Translating Agile for a Non-Technical Team

Parlez-vous Agile?

Sprechen sie Scrum?

Agile methods originated in technical practice, and its roots are solidly planted in the fertile ground of software engineering. Certifications in Scrum all require understanding of engineering practices, and the more senior level certifications require both in-depth understanding and practical application.  The message would seem to be that Agile practitioners must be Software Engineering practitioners. However, non-technical teams are adopting agile methods as ways to better organize – or, more accurately, self-organize – in increasing numbers.

As the language and history of agile is so strongly steeped in software engineering, applying agile methods in a non-technical setting requires some translation to be applied in a non-technical team.  I'm not just talking about jargon translation here; the methods and practices themselves sometimes need a tweak to work outside software engineering. The use of agile and scrum is not a slam-dunk success in every setting - be it technical or non-technical - but in this talk, I will separate myth from reality and give some practical examples from my own experience.  I invite you to join to learn, to contribute, and to discuss the opportunities as well as the effort required to leverage Agile/Scrum for a non-technical team.  

 
6 favorite thumb_down thumb_up 0 comments visibility_off  Remove from Watchlist visibility  Add to Watchlist
 

Outline/structure of the Session

  1. Introduction
  2. Apply Key Agile Practices to a Non-Technical Team:
    • The key measurement of success is a working product. 
    • Form a dedicated, cross-functional team. 
    • Set goals, understand constraints, and then break your work into manageable chunks. 
    • Engage Customers and Stakeholders throughout the Product Development process.
    • Ensure team participation and communication, and give them the tools to self-organize.  
    • Adapt to changing requirements, to ensure the customer advantage. 
    • Ensure full transparency throughout the process.
  3. How Key Scrum Ceremonies Work - and Not Work - for a Non-technical team
  4. Experiences and Learnings
  5. Wrap-up: Pick your target(s) well

Learning Outcome

Participants in this session will:

  • Identify the 7 key Agile/Scrum Practices that apply to a Non-technical team
  • Understand least two simple examples of how Agile/Scrum was successfully used in a non-technical setting
  • Learn how Agile/Scrum ceremonies work - and don't work - in a non-technical setting 
  • Share experiences and learn from others 

Target Audience

Agile Coach, Product Owner, ScrumMaster, PMO

schedule Submitted 2 years ago

Comments Subscribe to Comments

comment Comment on this Proposal

  • Liked Heather Fleming
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Stop “Going Agile”! The three conversations you need to have before you start.

    60 mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    All too often, companies set out with the mission to “go agile” before truly understanding what that means. Business managers are quick to jump on the agile bandwagon, believing that “going agile” will magically make projects happen faster. Teams are getting certified in Scrum as if it’s a silver bullet that will suddenly make everyone more productive. Inevitably, cracks begin to show, and expectations are missed--leaving everyone involved questioning the value of “going agile” altogether.

    There is a better way! The truth is that going agile will result in more productive teams and faster delivery of projects--but only if everyone can agree on the rules of the game.

    Come hear Heather Fleming and Justin Riservato from Gilt discuss why gaining consensus on the principles of Agile is more important than implementing a process, and learn how having these three conversations can save you from an agile disaster:

    • “But when will you be done?”  Why getting rid of the concept of deadlines is the most important (and most difficult) conversation when going agile.
    • “This is my top priority, but I can’t meet with you until next week.”  What to do when your business partner can’t (or won’t) be a full member of the team.
    • “I just want to code. Why do I have to be in all these meetings?”  Why implementing Scrum is not the first step to going agile.
  • 60 mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    "As a user of your system, I want functionality so that I can achieve my goals. Unfortunately, your team's users stories are getting in the way."

    Users Stories, the tool teams use to break ideas into small chunks of deliverable work, are easy to describe and challenging to write. This session is about writing great user stories and acceptance criteria by ensuring everyone on the team knows what needs to be done. We will discuss what elements should be included and which ones are optional; why the size of your user story is important and how to make them smaller; and the structure for better acceptance criteria.

  • Liked Jeffrey Davidson
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Project Cage Match: Multitasking vs. Critical Chain

    90 mins
    Workshop
    Intermediate

    Executives believe starting their project NOW means it will end sooner. Unfortunately, starting one more project costs dramatically more than waiting. Sharing limited resources causes all the projects to sub-optimize. Multitasking is costing your organization a fortune!

    Are you tired of being time-sliced across too many projects? Learn how value decreases when you work on many projects at the same time and increases (!) when you focus and deliver on a single project.

    Come, play a game based upon ideas from Critical Chain Project Management, Lean, and Agile. Take part and help us illustrate the power of focus on your project portfolio management.

  • Liked Mariya Breyter
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Agile coaching is dead. Long live Agile practicing!

