How to avoid 'Hitting the Wall' in your Agile Transformation (or how to get 'unstuck')

Over the years as an Agile practitioner, I've seen mindsets change on Agile and what it should and shouldn't be used for. The good news is that the 'shouldn't be used for' list continues to go down. In fact - I'm encouraged by the trend from 'should not' to 'could' to 'absolutely should' - when it comes to applying Lean and Agile.

But over that same time period, I've watched a number of organizations, populated with very smart, creative and passionate people, struggle with their own Agile journeys. Subsequently, I've spent a lot of time working with those organizations and introspecting on my own and with my team.

"How do we make the Agile transformational journey more efficient, fruitful and more enjoyable for everyone?

Ironically, the way most organizations look to start or advance a stuck Agile journey is to seek out a formula or 'best practices' to road-map their enterprise plan. Potentially you cringed as much as I did as I wrote the last sentence. Specifically, taking a plan-based approach to move away from a plan-based approach is an anti-pattern and somewhat the antithesis of the Agile mindset.

So what should we do?

The best way to speed up your Agile journey is not by reading articles, books, blog postings, attending conference sessions ;-) or to seek some kind of formula to put together a plan. While those things can educate and even inspire, they maintain the slower path - albeit one that generally 'feels safer' for some.

A far better prescription is to follow an approach to the Agile journey that is in itself - Agile.

While that may seem intuitive, there are also implications to 'how' you approach the challenge from an organizational perspective. The classic approach to 'train the development team' and everything else follows is prone to stalling for a variety of reasons.

This session will explore both an Agile / Lean approach to 'Enterprise Agile Transformation' but also take a look at where to best start and how to progress more effectively in that transformation. Notice that I quoted 'Enterprise Agile Transformation' because there are some clues in the name that help us truly map out a far more effective and enjoyable approach to moving along your Agile journey.

I promise you that this session will provide some concrete 'ah-hah' moments that in retrospect will not only make lot's of sense, but also be very pragmatic and do-able.

 
 

Outline/Structure of the Talk

The classic approach to Enterprise Agile Transformation
  • What it can do - what it can't do (why it's flawed)
  • The cruel nature of the first steps and getting unstuck
  • So why all the dis-information?
How people (and organizations) think and act
An Agile approach to Enterprise Agile Transformation
  • Principle #1 - Use the retrospective pattern
  • Principle #2 - A litmus test for true executive sponsorship
  • Principle #3 - Starting you transformation in the right place, and the next place, and the next....
  • Principle #4 - Distributed teams, multi-shore and Agile
  • Principle #5 - Beware the hybrid 'chatter'
Final Thoughts and Next Steps

Learning Outcome

A pragmatic and more effective approach that you can use in whole or in part (practices) to apply and custom fit to your own organization's Agile transformation that will move things along your Agile journey more quickly and painlessly.

Target Audience

Leaders and influencers taking part in an organizational Agile journey

Prerequisites for Attendees

  • Basic understanding of Agile and Lean is helpful, but not required
  • Understanding of organizations throughout the enterprise - or a desire to understand them better

Slides


schedule Submitted 1 year ago

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    There is a shift happening. One that puts the user closer to the center of our work than ever before. We are moving away from the question "Are we building it right?" to asking "Are we building the right thing?" This approach isn't new - it's growing in response to the increasing speed and complexity of competing in today's marketplace. It's founded in human behavior and decision sciences. No matter what you are creating for your customer, there is one thing that unites us: Our customers want products that are simple to use and solve their problem.

    The best tool we have to grow our Product Mindset is a set of principles and techniques known as Design Thinking. This isn't trivial, it's big business. The Design Management Institute's study in 2016 says Design companies outperform others by 211% percent! You know the names; you use the products - companies like Apple, Starwood, Nike, Walt Disney to name a few.


