4 Steps to Agile Success with CTE Solutions'


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CTE Solutions presents this quick 4 Step guide for anyone looking to get information on Agile management or agile project management. Agile is an iterative and incremental method of managing the design and build activities for engineering, information technology, and new product or service development projects in a highly flexible and interactive manner, for example agile software development. It requires capable individuals from the relevant business, with supplier and customer input.

This presentation was used as a part of the Smarter Everyday webinar on Oct 31st 2013.

Authors: Ellen Grove and Larry Cooper from BSS Nexus

Published in: Education, Business, Technology
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4 Steps to Agile Success with CTE Solutions'

  1. 1. 4 Steps to Agile Success In partnership with Ottawa / Toronto / Anywhere Live Virtual Instructor-Led / www.CTEsolutions.com / (866) 653-5353
  2. 2. Experiencing massive amounts of change? You are not alone. You are also likely seeing that some organizations are thriving, not in spite of the pace of these changes, but because of them. In fact some companies are the reasons for the changes that are occurring – they are disrupting the status quo. Yet, there are other firms that appear as if they are lost in the wilderness and unable to cope or to understand what is happening or what it is they can do about it. Why is that? If you were to look under the covers or to talk to many of the successful organizations you’ll find that they have embraced Agile thinking and practices. When change is so pervasive, so all encompassing as to what they do, how they do it, and how they organize to do it, these organizations and their people have learned 4 critical steps. Why are organizations looking at adapting Agile practices beyond their software groups? The pace and scale of change is now seismic in nature for many organizations as the business issues they now face have shifted from the discrete problems many of us became good at solving early in our careers, to holistic messes, requiring networked and collaborative approaches to resolve. This has also given rise to a shift in workplace culture where collective intelligence is now valued over individual knowledge and hierarchies are seen as an impediment to timely or even relevant decision-making. Business and IT leaders are finding that the new normal is that there is no normal. Change is happening far too quickly. Ottawa / Toronto / VIRTUALLY anywhere, instructor led / www.CTEsolutions.com / 1 (866) 653-5353
  3. 3. They have therefore come to realize that in order to become more responsive to the volatile business environment that they operate in; they must find ways of delivering value to their customers more quickly and more reliably. And this is happening in all sorts of organizations, from startups like Ottawa firm Shopify, to established firms like GE and even large government organizations like the FBI, CIA, as well as the whole of the UK government who recently made it a policy that all new projects must use Agile practices. What does Agile Accomplish? Improved process – Agile enables streamlining processes and the shortening of delivery cycles so that the right products are delivered sooner. Improves organizational capabilities – because of the emphasis on continuous improvement by the people who are doing the work, an unintended but highly valuable outcome is that adapting Agile practices to your context creates a more capable workforce that is composed of people who are more engaged and invested in the work that they do. The people thereby gain greater autonomy in what they do. Greater autonomy leads to both higher job satisfaction and better performance Ottawa / Toronto / VIRTUALLY anywhere, instructor led / www.CTEsolutions.com / 1 (866) 653-5353
  4. 4. The 4 Steps 1 Engage Early and Often When you embrace Agile ways of working you engage stakeholders – early and often. Rather than gathering requirements and then disappearing into a black box, stakeholders are involved throughout the delivery cycle making value decisions based on ever-changing business priorities on what gets delivered and in what sequence. Because stakeholders are involved at each step, the team is assured that they are building the right things. The stakeholder is also able to re-prioritize and to make changes in what is being delivered right up until the final iteration – change is not seen as something that has to be managed, but rather as something that has to be embraced. It really is a different mindset. Ottawa / Toronto / VIRTUALLY anywhere, instructor led / www.CTEsolutions.com / 1 (866) 653-5353
  5. 5. 2 Develop a Collaborative Whole Team Approach Agile organizations develop collaborative whole-team approaches to planning and delivering work that increase team effectiveness and resiliency and improve overall risk management. The most commonly cited risk in traditional projects and the most cited reason for project failures is the lack of stakeholder engagement. Another is how long you have to wait to see a working product or to see value being delivered to the business. By getting the business to constantly prioritize desired capabilities, it means the less valuable ones will not get built. This avoids the 60-65% of rarely or never used product features that many studies cite as the major reason for cost and schedule overruns as well as the reason that many projects fail. If you only build the 30-40% of what you actually need you avoid these and other areas of project risk. Agile is not about “doing more with less” it’s about only doing those things that create value. Perhaps Agile’s greatest risk avoidance capability is its focus on transparency and trust. Teams and individuals are expected and encouraged to identify and address impediments that can get in the way of delivery goals and objectives – on a daily basis. Risk avoidance, like planning, is a daily activity in Agile work environments. It isn’t in a binder on a shelf that no one ever looks at. Ottawa / Toronto / VIRTUALLY anywhere, instructor led / www.CTEsolutions.com / 1 (866) 653-5353
  6. 6. 3 Create Simple Work Environments The best part is that Agile isn’t based on the use of specific tools and techniques – it’s a mindset based on creating an environment where team members and stakeholders work closely together and share information continuously in order to shorten the feedback loop between having an idea and delivering the work to make it real. Simplicity and hence the active avoidance of unnecessary complexity are fundamental to Agile. So you will find that for many Agile teams, the best set of tools you can give them are a white board and some yellow sticky notes! 4 Develop Capable People A byproduct of Agile’s focus is the development of a highly capable workforce. This highly capable workforce also becomes a highly adaptive workforce that thrives on change and studies have shown that their performance consistently improves over time. Their autonomy is enabled through their ability to self-organize and focus their efforts on the right things at the right time and in the right ways – all without managers telling them to do so! Ottawa / Toronto / VIRTUALLY anywhere, instructor led / www.CTEsolutions.com / 1 (866) 653-5353
  7. 7. What can you do to get started now? Set people up to be successful by working with them to clarify goals and outcomes and then setting them free to figure out how to deliver what’s needed. Second, take a careful look at your work environments and think about what could change to make it more adaptive to the needs of the people who have to do the work. Remember not everything requires big expensive tools – in many cases, Agile teams go decidedly low tech – by choice. Some organizations have come to value the serendipity that occurs when their people interact more – this does not happen when everyone is in high-wall cubes or offices. They also allow their people to re-organize their work spaces as needed based on what they are working on and with whom. Teams form, disband, and reform on their own. Third, start running experiments - try something, inspect how it is working, and then make adaptations based on what you have observed. This applies equally to your product and your processes. Having processes should not turn people into automatons. Processes are meant to guide – not direct our actions. Being able to adjust to the realities of circumstances in situations is critical to being able to embrace change. Ottawa / Toronto / VIRTUALLY anywhere, instructor led / www.CTEsolutions.com / 1 (866) 653-5353
  8. 8. Training with impact! TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT BUSINESS Microsoft VMware Cloud Computing IT and Cyber Security CompTIA Java ProgrammingLanguages Novell UNIX TOGAF Enterprise Architecture ITIL COBiT Agile and Scrum Business Analysis Project Management Change Management Communication Skills Leadership Skills Negotiation Skills Problem Solving Skills Facilitation Skills and many more… Ottawa / Toronto / Anywhere Live Virtual Instructor-Led / www.CTEsolutions.com / (866) 653-5353