While most of the Agile community is comfortable promoting Agile and Scrum practices as relatively simple and straight forward, they overlook the fact that in many organizations these new “required” practices are anything but simple to implement. The reality is that there are devilish details to concern yourself with when nurturing Agile process, planning, engineering and organizational change that you wont read or hear about from those promoting “Agile by the book”.
So, since others won’t point out these “gotcha’s”, the least I can do is point our pitch-fork at them so you can address them pro-actively. Cross those T’s and dot those I’s by putting these top five on your list.
First, and foremost, pay attention to your Managers. Managers under undue pressure to succeed may grab onto the Agile practices quickly BUT they may not fully understand them. Help them by providing daily coaching on the process until they have it internalized and you’re confident they’ll stay the course.
Second, get ready to EDUCATE your stakeholder community, frequently and often regarding replacing old ways of reporting project status with a new set of Agile reports. Expect that your stakeholders will often DEMAND that you continue to produce the old reports even while your Agile tools are producing more useful and actionable information. Assume this will happen and plan a recurring set of educational sessions where you explain and illustrate the value of the new Agile information “status reports“. Eventually you’ll succeed, but it will take time, you will rarely find stakeholders willing to accept a hard cut-off from the “old to the new”.
Third, provide that ‘shoulder-sitting angel’ to constantly remind your team members that they have what it takes to be SELF-DRIVEN. If your constituents are used to being controlled it may take them a while before they can self-organize and make the most of their new found FREEDOM. Be patient. Be persistent.
Fourth, and this one’s a tough one, how do you get everyone on the same playground sharing the toys? Shoving everyone into one conference room or requesting facilities to move cubicles or offices is not going to do it. Yet, somehow for agile to really work different functions have to congregate on the same playground – even if that playground changes locations frequently. Find ways to be flexible and mobile – things like sticky notes, portable easels and a sense of humor are keys to making this happen.
Fifth, remember Rome was not built in a day. Be patient with your organization as you transition from your traditional methods to agile. Don’t be offended when your request for full-time resources is not granted. Take what you can get and build from there. The proof of success will give you the clout to request more and more of your resources time.
I am sure there are other seemingly innocuous details with which to be concerned. I invite you to add to my list. What other devilish details need to be pro-actively addressed as an organization transitions into the agile world? Share it with us and if we include your suggestion on a follow-up blog article your next trip to Starbucks is on us!