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My top 5 Agile success strategies by Julian Holmes


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Julian Holmes supported or led many initiatives to improve individual, team or organisational agility, some with far greater success than others! However, this has led me to discover, employ and learn from a number of different strategies that encourage mind-set change and enable the successful use of Agile practices. In this presentation I will discuss my "Top 5", some of which may be quite common, others that may be quite a surprise, all of which I have experienced in many different contexts and learnt how not to employ as well!

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My top 5 Agile success strategies by Julian Holmes

  1. 1. My Top 5 Agile Success Strategies Julian Holmes HOTEL EUROPE, October 21st
  2. 2. Today’s Presentation • A focus on people and cultural change • Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools • Experiences has led me to discover, employ and learn from a number of different Agile success strategies • I will share my Top 5 • Some perhaps are “common sense” • Others a little different ANECDOTES AHEAD
  3. 3. Introduction to ThoughtWorks Over 20 years 42 offices 15 countries 4500 people #1 in Agile CD We are a group of passionate individuals and a software solutions leader with technology at our core. Over time we’ve grown to incorporate an experience design practice and organisational development capability to help our clients to build solutions loved by their customers, as well as helping to grow and exercise the organisational muscles that embed successful innovation. • Our mission is to better humanity through software and help drive the creation of a socially and economically just world. We bring together the most capable, driven and passionate people. We call ourselves “ThoughtWorkers”
  4. 4. Avoid the A-word HOTEL EUROPE, October 21st
  5. 5. Avoid the A-Word • Be the last person to say it • Doing it is not the objective • It’s also not “fairy dust” • We improve capability by • Decreasing Risk • Increasing Effectiveness • Focusing on • Collaborating • Shortening feedback loops • Adapting • A***e will help • But don’t measure “it”!
  6. 6. Prepare the Ground HOTEL EUROPE, October 21st
  7. 7. Prepare the Ground • Understand the reasons for change • People must see the problem to accept change • Engage people at all levels • The “permafrost” is difficult to thaw • “Special” briefings • Communicate • Share success and how it feels • Warn of “exposing the elephant” • Educate • Use games for the principles • Mix with just-too-late learning
  8. 8. Manage the Dogma HOTEL EUROPE, October 21st
  9. 9. Manage the Dogma • “dogma” noun • a fixed, especially religious, belief or set of beliefs that people are expected to accept without any doubts • “That’s not what the method says!” • Values and principles over method religions • No “one method to rule them all” • Many method sources apply to many different contexts • Understand practices and their value in each context BEWARE OF THE ZEALOTS
  10. 10. Create a Placeholder for a Conversation HOTEL EUROPE, October 21st
  11. 11. Create a Placeholder for a Conversation • Working method over comprehensive documentation • No-one will read a big method • “RTFM” also doesn’t work • Start light… collaboration will get it right • Roughly right vs. accurately wrong • Leave gaps for context-rich practices • If it works, collaboratively share it • Use a collaborative wiki
  12. 12. Start Small, Learn Quick, Scale Slow HOTEL EUROPE, October 21st
  13. 13. Start Small, Learn Quick, Scale Slow • Be patient, there is no Miracle Gro! • Find a painful end-to-end “thin slice” • Start with a Futurespective • Increase transparency, visualise flow • Address bottlenecks, review and improve • Support with expertise • Communities are key • Share successes and lessons for change • Install a culture of Retrospectives • Eventually, consider practices from Agile scaling frameworks
  14. 14. In Summary HOTEL EUROPE, October 21st
  15. 15. In Summary My Top 5 Agile Success Strategies: 1. Avoid the A-word 2. Prepare the Ground 3. Manage the Dogma 4. Create a Placeholder for a Conversation 5. Start Small, Learn Quick, Scale Slow Questions? BEWARE OF THE ZEALOTS
  16. 16. THANK YOU! Julian Holmes