Thank you AgileRoots 2014

AgileRoots 2014

AgileRoots 2014 (photo by @Agileroots)

Keynote by Kenji (photo by @nawoto)

Keynote by Kenji (photo by @nawoto)

I attended Agile Roots 2014 in Salt Lake City held on June 19-20, which turned out to be a wonderful as well as very special conference to me. I was so humbled to be able to do the keynote there to share ideas and thoughts of my predecessors.

Because I’m from Japan, AND, this conference is named “Agile Roots”, I thought I should bring something very unique from Japan and also suitable for this “Roots” conference.

Japan's influence to Agile and Lean

Japan’s influence to Agile and Lean

The right map is the map (by Yasunobu Kawaguchi) of the Agile and Lean concept I showed to the audience. The particular parts I talked about in the conference are marked (1) and (2) and here are the slide decks.

  • (1) Keynote: People As the Conveyer of Knowledge: Learning from Prof. Nonaka, grandfather of Scrum

People As the Conveyor of Knowledge from Kenji Hiranabe

In 1986, Prof. Ikujiro Nonaka co-wrote a well-known paper “The New New Product Development Game” with Prof.Takeuchi and coined the word “Scrum” which is later referred to by Jeff Sutherland, Ken Schwaber, and Mike Beedle in their modern Scrum in Agile development context. In my keynote, I presented some important ideas about “how knowledge is created” and “who is the center of the knowledge creation”, discussed in the Nonaka’s Scrum concept but not yet discussed in the Agile world, also why “Design Thinking” (or empathy to the users through experience) should be inserted into the first part of the development!

I also wanted to share the “missing links” between his original Scrum thought and the current implementation of Scrum in the Agile world.

My Scrum Book co-authored by Prof. Nonaka

My Scrum Book co-authored by Prof. Nonaka

This topic is also written in a newly published Japanese book “Agile and Scrum: Collaborative Software Development and the Leadership That Connects Customers, Engineers and Management”, co-authored by Ikujiro Nonaka and me, which will be translated into English – hopefully. 🙂

Here’s Mary Poppendieck’s comment on my presentation.

I really enjoyed your keynote at Agile Roots in Utah.  I particularly like the idea of establishing empathy, and the example of the bread machine.  This is a good example of why empathy is more important than data in deciding how to build great products.

  • (2) Drink Lean From The Source
Drink Lean from the Source -- mind map

Drink Lean from the Source — mind map

I shared the roots of Lean concepts including Kaizen (Continuous Improvement), Gemba (Go See), Muda-Dori (Waste Elimination), WIP limitation, Pull production system, and “People” as the center of the process via a Japanese video.

I’m not sure our cultural differences were well communicated by my translation, but the audience looked they were enjoying. (Did you ?)

I also enjoyed…

Lastly, I’ll share this funniest video I took while Willem Larsen’s “Language Hunting”.  Here is how “Japanese” is hunted (See funny Aaron!).

It was a fun conference!

Thank you Kay/Zhon Johansen, Aaron Sanders, Woody/Andrea Zuill(nice talk and artworks), Diana/Willem Larsen(you guys are always energetic), Mary/Tom Poppendieck, Jeff Patton, Israel Gadd(we finally met in person!), Nawoto Nishimura, Ushio Tsuyoshi, Kiro Harada, Tsuda-san, Kenrink, Rob Myers, Timothy Collinson, Andy Mohlman, Jennifer Stone, Margot Dear, Todd Little(Mr. Roots of Lean), Lisa Crispin(Congrats to your new book!), Steve McGee(come to Japan!), Llewellyn Falco(Coolest lightning talks on Math/Quantamn), …. and many more…

Thank you Kay Johansen (@utahkay) again for inviting me to such a great conference in  such a heart-warming way! I heard the conference is ran by voluntary organizers, thank you very very much for this wonderful opportunity!

PS: I also had booklets to hand-out of my white paper “Modeling in the Agile Age – What to Keep Next to Code to Scale Agile Teams”. If you couldn’t get one, you can read it online (“Modeling in the Agile Age” under [PDF] down below on our website or InfoQ)


3 thoughts on “Thank you AgileRoots 2014

  1. Kenji, it was great meeting you! I learned a lot drinking Lean from the source – amazing to watch how fast the team iterated getting that workstation just right, and how they celebrated the line worker who performed the experiments.

    • Thanks for attending my session! and glad you liked it.
      But I’m not sure I communicated well the “culture” part… it is very difficult to understand the video without Japan culture.


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