What it Really Means to Be Agile

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Some teams think they can be agile by using a defined process or set of practices as defined by one of the agile approaches. This is just “doing Agile.” Other teams are agile in name only – the team says it’s “doing Agile” but ends up using the same old practices and achieving the same results. Teams adopt agile for a variety of reasons, but it’s not the process or set of practices they select that produces the results they seek. Teams are most successful when they adopt a particular mindset in order to “be agile”. Join Kent McDonald as he describes this mindset through 7 key ideas based on how people and organizations work best. We’ll discuss some specific techniques you can use to adopt the mindset on your project, how the project manager role changes along with the mindset, and how to help your team move from “doing Agile” to actually “being agile”.

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  • What it really means to "be agile"Some teams think they can be agile by using a defined process or set of practices as defined by one of the agile approaches.  This is just "doing Agile."  Other teams are agile in name only -  the team says it's "doing Agile" but ends up using the same old practices and achieving the same results.  Teams adopt agile for a variety of reasons, but it's not the process or set of practices they select that produces the results they seek.  Teams are most successful when they adopt a particular mindset in order to "be agile". Join Kent McDonald as he describes this mindset through 5 key ideas based on how people and organizations work best.  We'll discuss some specific techniques you can use to adopt the mindset on your project, how the project manager role changes along with the mindset, and how to help your team move from "doing Agile" to actually "being agile".Learning Objectives:§       Understand how the key ideas of agile form a mindset for success§       Learn practical steps to apply the ideas on your projects§       Learn how your role as a project manager evolves with the new mindset.
  • How many people are working on projects using agile? – stand upStay standing if your team talks to your customer at least once a week.Stay standing if you take a few minutes at the end of each iteration to discuss what the team can improve on.Stay standing if you have that discussion, and have some action items that come out of it.Stay standing if you plan at the beginning of each iteration.Stay standing if you make decisions about what to do based on the value you are delivering to your clients.Sit down if your team members are referred to as “resources”
  • Story of a team that as they found out what the various roles were on a project. Some members realized that their skill sets were best used else where, so they brought up that fact and worked with their manager to get on a different project.
  • Frequent delivery allows for frequent learningFrequent learning allows us to revise our approach more often if neededSpend less time doing it wrong, easier to recoverMore opportunities for feedbackCan start receiving value sooner
  • Image Credit: http://safecolawsuit.blogspot.com/2011/08/theres-no-crying-in-baseball-and-there.html
  • BPM Team – At the end of first release content, decided to do an additional iteration to fix testing defects rather than launch into a new iteration of new content to get things under control and to be able to plan a little more for the next release.
  • http://deathstarpr.blogspot.com/2011/11/stormtroopers-wanted-apply-within.html
  • BPM team switching from assigning tasks to setting the board and letting people volunteer
  • $27 Million ERP project was managed based on cost, time scope and was a complete failure because value was not considered.
  • What it Really Means to Be Agile

