Watch-out for Agile Transformations with Waterfall Mindset

This session helps in understanding problems when teams move towards Agile but leadership is still stuck with waterfall mindset. It also helps in understanding why Agile transformations fail.

Even after making transformation efforts for multiple years, in many enterprises, people start doing Agile "process" eventually. But the whole setup, organisational culture, hierarchy, siloed mindset, delays across departments remain same. Even after spending millions, the benefits remain negligible. The enterprise doesn't become agile enough in coming out with innovation and anticipating disruptive changes in the market


Outline/Structure of the Talk

* Outline the project execution process in enterprises which in itself is very waterfalish

-- Stakeholders driven business ideas

-- Defining the roadmap or a business case around business idea and cost

-- Discuss the same and get approval in annual budgetary cycle

-- Project approval and start shaping the requirements

-- Start involving UX team 'now'

-- Form Agile teams and start implementing the business idea

-- Ship to the user

* Actual agility in the process is just 10-20% from the time Agile teams gets involved in

* Define overall problems in this process and corresponding solutions

* Explain the mechanics of some common enterprise agile transformations

* Define resulting coaching chaos

* Problems at ground zero and their corresponding solutions

-- Leadership having no clue on their role

-- Focus on excel sheets driven agile transformations and no focus on 'Genchi Genbutsu' (Go See)

-- No focus on mindset and organizational cultural change

-- No structural changes

-- Technical practices and DevOps related changes taking the back seat

-- Framework oriented Agile transformation rather than what works for the organization

-- Traditional 'output' driven mindset

Learning Outcome

* People getting to know why Agile transformation is not working in their organisation

* What involves in bringing true agility in an enterprise?

* Things to watch-out for while moving towards enterprise Agile transformation

Target Audience

Executives, Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, Team members

Prerequisites for Attendees


schedule Submitted 2 years ago

  • Talia Lancaster

    Talia Lancaster / Angie Doyle - T-minus 10… 9… 8… We have lift-off!

    90 Mins

    Getting new teams to work together is hard. Really. Hard.

    Is it because there is so much hype around new Agile teams? Or is it because there is such a focus on “doing things right” (or “doing” Agile right), that we forget about the people actually doing the work? Regardless of the reason, before we can change the way people work... we need to focus on the things that are important for teamwork to work!

    We believe that the key to high-performance teams is creating an intentional culture that respects and embraces diversity - whether it be race, gender, class, culture, age, beliefs, language, skills or background. So join us as we explore the Team Canvas – sort of like a Business Model Canvas for teamwork - covering nine essential teamwork elements:

    • Purpose - Why we are doing what we are doing?
    • People & Roles - What are our names, roles and responsibilities?
    • Common goals - What do we as a group want to achieve together?
    • Personal goals - What do I as an individual want to achieve?
    • Team values - What do we really stand for and believe in?
    • Needs and expectations - What do each of us need to be successful in a diverse team?
    • Rules & Activities - How do we communicate and keep everyone up to date?
    • Strengths & Assets - What skills do we have in the team?
    • Weaknesses & Risks - What are the weaknesses we have, as an individual and as a team?

    We will walk through our agenda for team lift-offs, facilitation posters and preparation work required, materials needed, and facilitation tips and tricks. All packaged in a handy pocket guide, that you can use to explore tried and tested techniques for each essential element. We will also have an opportunity to practice some of these techniques during the session.

    Get ready to lift-off your team in T-minus 10... 9... 8...

  • 20 Mins
    Experience Report

    This experience report shares how ‘Skill the Gap’, a not-for-profit organization, is building the leaders of tomorrow using Agility and thus making sure the next generation have great places to work.

    We are doing this by upskilling ‘first job seekers’ from schools and universities in the core individual, team and leadership skills needed for Agility. This is done globally at scale and at no cost to the participants.

    What do these ‘new collar’ workers need in terms of skills that they are not getting today and how do they get them at no additional cost? We help bridge ‘the gap’ between what schools and universities deliver and what businesses need.

    57% of worldwide leaders say that it’s the soft skills that are more important than core competencies in this dynamic digital world. So, what are these skills and how do we plan to upskill 1 million first-job-seekers in the first 2 years of operations?

    “Team working is an individual skill” and training, coaching and equipping the next generation with these key skills before they enter the work place will enable them to be successful from day one and go on to be great leaders.

    We don’t stop there…we also place them at our sponsor organizations, thus giving them the opportunity, they need to shine. The sponsors enable us to give the students these skills at no financial cost.

    We will share our initial experiences and feedback, the 4 pillars of our curriculum and the 40 micro modules of magic.

    We use ‘training from the back of the room’ techniques, volunteers in 4 continents and a unique curriculum, to embed the learning and couple it with mentoring and coaching to deliver a unique learning experience that is scalable and is being currently rolled out in 6 cities from Miami to Melbourne.

    Check out for more details.

