Scrum/Kanban: how to create “desire”? – Workshop on 26 April

Scrum/Kanban: how to create “desire”? – Workshop on 26 April

An Agile Mëtteg workshop took place in Agile Partner premises on 26 April 2012. The topic of this workshop was about finding the best way to convince an organization to go Agile. 11 people participated in the workshop and 3 of us, Agile Partner consultants, were there to facilitate the session.

After a brief introduction, we formed 3 groups to discuss the proposed topic and following 40 minutes of intense debate each group shared a summary of the arguments that were analyzed around the table.

At the beginning we acknowledged that Agile should be considered as a potential solution / improvement to a given unsatisfactory situation. Thus it is critical to understand that issue, which is the potential justification of the Agile transition (the “Why”).

Then it is critical as well to identify the decision makers, “Who” should be convinced. Those people have their own agenda, objectives, fears and profile, both from a personal and from a corporate point-of-view. Understanding this context is essential to define the right strategy for introducing Agile. When stakeholders have objections, it might not be really effective to try to formulate logical and objective arguments, as they can always find additional objections. Rather it may be a good idea to define a specific approach for meeting their true goals.

A typical example is when middle-managers are afraid of loosing cost control over a projet that would be managed in an Agile way. In this case it may be necessary to include additional cost indicators to the project dashboard, so that it offers also high visibility on this specific aspect.

In the end, it appears that the best way to convince of the benefits of Agile is to show it in action and to demonstrate actual results. Typically starting a pilot Agile project allows to start learning how to deliver quality software frequently, which allows to build trust between the team and its customers, which finally allows to enter into a different kind of discussion about the business requirements, their granularity and their prioritization.

In conclusion we also advised to engage the stakeholders in “serious games” and similar activities (see our Agile Mëtteg in April 2011), which help to address the emotional side of the Agile transition process.

Based on the participants’ feedback, that session was well worth the time invested. It was highly interactive and I believe everybody could take new ideas away. We look forward to meeting you at our next Agile Mëtteg workshop!

Sylvain Chery

Sylvain is co-founder and Managing Partner of Agile Partner. He is an entrepreneur, passionate about making things happen. He grew from analyst to Agile coach, with enthusiasm about technology and profound respect for people. He now focuses on transforming organizations for more efficiency, innovation and happiness at work. Sylvain is also a volunteer co-organizer of Luxembourg Startup Weekend, and coach for the Fit4Start program (cycle 3).

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