Being agile means being able to respond to
changes in a timely, effective, and sustainable way.
Agile companies have
1. high strategic responsiveness and
2. high organizational flexibility.
Strategic responsiveness is the ability to sense new risks and
new opportunities in the business environment and to respond quickly.
Respond to the Internet’s impact on publishing by using new channels
such as social media to deliver content to users.
Organizational flexibility is the ability to quickly change
To what extent can supply chain workers quickly find new /
different content materials when products / services change?
What are great agile conditions?
It is easy to get quick feedback from users.
The problem is complex.
Product requirements will change.
Solutions are unknown.
Work can be modularized.
Creative teams will outperform command-and-control groups.
What are examples of work with great agile conditions?
Product development work.
Marketing project work.
Strategic planning work.
Resource allocation decisions.
What are examples of work with bad agile conditions?
Routine operations such as plant maintenance, purchasing,
sales calls, and accounting.
Question # 2
do agile workers have?
Complexity is the enemy of agility. Keep things
as simple as possible as long as possible.
Example: To increase IT agility, reduce the
number of systems.
An important part of agile is to reduce waste.
Waste is anything that does not bring clearly
defined and immediate value.
Role clarity is a highly ranked practice among
agile organizations. When everyone understands
who does what, people can move faster.
People agility means the degree to which
one is open-minded toward others
and enjoys interacting with a diversity of
people, understands their unique
strengths, interests, and limitations, and
uses them effectively to accomplish
For an agile team to be able to adapt, information
must be open and free flowing.
When people share what they do in an open /
transparent way, everyone can see results of the
work quickly and solve problems quickly.
Learning-agile individuals think creatively.
They generate new ideas through their
ability to view issues from multiple
Agile individuals are motivated by learning /
expanding their knowledge.
Learning For success, companies will need to develop a
mindset that accepts failures. Without it,
developers will hesitate to make changes.
Self awareness means the degree to which an
individual seeks personal insight, clearly
understands his or her strengths and weaknesses,
and uses this knowledge to improve performance.
They’re the skeptical members of the team.
The ones always pushing back on the status quo
and forcing the business to rethink
the way it presents itself to its customers.
In an agile environment, change is
acknowledged and accepted.
Adaptability is a highly regarded agile value.
People meet at regular intervals to find out how
we can do things better, for example work more
efficiently and creatively.
At the core of agile are values of flexibility,
individual interaction, focus on outputs,
and collaboration over more rigid
Workers in agile workplaces must be passionate,
adaptive, innovative, and collaborative.
The way to begin is to become autonomous.
Agile workers have autonomy. Instead of a
controlling ideology, the approach is one of
Question # 3
What is the purpose
of the company?
A purpose helps people, who work for a company,
understand why they do what they do.
Question # 4
How do agile workers
work with users?
Agile is neither top-down nor bottom-up: it is outside-in.
The focus is on delivering value to customers.
The customer is the boss, not the manager.
A key feature of being agile is to involve the user
in the development process and use the customer
feedback to improve.
Instead of asking “How can I get customers to
take what we make?”, we have to ask, “What
are the unmet needs of the customer that I
can find ways to satisfy?”
As a user, I need [goal], so that I [receive benefits].
Example of user story
As a user, I need access to quality content, so that I know
how to handle changes in my life.
Some ways to find information to write the user story
Experiment when developing product / service.
Use analytics to find out what users do and do not do with the
product / service.
Ask users what they need / want.
Watch / observe users as they use the product / service.
Using blogs, polls, and other social media, customers
can be involved in the development process.
Regular customer collaboration creates
transparency about the work and
enables a high degree of flexibility.
More customer collaboration.
Less contract negotation.
Question # 5
How do agile workers
communicate and learn?
Openness / transparency is a key agile value.
Open communication can happen through,
for example, blogs, Twitter, and other social
When people share what they do in an open / transparent
way, everyone can see results of the work quickly and solve
Explanation by Jeff Sutherland about the importance of openness / transparency
towards the end of the conversation.
All communication within the agile team must be
addressed to the complete team, including sharing any
documents, release plans or schedules, review requests
and feedback, risks or concerns, and even leave updates.
This builds a complete sense of oneness within the team
and maintains complete transparency at all times.
A major aspect of being learning agile is to continuously
seek feedback from users.
Agile workers give and receive feedback
to each other.
People in the team pass information to each other as they
move towards the goal.
Like people who play for FC Barcelona pass the ball to each
other as they move up the field.
People who work for agile companies, move out of
company boundaries and engage, for example with
people from other companies as well as freelancers,
students, and independent workers in open-source
collaborations using hackathons, working events, various
competitions, social media, and other platforms.
Many organizations perceive social networks as a fragile
system, and capture reduced returns as a consequence.
Social networks are anti-fragile, demanding organizations
to take risks in order to build a more robust system, expanding
their range of opportunities.
Examples include Nestlé and Comcast, that after experiencing
social media crisis learned to reinvent their organizations,
using social platforms to change the way they communicate.
Internet companies like www.wikipedia.org have
harnessed enormous collective power with new
models of collaboration.
To keep all employees focused on the
external environment, DaVita HealthCare
Partners Inc. abandoned the organization chart.
Instead of a controlling ideology, the agile
approach is about enabling self-organization.
Break an organization into small, self-organizing
/ autonomous teams of less than 8 people.
At Spotify, each team manages a piece of the product
that is completely theirs. That way, they’re able to
deploy, change, and upgrade that constantly without
breaking anything else.
