Agile & Organizational Culture
A splendid way to know if you will succeed at agile in the workplace is to be guided by an agile experience in a volunteer setting, where little is masked. Volunteers became volunteers because, despite jobs, families and everything else in their lives, they see a unique reward from the donation of their time and efforts. The danger of the workplace is that, rather than keeping the eye on the prize, it is too easy for someone to replace the underlying motivational reward by the paycheck. This report shows how a volunteer organization was able to experience and learn the power of agile values.
Values can be powerful forces when applied to a small company. From their seed can come personalized principles and practices. By starting with agile values, and then making them your own, you can instill a creative force for change and adaptation necessary for success. Traditional agile practices become personalized through iterative improvement measured against these values. Different teams can create new practices that are applicable to their discipline. Most important, they frame every conversation and decision, enabling rapid execution and shared vision.
You championed Agile adoption in your organization. Interest grew as your projects become predictable. You led a group of agilists who helped spread the word to more groups. Life was good. Then senior management took notice of the improvements and decided to mandate adoption of Agile. They’ve skimmed some of the books, but don’t have any practical experience. Your agile adoption has just reached a critical stage as it moves from grass-roots effort to management directive. You’re about to lose control of your baby. You’re about to learn that you’ve created a monster.
In our business and personal lives, many of us know leaders who foster environments with incredible creativity, innovation, and ideas—while other leaders try but fail. So, how do top leaders get it right? This session explores ways that leaders create cultures of trust that fosters the free flow of ideas. While we can’t make people trust each other, a culture of trust gives empowerment and provides a safe place to explore and discover new and innovative solutions and new ways of implementing and reaching results. It also encourages healthy risk taking to fail early and correct faster.
When we adopted agile we were not looking to reinvent our human resource policies, but our organization changed in fundamental ways that we did not predict. Peers routinely provide feedback to each other on performance. Team members schedule their own reviews. Everyone on the team has an opportunity to work with clients. Vacation schedules are submitted without regard to project delivery dates. We have programmers who job share, and mothers bring their infants to work.
Because the FBI never stops evolving, High Performance Technologies, Inc (HPTi) found themselves struggling to keep up with the changes and maintain their CMMI III certification. Developers were complaining, clients were getting anxious, releases were slipping; but what was the problem? Was it CMMI? Was it the environment? Was it HPTi? Through a disciplined approach to agile development, we found the answers to our questions above. When you’re dealing with a client who is historically challenged with a continuously changing environment, you better be on your toes.
Summary for Event Guide
A high-performing agile team is tight knit. They have worked hard to become a cohesive unit and have developed a bond. This chemistry can be thrown off balance when someone is added to the team in the middle of a project. It does not matter how flexible, capable, or agile savvy the new team member is. If they have not been involved in the care and nurturing of the team’s culture and is not invested in the same way that the other team members are. When the new team member is not flexible, capable or agile savvy, the effect can be devastating.
Changing the way individuals and teams work is one thing. Changing organizational culture is quite another, especially when so many of us (yes, even us at this conference) have little idea that the assumptions we make, the language we use, the structures we are bound by are the direct antithesis of Agile. Our thinking is locked by the patterns of years and needs to be unleashed in order to make inroads towards cultural change. Using a simple yet effective collaboration game from the Improv tradition this session will challenge our assumptions and open up new neural pathways.
“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” – Chinese Proverb
Agile teams that rapidly learn and apply new-found skills become increasingly adept at embracing change and delivering value. Team members feel more fulfilled, motivated and valued. And they have way more fun!
In this session you will learn about agile learning! Learn to recognize learning moments and put in place effective learning patterns tuned to your team and context. Learn how to build and sustain an effective learning culture on your agile team.
A glimpse behind the scenes of the production of a weekly show like Saturday Night Live offers an incredible example of a team of people who have agility in their DNA. Writers, actors, set designers, producers, studio execs, etc. all have a single-minded focus on delivering an exceptional quality show every single week. Slipping the schedule is not an option. Customer satisfaction (viewer ratings) are the central measure of success. The production team must collaborate and adapt to unexpected challenges every single week.