Setting Up Successful Agile Communities of Practice: An Experience ReportSeshadri Veeraraghavan
schedule 2 years agoSold Out!
All agile organizations need champions – those passionate preachers of the power of agility – to spread the message far and wide, and to convince those unwilling to change. However, over a period of time even champions may wither and lose their motivation if they don’t get the necessary support.
So, how do you deal with (or better still, prevent) the loss of a strong evangelist/champion that had been the backbone of your agile movement? By creating many, many more evangelists and by keeping the fires going – that’s how!
In other words, you need a committed, tight-knit, and constantly learning COMMUNITY.
And that's exactly what we did at IHS. Very early in our agile transformation effort (June 2013) we realized we needed a way to sustain the momentum even before we'd started moving. To that end, the best way forward seemed to be to group like-minded, like-skilled people together, who could make a difference at the right time during the movement.
In effect, we needed change agents that knew agile and who were also willing to evangelize. That's when we decided to form our first Community of Practice. I was tasked with coming up with the charter/manifesto; pulling in the relevant people; organizing the launch; and ensuring we had a place to collaborate, all of which I was able to manage successfully.
The first CoP was for ScrumMasters, and we had our first meeting in late July; an external (very experienced) agile coach gave the very first talk and got us going. Since then, we've met every 2-3 weeks via WebEx and also collaborated via email, phone calls, and IMs; created special agile investigation groups to look into different aspects of agility, and generally made ourselves very useful and relevant to the transformation efforts.
Topics have included everything from kanban to scrumban to scaling agile to creating and demonstrating special dashboards for specific roles (e.g. QA, ScrumMasters etc.) using the Rally tool. We just finished our 34th session and attendance has been quite steady.
In the meantime I've also helped launch a CoP for QA - which is thriving and coming up with findings, standards, guidelines, ranging from automation to effective test case-writing to thought leadership around working effectively in an agile environment.
Currently, I'm involved in launching a CoP for Product Owners.
All this is great - but we also had challenges that we had to overcome, and challenges we face that still need to be conquered.
In this session, specifically for the ScrumMaster CoP I'll walk you through how we did it, our successes, challenges faced and overcome, what challenges remain, and next steps for the CoP.