Here is today’s episode of the “Campfire Talks with Herbie”.

Name (and Company/Affiliation if desired)

Daniel Plourde. Daniel Plourde Senior Advisor at National Bank of Canada

Who are you?

Daniel Plourde Profile Picture

35+ years of experience in the IT word.

Started as a cobol developer on Mainframe.

Evolved in a multitude of various roles : such as Analyst, Project Manager, Director and Senior Director.

Over the years I developed a fair amount of expertise around Release Management & DevOps.

Finally about 18 months ago I came across Tameflow and since then I have become the Flow Expert at the Bank.

Note, that I did not develop much expertise on Agile until SAFe came around which seemed more appropriate for large organizations. But even then, SAFe kind and Agile kind of left me on my appetite.

Some things just did not seem right to me, but I could not exactly put my finger on it.

How did you get involved with Agile, Coaching, Organizational Performance - and in particular with TameFlow?

About 4 years ago, I decided to let go of my Senior Director position to act full time as a Senior Advisor acting as Release Management SME and DevOps Catalyst.

Then about 18 months ago, a team came to me and asked if I could come and help them improve their SDLC.

That team was known as “The Agile Team at the Bank”, but quite frankly a lot of things did not run smoothly.

One of the team members suggested that I read a few books, one of which was Tameflow’s first book Hyper-Productive Knowledge Work Performance.

This book was a revelation to me. It was filling many of the gaps of the “common” Agile approach and it was so much in sync with my way of thinking that I really dove into it and became sort of a Flow Evangelist.

Are you currently (or do you intend) making a living in this sector? And with TameFlow?

Well I guess I can say that I am already doing it.

I have been fully involved around Flow for the last 18 months and I do not foresee any change on the matter until I retire.

There is still plenty of work to do on this subject at National Bank of Canada.

Involvement outside the Bank might also be an option in the future, to extend my career a few years more.

Give us a typical day in your life!

My routine is quite boring.

Get up at 7up, eat my cereals almost 365 days per year, have lunch by myself most of the time, but almost always have dinner with family.

Walk the dog (RedFox Labrador) with my wife.

I used to do a few hours of extra work almost every night until I went to bed, but stopped about 4 years ago. I now take more time for me by watching TV, reading or learning something new (e.g. TameFlow)

I do not do much sport, but I truly enjoy my yearly fishing and hunting trips with friends (I hunt deer and wild turkey).

I also light up my fireplace almost everyday from December to the end of March.

I guess you could call me a “country guy!”

What makes you happy at the end of a day?

Having the feeling that I helped people and that my work is valuable.

I truly no longer have an appetite for “power”.

I am at a point where I no longer want to compromise on “working conditions”.

Not that I am “pro union”, but I really want to ensure that my colleagues are equipped with the tools and processes needed to do their job, while still meeting the “demand” or even delivering more.

What’s the most important skill or insight you’ve developed while getting involved with this industry?

I really have and end-to-end view on the overall SDLC at the Bank plus a very close view of what is happening on the floor.

In a single day a can be in workshops with developers and Product Owners in the morning and then present challenges or proposed improvement initiatives to executives in the afternoon.

What are the greatest challenges on your path to using/improving the techniques you favor in this sector? Where do you see TameFlow in this?

Given the complexity of our organization and our application ecosystem, aligning all teams on the same priorities is most probably our biggest challenge.

Plus, considering that went “extreme Agile”, we needed to step back a bit to kind of standardise and align the SDLC so that the teams can better collaborate.

Like Steve and Daniel very well express this, we need to have people change their mental model… and there is a lot to change.

What are the greatest rewards you’ve had (personally or professionally) or would like to receive in this industry?

To be perfectly honest, this is pretty much the first time I get involve in a community of peers.

So, in general I get my rewards as “good pat on the shoulder” from my colleagues and bosses and this really does it for me.

What do you want to learn from a community of peers, like the one here TameFlow Community site?

Share on challenges and success stories and even failures.

If other TameFlow enthusiasts want to reach out to you, where do they find you? And what is your TameFlow Community handle?

They can reach me on the [TameFlow Community] as dplourde on the [TameFlow Community], and on LinkedIn.

What question(s) would you like to ask Steve, or what topics would you like him to develop ( in relation to the TameFlow Approach)?

One of the topic on which I still did not quite figure out is how to identify the Constraint the Flow. I know it should be the team with the biggest backlog in front of it, but all of our team do not structure their backlog the same way and we do have a lot of “application ecosystems”.

Also, backlog items are often assigned to specific teams only when the team is “Ready to Sprint”. So, even “Waiting for development” items are not assigned to a team at this point. So, it’s like we have orphan backlog items.

Herbie talks about… How to find the Constraint in the Work Flow

One of the all time favourite topics is how to find the Constraint in the Work Flow. In the Tame your Work Flow, How Dr. Goldratt of “The Goal” would apply the Theory of Constraints to rethink knowledge-work management book the whole topic is explained over several chapters.

How to find the Constraint in the Work Flow

The drawing above is what came out after a long explanation. To fully appreciate it, look at the video and listen to the explanation.

The short of explanation is that the Constraint in the Work Flow is identified during the Full Kitting activity. The MOVEs that are in the Committed column of the Portfolio Board are broken down into the Work Items that ideally build the individual backlogs in front of the individual teams.

Note that these are “virtual” queues, because these Work Items will not be placed in the actual team backlogs until the corresponding MOVE is released from the Portfolio Board into the Work Flow. It is in this phase that we look at the Virtual Queues and establish the expected average Flow Time for them to be implemented. The team that is facing the Virtual Queue with the longest average Flow Time is the Constraint in the Work Flow.

A further observation is that once the MOVE is released into the Work Flow, then we start looking at the state of all teams respective MOVE Buffers, and see which one is the most challenged, at that moment; during the execution. That team is the Constraint in the Work Execution.


If you found the topics in the “Campfire Talks with Herbie” interesting, there is much more to learn about them in the Tame your Work Flow, How Dr. Goldratt of “The Goal” would apply the Theory of Constraints to rethink knowledge-work management book.


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