From solo artists to an orchestra; a journey toward playing as an ensemble

Agile adoption in IT teams all over the world has been huge, but we are just beginning to explore how we can apply Agile to the domain of business teams.

In this talk, we explain our journey at Ableton, a company that makes software and hardware products for making electronic music based in Berlin, Germany. Although for our teams that make the products, the journey to Agile began around 7 years ago, it was only recently that the business teams like Logistics, Finance, HR, Sales, and Facility management began adopting Agile practices.

We took an approach that introduced Agile practices and rituals at different levels of the company from the teams themselves, all the way to executive leadership.

Level 1: Agility in teams

Level 2: Agility between teams

Level 3: Agility among middle management

Level 4: Agility among executive management


Outline/Structure of the Keynote

  1. 2 mins, Intro to Ableton
  2. 2 mins, We explain the starting scenario of the business teams at Ableton: departmental, teams split based on functional expertise, high dependency projects due to few products
  3. 2 mins, We clarify the problems we faced with the starting scenario: hand-over of work, too much parallel work, bottlenecks, commitment and coordination problems
  4. 3 mins, We use an example to illustrate the problems: The trade-in project that needed online sales, local sales and marketing, legal, logistics and IT to work together
  5. 2 mins, Level 1: We explain what we changed at the team level: Enabled teams to estimate and plan their work iteratively -> with quarterly and fortnightly plannings
  6. 2 mins, Level 2: We explain what we changed at the inter-team level: Generated transparency on completed, ongoing and yet to be started work between the teams -> with half-yearly project expos
  7. 2 mins, Level 3: We explain what we changed at the middle-management level: Established cross-functional groups with middle-management with the task of prioritizing projects -> with project steering groups
  8. 2 mins, Level 4: We explain what we changed at the executive-management level: Established executive management to define longer-term initiatives in alignment with company strategy that can feed to the steering groups -> with initiative steering groups
  9. 3 mins, We summarize by revealing our 4-levels approach to changing a heavily departmental/functional group of business teams to adopt agile practices and collaborate for success

Learning Outcome

Participants will have learned about a multi-level approach that was successful for bringing agility to business teams in a mid-sized company.

They would leave with knowledge of concrete hands-on practices used in such a change initiative

Make the realization that for permanent change, we need to bring change at all levels of an organization and include those affected by it in the change process.

Target Audience

Agile coaches, change agents, consultants, middle-sized companies and executive leaders who are concerned in transforming business teams in organizations be more agile.

Prerequisites for Attendees

Participants should have basic experience with agile practices and methodologies as well as experience implementing them in organizations. This is not an introduction to agile and hence needs basic understanding of terminology like iterative planning, reviews and retrospectives.

schedule Submitted 3 years ago

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