  • 20 Mins
    Experience Report

    Evolving an organization to use more agile techniques often means re-evaluating the role of dedicated QA teams common in waterfall development processes. In software organizations that develop a large platform with a group of agile development teams, there is still a need to ensure quality at a product and platform level. As one solution to this, this talk introduces the idea of Platform QA, a dedicated team of QA specialists with responsibility to the entire product, and the platform that delivers it. Platform QA is a feature team that works on a backlog of quality risks and has ultimate ownership of shared artifacts such as end to end (BDD) tests and QA environments. This talk discusses differences between waterfall QA, platform QA and embedded QA, examples shared from my own experience, and conditions where this solution may make sense as a transitional or target organizational structure.

  • ShriKant Vashishtha

    ShriKant Vashishtha - Collaborative Daily Scrum : A Collaborative Alternate to 3 Questions Based Daily Scrum

    ShriKant Vashishtha
    ShriKant Vashishtha
    Agile Coach
    schedule 2 years ago
    Sold Out!
    20 Mins

    The 3 questions based Daily Scrum is the defecto way of doing Daily Scrum across teams. For years people have been finding it inadequate as it tends to focus on individuals rather than team and sprint goal, promotes status update kind of discussion rather than collaborative sync-up and becomes an accomplice in promoting zombie Scrum.

    The 3 questions based Daily Scrum, unfortunately, doesn’t require collaboration as a mandatory prerequisite. Without mandatory collaboration, no team becomes self-organized as the Development Team continue to be dependent on someone like Scrum Master to organize them as a team.

    In 2017 update of Scrum guide, because of all these reasons, 3 questions based Daily Scrum became one of the many Daily Scrum implementations.

    However in the absence of any better alternate, people continue to use 3 questions based Daily Scrum.

    This alternate implementation of the Daily Scrum, called Collaborative Daily Scrum considers collaboration (pair programming, swarming or mob programming) as the mandatory aspect of the Daily Scrum. The focus is on sprint goal and working as a team and not on individual updates anymore. At any point of time, the team plans to finish at most 2-3 stories collaboratively which helps in automatically limiting the WIP on the Scrum Board.

    This implementation has been well received which was published through an AgileBuddha blog post. The post includes the inputs from James Coplien (inventor of daily standup).

  • ShriKant Vashishtha

    ShriKant Vashishtha - Passion Driven Work – Secret Sauce of Generating Exponential Value in a Company

    ShriKant Vashishtha
    ShriKant Vashishtha
    Agile Coach
    schedule 2 years ago
    Sold Out!
    45 Mins
    Case Study

    This is a story of a small IT service company in India with a capacity of 80-100 people.I worked there in senior leadership role. The key USP of the company was its focus on technology innovation, thought-leadership, have great technology talents and flat hierarchy. It was an IT service company and was implementing XP, Scrum, CI/CD, Distributed Agile practices since 2006 to its core.

    The company environment was very open. Employees were encouraged to consider organisation like a clean slate. They could write on it whatever they want as long as it brings improvement in status quo and a group of colleagues are convinced about the idea.

    If anybody felt uncomfortable the way things are working in the organization, she could initiate a discussion in the company around the change and if idea makes sense, it gets implemented.

    Considering all mentioned above, it was not a surprise anymore to see a big focus on the following mantra in the company.

    Scratch your own itch. If it’s itching you hard, fix it.

    Essentially people were encouraged to come up with solutions and actions to execute, instead of just listing problems. Everybody in the company was considered an equal partner in improving things.

    The result was – anybody could start any initiative, which he/she thinks to be beneficial for the organization. Senior management helped in shaping up the ideas. However people themselves had to sell their ideas to fellow colleagues and garner support.

    To provide some impetus and catalyst to these cultural changes, we started promoting some activities like writing blogs, creating videos on our technical expertise, groups on Software technology design aspects, participating as speakers in various technical conferences, exploring new technologies and then doing sessions for the entire company.

    Initially everything worked as expected. However after few months or so, to my surprise, steam began to die down. Many people backed out when it came to do some work, though they expressed their keen interest initially.

    Another important fact was – only few selected people were participating in most of the activities. Just 5-10 out of 70-80 people was not an encouraging number. Again this is what I saw in many other organizations.

    Rest of the story is about the turn-around of the company when we started aligning people's passions and interests towards the long-term organizational goals. After some time we started getting sustainable and dramatic results.

    At one point, people writing on corporate technical blog were around 5–10% of total number of people. That changed to around 50–60% people in the organization.

    Initially that happened because of the interest shown by truly interested people about it and then because of healthy competition among the colleagues.

    We started finding the involvement of people in various activities like hiring improvement initiative, building technology guilds, multimedia and marketing, software design competition, organizing events, innovation and speaking in conferences.

    This whole system evolved in a well-oiled engine which was ready to take any technological challenge from any client. It obviously improved employee morale. With the word of mouth and good feedback, we started getting great employee references.