Certified LeSS for Executives Available Globally

  James  6 mins read.

Intended Overall Outcomes

Achieving the executive alignment and commitment required to implement meaningful productive structural change and thereby improve organizational adaptability is challenging. The best way I know to do this is an off-site Executive Workshop which includes both a Certified LeSS for Executives (CLE) course and an Informed Consent Workshop.

The intended outcomes include:

  • Knowledge Transfer
    • Why LeSS is designed the way it is, and how the structures and concepts it contains can help an organization quickly become more adaptive.
    • Participants collaboratively teaching each other as they gain a much deeper understanding of how their own organization actually works, versus the perception of the same.
  • Executive Alignment
    • Consensus on the actionable organizational changes required to achieve a more adaptive organizations.
    • Consensus on which portions of a product development organization will be the best place to start, who should be involved, and the steps required to move to action.
  • Go/No-Go Executive Decision
    • An aligned executive decision on whether or not to move to action.

In contrast, the primary outcome of a stand-alone Certified LeSS Practitioner is only knowledge transfer.

Planning For Success

To achieve all of the desired outcomes it is critical to have the right people in the room. It is impossible to make organizational design decisions without the people who have the necessary formal positional authority to do so. Without senior hands-on engineering staff who bring ground truth to the discussions, those discussions and resulting decisions are likely to be based in fantasy rather than reality.

The specific mix of participants will be somewhat contextual, and requires preparatory discussions to fine-tune. The prototypical examples below should provide some idea of what is needed.

Prototypical Participants

  • People With Structural Authority
    • Head of Division
    • Head of Product
    • Head of Engineering
    • Head of Divisional HR
  • People Who Can Bring Ground Truth
    • Senior Software Engineer
    • Senior Test Engineer
    • System Administrator
    • UX design engineer

Each table of approximately five participants should have a mix of people with structural authority, and people who bring ground truth to the discussions.

Preliminary Knowledge Transfer To Trainer

It is sometimes advisable for me to spend a few days learning more about the organization, product, and engineering architecture prior to the event. This typically involves things such as one-on-one conversations with various people in executive and management roles, time spent with someone who can help me to better understand the product from a business perspective, and time spent working with the engineers to better understand the technical ecosystem.

The additional insight is useful in providing context for classroom discussions, refining course focus, and navigating political dynamics during the Informed Consent Workshop. I am always driving towards understanding and alignment in an effort to achieve committed consensus on a course of action. The better prepared I am, the more I can help.

Certified LeSS for Executives Learning Objectives

The formal learning objectives of the Certified LeSS for Executives: Principles, Organization, & Change (CLE) course embedded within an Executive Workshop are as follows:

  • Why LeSS: Benefits to Your Company?
  • Systems Thinking, Organizational Design, and the Contract Game
  • Principles & Management Implications
    • Empirical Process Control for the Entire Organization
    • Lean Thinking in LeSS: Across All Functions
    • Systems Thinking: From Local to Global Optimization
    • Whole-Product Focus: Group and Role Impacts
    • Customer Centric: Process and Group Impacts
  • Adoption
    • The 3 Key LeSS Adoption Principles
    • Getting Started
    • Growing Your Adoption
    • Culture Follows Structure
    • Job Safety, but not Role Safety
    • From Smallish to Huge
    • Multi-site Adoption
  • LeSS Structure & Roles
    • What is your product? A LeSS perspective
    • Organizing around Customer Value and Feature Teams
    • Role of Managers
    • The Business-Driven Product Owner
    • Typical Organizational Structures and Patterns
    • Multi-site Implications

Although the official learning objectives of a Certified LeSS for Executives differ from a Certified LeSS Practitioner (CLP), in practice there is tremendous overlap. This is especially true of a systems modeling-heavy course design. The backbone of the courses tend to be very similar, with the changes mostly being subtle adjustments in the amount of time and emphasis spent on various topics.

The more meaningful differences are seen by examining the intended overall outcomes. A CLE is working to set the stage for achieving executive alignment and an actionable executive decision to change the organizational structure, policies, practices, incentive systems, and related aspects. In contrast, a CLP is focused on knowledge transfer to improve overall awareness, and/or focused on preparing potential volunteers for what will be expected when they launch themselves into a new structure a week or two later.

Informed Consent Workshop Within Executive Workshop

The Informed Consent Workshop is intended to achieve the alignment, buy-in, and commitment of management to move to action. This workshop is typically designed in collaboration with an internal client advocate.

Although the agenda is expected to vary as needed, the day’s objectives are more straightforward. The day’s objectives include but are not limited to the following:

  • Clarify the product definition for the pilot effort
  • Determine who will be given an opportunity to participate in the pilot effort, and their anticipated roles
  • Identify the initial adoption boundary within the product
  • Create a tentative timeline for training and launching the pilot teams
  • Address any critical concerns which surface
  • Obtain commitment to move forward (Go/No-Go Decision)

At a high level the Informed Consent Workshop is about figuring out the who, what, when, and where; and obtaining the buy-in to move forward.

There is unlikely to ever again be as good a time to make a fully informed decision to enact structural change than during the Informed Consent Workshop which follows three days of system modeling on how structure drives culture, adaptability, and value delivery.

It is critical the executive sponsor leads the group to a committed decision before the workshop concludes. Agile Carpentry can provide guidance and counsel, yet only the executive sponsor can lead the group to act on what has been learned.

English and Local Language

Everything in the English and Local Language section of the Global Certified LeSS Practitioner offering is just as relevant to an off-site Executive Workshop which includes both a Certified LeSS for Executives (CLE) course and an Informed Consent Workshop.

Additionally, I have been exploring how I can help facilitate professional translation of the entirety of the LeSS.works website, and the three LeSS books to any language desired on behalf of a client.


Agile Carpentry has developed the ability to easily and economically facilitate a systems modeling-based LeSS course in any event venue anywhere in the world. This makes hosting dramatically easier on a client than it otherwise would be, while still maintaining the amazing learning outcomes massive system modeling exercises make possible.

See the logistics page for more details.

Are You Interested?

If you are interested in having me deliver this workshop for your company, please feel free to contact me via email at james@agilecarpentry.com or via LinkedIn.