Friday, November 18, 2016

How can I have Agility in non-IT Departments? combined with Agile Beyond Software: It is time to go mainstream?



Initiators:
Rick Reguieire
Suzanne Daigle

Notetakers:  Alison Ramox an d Suzanne Daigle

Participants: Dorothy Stewart, Christina Alonso, Catherine Peck-Phillips, Stephanie Coleman, Lynn Flannery, Mark Hernandez, Mira Welsh, ? DaSilva, Diana Flores, Curtis Michelson, Alexis Martin, Monique Hacker, Kenneth Ashley, John Long, Josh Fruit, Salena Vitkovic, Alison Ramox, Vicki Braun, Angela Adams

Initiators describe the "why" behind their topic. 
Rick indicates he's been with Agile for 6 years, now tasked to work with the business units to take it beyond technology. At the leadership level, often beat to a different drum, can be overwhelming when the organization is not familiar with Agile.  Want to hear lessons learned from others.

Suzanne: deeply committed to Agile beyond Scrum. Has a business manufacturing background, Sees huge opportunity to bring Agile methodology and thinking to business thinking. Lots of waterfall in management. 

Participants jump in to describe why they joined this topic:
Not always receptivity at first, language is unfamiliar, we can appear to be talking above people's head. We need as a people to step back, make it relatable. For example drawing the parallels to waterfall. 

Valpak rep talks about their company where every team is doing Kanban. "you'd be surprised to see how much people are taking it in" 

Another individual working in a Fortune 100 company helping the organization transform. Been going slow due to size but describes that the business units are starting to see this as "interesting"; it's gaining traction.  Important to go in with  "invitation", not imposing. Nor should we be going in with solutions, best to get into the pain points and where we can help.  Helpful if we're describing patterns when visualizing the work, give 3-hour sessions. As IT, we have to become more comfortable with the diversity and creativity, to be ok with divergence from how we might be doing it.  Working towards building communities of practice. 

Mark comes from strictly technology.  In approaching others he suggests 4 approaches to take: 
  1. Create Empathy..show that this can work
  2. Use a common language
  3. Get leadership to buy in
  4. Develop habits, patterns of behaviors, look for opportunities to inject new ways of doing
The challenge remains with leaders...not being open. To illustrate, one participant mentions telling a VP in a coaching way that people were afraid of him. The response was "Good". 

A former GE colleague with depth of experience on project management and great convictions around the benefits of Agile was working with a company interacting at the C-suite level as the only female and being told that she is not to talk at the meetings, also being told by the execs in so many words to dummy down her communications.  At a certain point she said, you have to know when to "unhitch your wagon"... she left the company. 

A participant working in Operations describes how people in that sector have no clue what Agile is. Her approach is to relate it to issues they are experiencing, for example solving a staffing problem.  Also agree to let people come to it on their own terms, to relate it to internal/external pain points 
Sell Agile by what it can do for them; 

That said there might be limits to meeting people where they are, These times may call upon us to take a bigger leap.  Another idea is to recruit allies (high performers in the organization, don't necessarily need to go to the top.

Don't have to go all the way, benefits to going forward with small tweaks, introducing Kanban to start the conversation (so many applications for it). Promote the value of visibility and transparency.

Take "small win" approaches. It works.  in the Fortune 100 company referred to previously, have seen major change, we're still figuring it out but there is major progress. Expose the wins; adopt and trasnform. 

Suggestion to use language of "experiment". Choose an issue, ask for a team for 6 months, you're lowering the risk.

Having skunk teams with diverse members working on projects showing wins can have a huge impact. A more grassroots approach rallying together high performers at different levels of the organization.  Invite younger generation to be the communicators of the success stories. Leaders will be floored and will be impressed especially if these stories can speak the business issues, progress and results. 

Pay attention to how your work environment looks, to the physical space in your work area. Using your computer on bean bags. Coloring books (helps to make your mind think).  That's what one company did. Did not happen overnight but it's getting noticed.  People will say: what's happening in IT, becomes cool, piques curiosity with people being attracted and asking "What are you guys doing?" 

Others words of wisdom: 
There is no end to change.  It's be uncomfortable. What does disruptive change mean? 

Make friends with folks in IT  - often there's a divide between them and other sectors. It's a two way street, we need to bridge this divide. 

Scrum is going mainstream. It's still below the radar though. Time for it to bubble up to the surface. Present successes to the C-Suite, speak in terms of  ROI. Increased visibility in the leadership world (Harvard Business Reviews and other business media) showing the power of Agile. Leaders will soon start realizing that they don't want to be left behind.  It's up to us to mention books, articles and Ted-Talks that are out there. Teds are good for the short attention span. 

Recommended reading: 
Radical Management by Steve Denning
Team of Teams 
Ted Talk : Simon Sinek "The Power of Why"

Plea for Valpak to do their own Ted Talk.  Many attendees have heard of or have visited Valpak. Huge value seeing it directly, makes it more real and relavant with stories on how it can be done and is being done. 

Agile not just a process.  Use Agile and become Agile, lead by example.  Scrumming, it's a verb

Humorous family story: "Mom," says a young daughter "You're scrumming me again."  


Agile Florida:  WE should create a movement around Agile beyond Software. A lot of dynamic 
things happening in Florida.  We need to spread the word, build on what's happening. Check Daniel James Scott. Connect and partner with Universities and Colleges (good stuff happening).  

Closing Call to Action:  Let's make Florida Agile... We become the Silicon Valley of Agile.  Go beyond being a beach or retiree community. 





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