In October, 2015, my company was sold by their parent and taken on by a new investor.  We lost somewhere around half of our staff, but we still had 15 years of legacy tech to maintain while simultaneously finding a new path to profitability.  Morale was extremely low across the engineering organization.  Leaders from engineering gathered in a board room with executive management to figure out next steps.

What started in that board room evolved into our current use of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) to provide a middle tier of guidance between company vision and sprint planning.  We have also adopted a new tool to clarify the mission of particular teams within the organization.  In this talk, I'll go over what we did and what we've learned.  Most importantly, I'll go over the critical approaches necessary to ensure that you continue to follow Agile values and principles while looking at longer-term horizons like quarters and years.

While much of this was accelerated by our company's sale, it is not just about turning around a company.  The thinking, which continues from what I shared in my Agile DC 2015 talk, "The Myth of Fixed Scope: Why Goals Matter", is for anyone who is looking to deepen their adoption of Agile and Scrum.

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

  • Iteration 1: Two-Month Goals
    • Why do you need them?
    • What works? What doesn't?
  • Iteration 2: Adoption of OKRs
    • Team Growing Pains - Confusion, Frustration, Failure
    • Setting Management Expectations
  • Iteration 3: Improvement of OKRs
    • Team Habits
    • Fighting the Tendency Toward Bureaucracy
  • Iteration 4: Outcomes over Outputs
    • What's the difference?
    • How to move OKRs towards an outcomes focus
    • Why this thinking is critical to being Agile
  • Iteration 5: Team Briefs - Learning to Fly

Learning Outcome

  • Why you need goals
  • How OKRs are different from other goal mechanisms
  • How to use OKRs
  • Tips on guiding OKR adoption
  • Shifting focus from outputs to outcomes
  • Making OKRs work in harmony with Agile values/principles

Target Audience

anyone looking to deepen their adoption of Agile and Scrum (developers, product owners, coaches/scrum masters, business leaders)

schedule Submitted 10 months ago

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