Avoid and Overcome Common PITFALL!s in Your Agile Transformation
Creating a sustainable transformation means more than most companies think. In this talk, we’ll review real-world examples and case studies of common transformation pitfalls, how to avoid them, and - most importantly - how to overcome them to get the treasure at the end, just like Pitfall Harry.
Creating a sustainable agile transformation is possible for every organization and company, but there are many pitfalls and obstacles. Some are obvious (not getting the right people to lead it) and some aren’t (does your performance review system support agile?). What matters is knowing what some of those pitfalls are, how to identify when you’ve come across one, and what you need to do to avoid or overcome it.
In my years of supporting and leading transformations, I’ve pretty much seen it all. From a VP of IT who wants to know “when we’ll be done with this agile thing” to a manager who still tries telling teams what to work on daily to executives who think that it’s just everyone else who needs to change. But it’s not just about seeing these problems - it’s about knowing how to mitigate or overcome them. How do you convince that executive that they’re going to have to make changes to support a sustainable transformation? How do you convince that manager to stop telling his people what to do? And how do you help that VP of IT understand that we won’t be “done” with agile - that this is the new way of working?
Outline/Structure of the Talk
- What is an agile transformation?
- The PITFALL!s
- Poor agile practices
- Managerial interference
While that may seem like a lot, I adjust the level of detail for some of these items based on the time available and which topics we cover based on the experience level of the attendees. I also encourage people to reach out for more detailed information. This lecture is part of a book I’m writing regarding sustainable transformations.
Attendees will leave with a deeper understanding of the kinds of common pitfalls I've encountered in my transformation efforts, what I've done to overcome or mitigate them, and how they can apply those techniques to their circumstances. They should understand what kinds of challenges exist and what they can do to go over, around, under, and through those pitfalls.
Transformations can be hard. And trying to coach different levels of an organization or a company compounds that difficulty. And not knowing the lingo and slang of a particular group (HR, Finance, Legal, etc) can exacerbate that even more. And feeling like you have no authority to be talking to these people tends to make it practically impossible.
In this talk, I encourage people to step outside their comfort zones. To challenge the status quo. To “be bold”, as Wikipedia puts it. And to give them understanding and knowledge about what some of these pitfalls are, how to avoid them (when possible), and how to overcome them when you encounter them. I use the Atari 2600 video game PITFALL! as the background for these conversations to make the talk engaging and entertaining as possible.
I’ve been working on enterprise agile transformations for many years and have learned many of these lessons the hard way. I hope that by providing the class with some context and visibility to the problems they’ll encounter - and strategies to move around, over, or through them - that they can experience the benefits that agile can provide in their companies.
Anyone who needs to engage other groups and management in an agile transformation.
Prerequisites for Attendees
Some understanding of basic agile principles and practices. An interest in transformation beyond a single team.