    1. 1. What it really means to “be agile” Kent J. McDonald @beyondreqs
    2. 2. Agenda Overview Doing Agile vs. Being Agile Key Ideas in Agile What does this mean for Project Managers?
    3. 3. We interrupt this presentation for a quick survey…
    4. 4. Doing Agile Vs.Being AgileFromAgile2012
    5. 5. Doing Agile
    6. 6. Being Agile
    7. 7. What is an agile mindset? People are… A. Cogs B. Resources that need extrinsic motivation C. Human beings with intrinsic motivation.http://finding-marbles.com/2011/12/10/agile-mindset-examples/
    8. 8. What is an agile mindset? People are good at their jobs because… A. They put in effort and always learn B. They’re just more intelligent C. Where I work, no one else is good.http://finding-marbles.com/2011/12/10/agile-mindset-examples/
    9. 9. What is an agile mindset? Decisions are taken… A. By management after conferring with the people impacted B. By management C. By someone up the hierarchy and we never get informed D. Usually by consensus among the people that are impacted E. Implicitly. We muddle through.http://finding-marbles.com/2011/12/10/agile-mindset-examples/
    10. 10. What is an agile mindset? You build the right products by… A. Rigorously analyzing requirements and writing detailed specs. B. Frequently showing it to the customer and prospective usershttp://finding-marbles.com/2011/12/10/agile-mindset-examples/
    11. 11. What is an agile mindset? Retrospectives are… A. Not necessary anymore B. Only done after a project C. A place to rant about the same problems every iteration D. A way to find improvements and implement them. E. What’s a retrospective?http://finding-marbles.com/2011/12/10/agile-mindset-examples/
    12. 12. What is an agile mindset? When trying to improve… A. Not only do we change, we oscillate. B. What is the simplest thing that will work? What can we start right now? Can we use something physical? C. Obviously we need a tool/framework/process. D. We never try to improve.http://finding-marbles.com/2011/12/10/agile-mindset-examples/
    13. 13. What is an agile mindset? When people show undesirable behavior, you… A. Do nothing. B. Give feedback so they might change. C. Give feedback, but also check whether the system inadvertently rewards said behavior D. How should I know what’s undesirable?http://finding-marbles.com/2011/12/10/agile-mindset-examples/
    14. 14. What is an agile mindset? Something needs clarification, you… A. Do nothing. B. Email C. Call them D. Talk to them in person E. Clarify it, but don’t tell anyone so that several people clarify it independently.http://finding-marbles.com/2011/12/10/agile-mindset-examples/
    15. 15. What is an agile mindset? Documentation is… A. There’s none. Haven’t you read the Manifesto? B. Outdated C. Extensive and hard to maintain D. Just enough. When you discover something’s missing, you add that particular part.http://finding-marbles.com/2011/12/10/agile-mindset-examples/
    16. 16. Key Ideas in Agile From Ron Jeffries
    17. 17. KEY IDEAPut peoplewith needsin directcontactwithpeoplewho canfulfill thoseneeds
    18. 18. How we’ve done it.StakeholdersInvolvedonly here
    19. 19. What are yourrequirements?
    20. 20. The stakeholder goes away….
    21. 21. Design
    22. 22. Implementation
    23. 23. 6 Months Later…
    24. 24. Here’s what youasked for, please go test it.
    25. 25. Verification
    26. 26. Thiswhat It’s isn’t what Iyou asked wanted! for!
    27. 27. This doesn’t work.StakeholdersInvolvedonly here
    28. 28. Involve your stakeholders Best: stakeholders sit with project team full time Still quite good: regular touch points with stakeholders Bare minimum: Demo with stakeholders every couple of weeks
    29. 29. Active conversation looking atwork, not a meeting
    30. 30. This also means no intermediaries!
    31. 31. A stakeholder’s perspective“…it [agile] allows for interaction directly betweenthe business and the developers. While waterfallallows the business to review specs prior todevelopment, agile allows the business to see theactual development while it’s in process. We’re ableto see the developer’s interpretation of therequirements before development is completedand make changes/tweaks as necessary. This hasproven to be very beneficial as we’re able to showcode to the end users while it’s still in a state wherechanges can be made.”
    32. 32. KEY IDEAPopulate projects withall the needed peopleand capabilities to getthe job done
    33. 33. Instead of a team built on roles Sr. Lead Development Business Business Lead Analyst Sr. Analyst DeveloperUX Analyst Sr. Developer Architect QA Analyst Project Manager Test Lead
    34. 34. Build one based on skills Analysis DevelopmentTesting UX
    35. 35. Ideal - Build a Real Team 7 +/- 2 People Necessary skills No defined roles Focused on one project Bring work to the team, not the other way around Have them sit together
    36. 36. Making it work Select based on skills, not roles Allow team members to focus for blocks of time (at least half a day) Provide tools to help communication
    37. 37. Selecting a Program Team
    38. 38. What if the team is already formed and a change is needed?
    39. 39. KEY IDEA Build work incrementally andcheck results as you go
    40. 40. Meaningful feedback does not come from specs
    41. 41. Meaningful feedback comes from seeing actual product
    42. 42. We need real feedback sooner than after we’re doneWe really don’tknow if it’s rightuntil here.
    43. 43. The more often we deliver, the more often we learn. Identify Scenario Reflect Change on product results Use product Based on Kolb Learning Cycle
    44. 44. How to increment Organize work by feature delivered Fit work into time boxes Deliver small bits of production quality work at the end of each time box Learn from each delivery.
    45. 45. Incrementing a Data Warehouse
    46. 46. KEY IDEAPrepare for andinfluence thefuture but don’tpredict it
    47. 47. Historic views on plansIt is a bad plan that admits of no modification.Publilius Syrus No [campaign] plan survives first contact with the enemy Field Marshall Helmuth Graf von MoltkeIt is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destinycan be handled at a time.Winston Churchill A good plan violently executed right now is far better than a perfect plan executed next week. George S. Patton[In preparing for battle] I have always found that plans are useless, butplanning is indispensable.Dwight D. Eisenhower
    48. 48. Incorrect assumption about projectsThe Plan is alwayscorrect. Ifsomething does notgo according toplan, we messed upimplementation.
    49. 49. Incorrect assumption about agileAre youplanning? Areyou planning?ARE YOUPLANNING?Theres noplanning!THERES NOPLANNING INAGILE!
    50. 50. Shi[f]t Happens
    51. 51. Planning LevelsProduct vision Yearly by the Product Owner Product roadmap Bi-yearly by the Product OwnerRelease plan ~quarterly by Product Owner and Team Sprint plan Every 2 weeks by the Product Owner and Team Daily plan Daily by the team
    52. 52. “But the Plan said we’re supposed to start on the next release”
    53. 53. KEY IDEAMake tasks concrete andquickly finish them.
    54. 54. Small chunks of value delivered in each iteration
    55. 55. Tasks of 4 – 16 hours to deliver those chunks of value
    56. 56. Wishlisting.org
    57. 57. KEY IDEAGive people work to doand the knowledge todo it, do not push themaround like pawns on achessboard
    58. 58. Shocking AdmissionMost “teams” act more like workgroups
    59. 59. High performing project teams should resemble communities
    60. 60. Shocking Admission #2 People are not “resources”
    61. 61. Treat team members like… people
    62. 62. Shocking Admission #33(a) Multi-tasking isnot effective.3 (b) People do notmulti task. Theyswitch rapidlybetween areas offocus
    63. 63. Let them focus.
    64. 64. “They’ll never volunteer for tasks”
    65. 65. KEY IDEAFocus on providing value frequently andrapidly, not directly on cost
    66. 66. Success is not based on a triangle Scope Cost Schedule
    67. 67. Success is based on meeting objectivesAs Steve Denning would say: “Delighting Customers”
    68. 68. Address first, or phone first?
    69. 69. What does this mean for PM’s?
    70. 70. You need great relationships with your customers
    71. 71. Act like a kid from Ottumwa
    72. 72. Learn the Leadership 2 Step
    73. 73. Channel your inner Coach
    74. 74. Come see my talk this afternoon
    75. 75. Want another perspective?
    76. 76. If you remember nothing else… Doing agile is using techniques Being agile is changing your mindset Tis better to be agile quietly than do agile gregariously
    77. 77. Questions?Kent McDonaldkentjmcdonald@gmail.com@BeyondReqswww.beyondrequirements.comSlides available from:http://www.kbridgepartners.com

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