Structure & Culture; Two ignored aspects of Agile Transitions
Many adopting organisations treat Agile like a shiny new project management overlay for development teams and invest their entire energies to extract every ounce of productivity without any significant structural or cultural changes to support it. This talk discusses the symptoms commonly found in such large scale product development agile adoptions. With structural and cultural changes being the focal point, the session then describes the principles of Lean Thinking & Agile and how these can be used as growth tools for organisations in such a context. The principles are followed by set of experiments/practices and how each one of these relates to the laws of organisational behaviour and how it influences both culture & strategy. The talk is supplemented with anecdotal observations, experiments that failed and learning from these experiments. Though mostly framework agnostic, the attendees will get some flavor of commonalities between scaling frameworks like LeSS/SAFe/Nexus and would be able to take home some improvements that they can readily apply to set on an inspect/adapt journey of their own.
Outline/Structure of the Talk
- Introduction (~5 minutes)
- Symptoms of Dysfunction (~15 minutes)
- Failure-averse Culture
- Individual Appraisals
- Hand offs, Big Batches
- Waste of Variability
- Sprints without PSPI etc.
- Organisational Growth Tools (~15 minutes)
- Managers as Teachers
- Adaptive Performance Review
- Feature Teams
- Requirement Areas
- etc. (each tool discussed will be referenced back to underlying principles of lean & agile e.g. feature teams is based on 'removal of queues' managers as teachers based on "Genchi Genbutsu", etc.)
- Suggested Experiments/Practices (~15 minutes)
- Employee Engagement Survey
- Communities of Practice
- Joint Sprint Review
- Unified Product Backlog
- Conclusion and Q&A (~5 minutes)
Today, many medium and large organisations are taking the Agile route for their product development work. If not implemented properly, nuisances like micro management, local optimisations, contracts designed to transfer blame, dependency hell, overly complex processes/roles and delayed time to market are common sightings. Workforce world-over is split between going back to their traditional project management methodologies, shunting the Agile process entirely or using a half-baked Agile implementation. All of these do not unfold the full potential promised and delivered by simple principles of Agile & Lean.
This talk tries to make amends by highlighting the core issue and the symptoms that attendees can use as litmus test in their own working environments. For practitioners having experienced Agile at a team level and ready to start their journey for Advanced Agility, this session will present underlying principles of Agile at scale . The principles will be complemented with a set of experiments that have worked for a large set of large-scale, multi-site, distributed teams across the globe in variety of industries. Intended audience include traditional functional managers, organisation change agents, Scrum Masters, Product Owners or anyone interested in reducing organisation's cycle time. Equipped with knowledge of underlying principles and their interplay at scale, the attendees should be able to run these experiments with confidence with their own inspect & adapt cycles to make adopt/discard decisions.
Agile Practice Lead, Agile Transition Manager, CxO, Agile Coach, Scrum Master, Product Owner, Delivery Lead, Engineering Manager
Prerequisites for Attendees
Though the principles discussed are applicable to any Agile transition, the people who have been involved in complexity of product development with multiple teams would benefit most out of this session. Having exposure to such working environment will prepare you to appreciate the discussion.