Ericsson has divided 2,300 enterprise software
engineers, co-ordinated from Ireland, into more
than 100 small autonomous teams, developing
products in 3-week “sprints”.
A self-organizing team / group decides themselves
1. what problem they want to solve – and why.
2. how they want to work together when creating / building
a solution to the problem.
To be agile, we need to try out things, for example
new methods / tools / platforms / ideas.
That helps us to continuously learn and adapt.
An agile leadership team often authorizes a senior executive to
1. identify the critical issues,
2. design processes for addressing them, and
3. appoint a single owner for each innovation initiative.
A leader’s job is, for example, to find out and
communicate 2 things:
1. What problems need to be solved?
2. Why do these problems need to be solved?
Learning-agile leaders take calculated risks
that lead to opportunity.
Find experts with skills required to solve the
problem and complement what other people
in the team do.
Build agile projects around motivated individuals.
Give them the environment and support they need,
and trust them to get the job done.
It’s better to involve passionate volunteers
than to coerce resisters.
Define work goals
before each cycle starts.
Give people time to complete each sprint.
Make sure that the work proceeds at a
mutually agreeable pace.
Transparency is a key agile value.
Share plan and results with everyone.
Agile managers are enablers, not controllers.
Create flexibility - in time, place,
resources, and processes.
Agile leaders spot and stop behaviors
that impede agile teams.
As agile methods spread to all of Systematic’s software development teams, Michael Holm began
to worry that his leadership team was hindering progress. The agile development teams were
doing things differently, while the management team was stuck doing things the same old-
fashioned way - moving too slowly and relying on too many written reports that always seemed
So Holm decided to run his leadership team as an agile team. The team
eliminated more than half of recurring reports,
converted other reports to real-time systems,
increased attention to business-critical items such as sales proposals and customer satisfaction,
began having daily 20-minute stand-up meetings at 8.40 to discuss what members had done
the day before, what they would do that day, and where they needed help.
began to use physical boards to track its own actions and the improvements coming from the
Other functions, including HR, legal, finance, and sales, now operate in much the same way.
Freedom / autonomy is a
key agile value.
Enable people to decide
things themselves and
serve needs people have.
Agile teams use process facilitators to continually improve
their collective intelligence, for example by
teaching conflict resolution techniques, and
ensuring that team members contribute equally.
Question # 8
What do people do
during work cycles / sprints?
People work to produce something new,
for example a new product / service.
They test it with users every 1 to 2 weeks.
Efficiency is a key agile value. To work effectively, people
clarify roles they have. 3 examples:
1. What does person A do?
2. What does person A decide by herself / himself?
3. What does person A and person B decide together?
Agile is about delivering value to stakeholders early and
often through simple steps:
5. Launch / release.
6. Repeat steps 1 – 5.
Quality should be part of every step of any agile
To identify risks, each sprint should be composed of
1. development, and
Effective testing and innovation activities range from
gathering further intelligence, to trying out new
ideas on a small scale, to implementing full-scale
product development programs.
People, who work for www.spotify.com, do gradual
rollouts to make sure that when a team makes a mistake,
it will only have a small negative impact, i.e. an impact
on a small part of the system.
on few users.
for a short period of time.
Project Loon began with a pilot test in June 2013,
when thirty balloons were launched from New
Zealand’s South Island and beamed Internet to a
small group of pilot testers.
Question # 9
How long are
work cycles / sprints?
Agile methods are a reaction to the
bureaucracy, planning, and inflexibility of
the waterfall approach. Large projects are
chopped into a series of shorter cycles.
A sprint – or iteration – is a predefined, time-
boxed, and recurring block of time, for example
2-4 weeks, in which the product, for example
software, is created.
https://resources.sei.cmu.edu/asset_files/TechnicalNote/2013_004_001_62918.pdf p. 42.
As a rule of thumb, an agile sprint should be
as short as possible and as long as necessary.
What to say during the weekly agile meeting:
1.What do I think worked well this week?
2.What do I think did not work well this week?
3.What do I think we should do better next week?
For question # 3, everyone first makes suggestions.
Then 2 suggestions are picked out to focus on next week.
2 questions for a meeting after a mistake
1. What did we learn from this mistake?
2. In what other ways can we do this?
Examples of numbers to measure if we are doing things better
1. On-time delivery.
Percentage of releases that are released on-time.
2. Customer needs met.
Survey of whether the customers think the delivered product /
service met their needs.
Examples of numbers to measure if we are doing things faster
The time it takes to make a decision.
Examples of numbers to measure if we are doing things cheaper
1. Improved value for money.
Ask customers if they think that the product / service is good value
for money they spend.
2. Time developers use for administrative work.
Examples of numbers to measure if people are getting happier
1. Customer satisfaction.
Ask customers to find out if they are happy with how we work.
2. Team satisfaction.
Ask people in the team to find out if we are happy with the way they work.
Question # 12
How do we get started
Agile work oftens begin in IT, where software developers
are likely to be familiar with the principles. Then agile might
spread to another function, with the original practitioners
acting as coaches.
Example: John Deere.
George Tome, a software engineer who had become a project
manager within Deere’s corporate IT group, began applying
agile principles in 2004 on a low-key basis.
Gradually, over several years, software development units in
other parts of Deere began using them as well. This growing
interest made it easier to introduce the methodology to the
company’s business development and marketing organizations.
Pull resources from businesses / activities that won’t
be relevant / appropriate tomorrow and put them to
work in more relevant / promising opportunities.
Avoid beginning with part-time assignment to
teams or with rotating membership.
Stable teams are 60% more productive and 60% more
responsive to customer input than teams that rotate