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  • Edward Schaefer
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    Edward Schaefer - Explore EventStorming and Expand Your Facilitation Toolkit

    60 Mins
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    One of the biggest challenges in software development is getting business and technology partners to clearly understand one another and speak the same language. In this session we will learn about EventStorming. A technique to explore a business problem space, EventStorming helps us develop shared understanding and create ubiquitous language so business and technology partners can communicate and work together more easily. We will look at how EventStorming can help us understand the (non-technical) big picture and how we can use it to inform system design.

  • Zach Bonaker
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    Zach Bonaker - “How big is it?”, “When will it be done?”, and how to stop asking the wrong questions

    60 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    “How am I supposed to make decisions in the presence of uncertainty?” exclaimed the manager. “Tell me when the project will be done!”

    It’s a very reasonable desire to want to know when something will be done. After all, it would be irresponsible to make decisions without considering the trade-off of time and money. However, the urge to ask, “When will it be done?” is causing software projects to fail. To improve decision making, we need to stop asking the wrong questions when estimating time.

    If you find yourself in these conversations, you might be wondering what the “right” questions are. In this interactive presentation for managers and team members alike, you’ll learn two simple ways to reframe estimation conversations which greatly improve decision making and forecasting. Further, you’ll see how reframing with the right questions improves relationships, leading to increased trust, safety, and collaboration. Best of all, reframing the conversation takes no permission, budget, or technology; you can start today! Come learn how!

  • William Kammersell
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    William Kammersell / Kristin Johnson - Discovery on Demand: Creating a Pipeline for Weekly User Research

    60 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    Customers must be at the heart of our product strategy, design, and execution, but we kept finding excuses not to engage them: It’s too hard to find customers. I don’t have time to talk to them. Even if I had the time, I can’t get discovery done soon enough and I need to decide now!

    We solved these challenges with Customer Labs, where every Thursday we line up back-to-back 1:1 customer sessions to give us feedback on upcoming ideas and decisions. Employing a combination of tools including Pendo, Calendly, AirTable, and Zapier has drastically reduced the barriers to discovery and made a repeatable process for customer research.

    In this session, we will show how our process works and the lessons we’ve learned along the way. You’ll leave inspired and empowered to create your own discovery pipeline to make customers the driving force in your product development.

  • Randy Hale
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    Randy Hale - Unleashing Teams with Value-Aligned Prioritization and Lean Portfolio Methods

    60 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    One of the simplest, yet all-too-often challenging, factors to help unleash high-performing teams is clarity of priorities. Alignment on the factors that drive value for the organization is a necessary first step. Utilizing a straightforward prioritization approach that enables comparison of varying types of initiatives removes impediments so teams can focus on a clear set of goals without the distractions of 'shoulder tap' requests and ongoing battles over 'what is the highest value thing we should be working on?'.

  • Kim Chiarello
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    Kim Chiarello - Improv Exercises for Creativity, Innovation, and Problem Solving

    60 Mins
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    Have you ever wondered how highly progressive companies are so successful (& fun to work for)? Have you ever wondered how some people are so creative and innovative which leads to their amazing success? The answer is simple. They have mastered/honed their skills in being able to shift from their critical thinking part of the brain to the creative part. And, the good news is that the skills are quite simple to learn and implement!

    All Improv performers use these skills to shine on stage. How do they do it? Before EVERY performance, Improv performers do warm up exercises together to help them shift from their everyday critical thinking brain into their creative brain. And, the good news is that these exercises are quick & simple!

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    Sally Sloley - MasterChef Agile

    Sally Sloley
    Sally Sloley
    Agile Coach
    Sally Sloley
    schedule 1 year ago
    Sold Out!
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    Talk
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    As agile coaches we are often asked by companies to give them what they believe are shortcuts to success. They are scared or unwilling to put in the hard work and want a playbook from someone who was successful to be laid out for them to follow in their footsteps. Explaining why this is not something that will work is often seen as a reason to mistrust coaches. They think we aren’t giving them the quick path because we are just in it for the money. I found a way to help me describe this in a way that makes my clients feel more at ease. Everyone can relate to cooking shows about starting off as a home cook (non-agile organization) and what it involves to become a master chef (an agile organization).

help