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We made agile look hard & why it doesn't have to be

We made agile look hard & why it doesn't have to be

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Christian van Stom learned Scrum on the cusp of the dot com bubble bursting. He has led multi-functional teams across 3 industries, and technical, marketing, sales, customer service and operational squads.

An enterprise agile coach role lured him north to Brisbane, to the finance sector where he was to lead the transformation of a 300-person enterprise. Hear his real life account of the challenges and learning of embedding real agile ways of working in a highly acquisitive business, moving at an incredible pace run by an ex-serving, paratrooper legionaire.

Christian van Stom learned Scrum on the cusp of the dot com bubble bursting. He has led multi-functional teams across 3 industries, and technical, marketing, sales, customer service and operational squads.

An enterprise agile coach role lured him north to Brisbane, to the finance sector where he was to lead the transformation of a 300-person enterprise. Hear his real life account of the challenges and learning of embedding real agile ways of working in a highly acquisitive business, moving at an incredible pace run by an ex-serving, paratrooper legionaire.

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We made agile look hard & why it doesn't have to be

  1. 1. We made Agile Look Hard And why it doesn’t have to be
  2. 2. We made Agile look hard - the story (pre-covid) - Working in a large company with a US Parent company - Embarked on an agile @ scale journey - Hired Consultants who were located in a different state - low availability - Started with Scrum - by the book, in IT complete with hardening sprint - Scaled through one of the Less complex scaling models - Training on demand - in-house - Organic expansion of teams from IT outwards - Creation of an Agile culture bubble within organisation - Agility of the system exceeded the capability of Leadership - Misaligned Organisation Culture and Command and Control Leadership - Lack of alignment between Product and Development - Lack of alignment between HR and Agile - Ultimately transformation died out - but with pockets of success
  3. 3. What did we get right? - Embraced experimentation - Team Self-selection - Team engagement - Leadership development - Focused on customer outcomes - Highly responsive to change - Engaged team at all levels of the organisation - Leadership misalignment - Transformation “insourced” - No transformation roadmap - Coaches as experts - Top-down assessments - No training plan - Agile teams as gold standard - Focus on process over people What did we get wrong? Are we the only ones that did that?
  4. 4. Although a large number of companies are practicing Agile - of those that are, 46% have less than half of their company on board. Participation in Business Agility
  5. 5. What we faced was an ambition that was outweighed by challenges in the system - Ambitions: prioritisation, delivery, productivity, alignment, quality, predictability - Challenges: the harder you push, the slower you go Ambition vs Challenge
  6. 6. - Inconsistent processes and practices - Culture at odds - Resistance to change - Lack of skills and experience - No leadership participation - Inadequate support - Insufficient training and education Turns out we weren’t alone
  7. 7. We made Agile Look Hard
  8. 8. Seems Easier, Feels Harder Hierarchy Command and Control Bureaucratic Jargon, confusing Unclear Push, fast, adhoc By the book Planned Rigid Fixed Specialised Diversity Inclusive, collaborative People centric Common, clear Aligned Pull, productive, predictable Experimentation, Test and Learn Just-in-time Adaptable Fit for purpose Cross-functional Seems Harder, Feels Easier Culture Leadership Behaviours Language Purpose Pace Prescription Support Flexibility Tools Skills Focus Example Agile Shift focus to the right to shift outcomes to the right
  9. 9. And why it doesn’t have to be (hard)
  10. 10. Here is how we can make agility easy - Co-design an organisational growth plan - not a transformation roadmap - Focus on your purpose, your north star, not agility and not “Agile” - Focus on Leadership Alignment - design your leaders - Don’t outsource your transformation - Co-create the Culture you Desire - Align the capability, readiness and organisational growth plan - Enable team and individual health checks and invest in personal growth - Focus on people over process - Create a pull based environment, remove bottlenecks and waste - Encourage experimentation and continuous improvement
  11. 11. Co-design an organisational growth plan Purpose Leadership Culture Capability Readiness
  12. 12. Focus on your purpose, your north star, not agility, not “Agile”
  13. 13. Focus on Leadership Alignment - design your leaders
  14. 14. Don’t outsource your transformation
  15. 15. Co-create the Culture you Desire
  16. 16. Align the capability, readiness and organisational growth plan OKR Purpose Set up for success workshop Leadership Inspirational Leadership Training OKR Culture Riders with Elephants Workshops OKR Capability Agile Foundations for Teams OKR Readiness Agile Team Health Growth Plans OKR Kaizen Organisational retrospectives OKR Start Outcome Capability event
  17. 17. Enable team and individual health checks and invest in personal growth
  18. 18. Focus on people over process
  19. 19. Create a pull based environment, remove bottlenecks and waste
  20. 20. Encourage experimentation and continuous improvement
  21. 21. And just remember - Try your best with the skills and knowledge you have at the time - Take time regularly to reflect - And if it isn’t working, try something different - You’re always succeeding more than you’re failing - Never give up - You can’t fail christian.vanstom@gmail.com

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