    Mariya Breyter
    Mariya Breyter
    Agile Coach
    Consultant
    schedule 2 years ago
    Sold Out!
    60 mins
    Talk
    Advanced

    For years, Scrum/Agile coaching has been an attractive career for many. It is frequently viewed as a continuation of a career for an experienced Scrum Master who understands the intricacies of the cultural change that makes Scrum teams successful, knows nuts and bolts of a Scrum engine, and has natural aptitude for knowledge sharing and growing others. A leader who is unselfish and acutely self-aware, who has experience, and ability to influence others.  Many Scrum practitioners saw this role as their next step in professional development. The 2010 book, Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins’ and her Agile Coaching Institute made Agile Coaching a discipline rather than a buzzword. Now, five years later, Agile Coaching is rapidly losing its attractiveness as a professional career. In her open-space style talk based on a retrospective with the session participants, Mariya Breyter will explore why this is happening and what a natural career progression for an Agile coach is. Agile Coaches and Scrum practitioners will exchange their experience and discuss their paths for professional development.

  • Liked Jonathan Hansen
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Evolutionary Agility with Kanban: Introduction to Kanban for Scrum Practitioners

    60 mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    Scrum is by far the dominant Agile methodology and has been put to good use to positively change many software development groups. Some have found that even when they follow all the Scrum practices, they are still having some challenges, and they have turned to Kanban for help. Kanban is often framed as an alternative to Scrum, but it need not be so. Organizations using Scrum can augment their process with the Kanban Method to become more agile and delivery-oriented.

    Jonathan Hansen will use real-world examples, both from product and consulting companies, to show you some of the ways Kanban can work together with Scrum to help you manage the work inside Sprints, manage work that doesn’t fit in Sprints well, and provide a means to continuously improve your work.

  • Jason Tice
    Jason Tice
    Agile Coach
    Asynchrony
    schedule 2 years ago
    Sold Out!
    60 mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    If you’re practicing scrum, you’re probably well versed in velocity, escaped defects and other common scrum metrics.  This presentation starts with a review of essential scrum metrics, how to properly use them, and how to interpret their trends.  We’ll then quickly pivot into advanced and emerging metrics that many scrum teams (and programs) have found beneficial - examples include: how to measure and quantify the cost of delay when your team is blocked, how to ensure your team is investing the right amount of time to maintain clean code and create automated test scripts, and how to assess that your team is sharing work to support the whole-team approach.  We’ll review a comprehensive taxonomy of scrum metrics and show examples of presented metrics in use.  We’ll conclude talking about opportunities to better empower scrum teams to self manage by integrating economic and budgetary data with scrum metrics - consider this example: rather than reviewing estimates & actuals for all the stories completed in a sprint, determine your team run rate and track the cycle time for each story completed, then use these two data points to compute the cost for each story completed during a sprint, finally ask yourself if your customer or sponsor would be happy with the amount they invested to complete each story - if you’ve never tried this type of economic analysis with your team, trust me, you’ll have a much different (and probably more effective) discussion.  By attending this session, participants will learn a comprehensive list of metrics and practices to gain greater insights to team / project health and reduce delivery risk - participants attending will receive a metrics worksheet that will list all metrics presented and include why and how to track each of them.

  • Liked Laura Burke
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Using Experiments to Overcome Your Fear of Change

    Laura Burke
    Laura Burke
    ScrumMaster
    Appia, Inc.
    schedule 2 years ago
    Sold Out!
    90 mins
    Workshop
    Beginner

    Agile prescribes continuous reflection and improvement -- in essence, change. And while everyone fancies change, implementing change can be scary and painful.

    However, most people fear change because they lack the structure and process to approach it, assess it, and then implement it. The key to implementing change is approach it as an experiment where you form hypotheses, collect data, and assess results. While most people relegate experiments to high school science class, they are powerful business tools to help enact change.

    The goal of this session is to introduce three powerful techniques for implementing experiments in any organization. This session will introduce these varied approaches and give the audience experience using them via time-boxed exercises. People will not have an excuse to fear change again!

     
  • Liked Christine Novello
    keyboard_arrow_down

    When a Co-Located Team is Unexpectedly Distributed

    30 mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    Most practitioners agree that co-location makes a more efficient agile team. Over the years, I’ve worked with teams that are co-located as well as teams with members in multiple locations.  I've observed many ways to make the distribution somewhat less painful, and to reduce the impacts. There are many great tools out there to better enable collaboration across geography, and hundreds - maybe thousands - of viable communication tools as well.  

    None of these can give you the equivalent of turning around in your chair and tapping your colleague on the shoulder to ask a question.  It's those informal communications that can make a co-located team more efficient.  I’m seeing more and more enterprises bringing development teams back together physically, reducing and even eliminating the dispersion of their teams.  

    Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, flexible workplace arrangements are more and more commonplace. Even if your team is co-located on paper, there will be times when team members may not be in the same location. And then there are times when teams are dispersed due to emergencies or weather conditions. Here in the northeast US, we are experiencing an high number of disruptive storms this winter.  Even agile teams that are usually co-located find themselves working in a widely dispersed fashion – whether they expect to be or not! 

    So, even if you have a 100% co-located agile team, you need a plan to deal with and be successful with your team members distributed in multiple environments.  In this session, I will discuss some basic tips and techniques for you to consider as you formulate your game plan.