seen as central to business success, not just an add-on activity.

This is the heart of Sense and Respond thinking and central to the development of adaptive, innovative and engaging work environments.

The integrated learning, development and thinking program we put in place is structured around developing management’s ability to engage with customers, employees and leaders, not just those on the next level down the corporate ladder. And when a problem is surfaced, it’s addressed in a blame-free work climate that values the improvements that flow from proper problem-solving strategies.

Organisations succeed by creating a culture that shares information end-to-end and with senior management –  leading from a position of knowledge not hierarchy, improving both managers’ abilities and those of staff.

To learn more about how to have Sense and Respond transform your organization, please contact us at

business people

Sense and Respond helps organisations in Shared Services implementations

If you are embarking on remaking a Shared Services programme, one thing is certain – you will face challenges.

And to execute it successfully requires excellent leadership and the ability to change many aspects of your organisational culture. The risks and potential rewards of shared services are great.  Do it right and you could cut costs significantly AND improve services.

I’ve discovered through my work that using the Sense and Respond – Adaptive thinking approach to shared services implementations helps organisations through the transition. That’s because this approach allows the business to avoid errors and assumptions that can undermine a successful outcome.

And even though Lean / Agile can deliver cost savings, it’s not about cutting costs, it’s about delivering value to customers. It comes down to how to create a clear line of sight between what you and your staff do every day, and what the customer actually values.

Core Lean / Agile principles are crucial to keeping you focussed on what matters to your customer. By measuring internal and external customer outcomes you continually gather information to keep the improvements going throughout the transition process.

Is it as easy as it seems? Well, yes and no. Lean / Agile can only be effective if it’s put in place with management support that goes beyond lip service. At it’s essence Lean / Agile is about managing people and resources. So the changes it brings about are transformative.

To learn about how Sense and Respond – Adaptive thinking can transform your organisation, please take a look at Conferences and Workshops on our site, specifically Adaptive-Lean Shared Services – Masterclass for Senior Leaders. Then please get in touch.


A3 thinking: separating the noise from the wisdom

You know the conundrum well. Perhaps too well. 

There’s a steady flow of data and information coming to you from a myriad of sources. And after perusing and assessing all of it, you’ve got to make a decision.

How much of that info is just noise and how much really useful?

The answer lies is in adapting an A3 process; providing a structured problem-solving mindset to guide you and your staff to the best solution.

First developed at Toyota, A3 Thinking is a structured process has come to be applied to just about any management problem. It is especially effective at helping understand and solve complex, cross-functional, and chronic problems.

The A3 Thinking process helps you:

  • Make rapid, iterative steps toward improvement and problem solving
  • Surface issues and problems in a way that avoids blaming individuals
  • Cut through the noise and/or misleading information to get the facts
  • Be clear with your team about priorities and responsibilities
  • Quickly develop a problem solving mindset in your staff to take responsibility for improvement

At Lloyd-Parry, we engage with companies at all levels to demonstrate just how effective A3 is in empowering management environments to move ahead smartly and quickly when sourcing solutions.

If you are interested in A3 I will be participating in a workshop for Managers in May in Budapest. Here are the details.


  • Date: 12 May 2016 – 13 May 2016
  • Price: 1090,- EUR + VAT / participant
  • Early price: 990,- EUR + VAT / participant, when paid until 14 Apr 2016

Register by clicking here. 

Agile Review Magazine: „Für mich heißt Lean vor allem: Menschen, Menschen, Menschen“

Stephen Parry spricht mit Doreen Timm über Lean,
den Aufbau von Organisationen, die am Kunden orientiert sind
und woran Manager gemessen werden sollten.


Der Titel deines Buches lautet „Sense and Respond“ – was genau ist damit gemeint? Der Titel stellt eine Aufforderung an Organisationen dar, sich viel eingehender mit den Bedürfnissen ihrer Kunden zu beschäftigen. Es reicht nicht aus zu wissen, welche Wünsche der Kunde bezüglich des Produkts oder der Dienstleistung hat, sondern welcher tatsächliche Zweck erfüllt werden soll und welches Ziel der Kunde verfolgt.

Lean business consultants in Europe

Warum das wichtig ist? Traditionell arbeiten Organisationen nach dem Motto „Ich produziere etwas und vermarkte
es“; man identifiziert sich mit dem Produkt oder dem Service, den man anbietet und betreibt dann großen Aufwand, um den Kunden zu überzeugen, dass er dieses Produkt unbedingt braucht. Dem gegenüber stehen Organisationen, die sich nach dem Prinzip Erkennen und Reagieren (Sense and Respond) ausrichten: Sie definieren sich über den Wert, den sie für ihre Kunden schaffen und sind bereit, ständig mit neuen innovativen Produkten und Dienstleistungen auf veränderte Anforderungen zu reagiere

Download the full article here Agile Review Interview Parry Sense and Respond