In previous posts, we have spent a great deal of time preaching and teaching Agile principles and how they can help transform the world of M&A.
Today, our objective is to provide small, practical steps that can help executives as they work to introduce Agile into the workplace and disrupt the common Waterfall approach.
More specifically, the following three actions have been utilized by Fortune 500 companies with proven success.
John C. Maxwell, considered by many to be a leadership guru, writes “most people don't like change.
They revolt against it unless they can clearly see the advantage it brings.
For that reason, when good leaders prepare to take action or make changes, they take people through a process to get them ready for it.”
Maxwell’s words summarize much of what executives and upper level management do when they begin to introduce Agile methodologies into large Fortune 500 companies. Starting with a small group allows for focused teaching and small bouts of success that can create momentum.
Additionally, leading with and explaining the benefits of Agile methods is simply smart.
People need to understand why a change is taking place, how it will affect their work lives, and why the change is needed. Luckily, Agile makes this last part somewhat simple as the benefits are numerous.
For instance, an Agile-based business or corporation leads to a more interpersonal approach with customers, proper prioritization of tasks, increased communication between employees and work teams, a heightened sense of employee ownership of tasks, and naturally generates an appropriate sense of urgency related to specific tasks.
Once the small group is selected and gains a basic understanding of Agile and its many benefits, it is crucial that a specific team or team member be assigned to the backlog or queue.
Better yet, the designation of the backlog should be its own role since this will play a critical role in the Agile workflow.
Putting emphasis on prioritization will help in the teaching of Agile principles.
Next, to continue the shift to a more Agile approach, large meetings should begin to shrink and be replaced with smaller daily stand-ups; then the daily stand-ups can be broken down to team specific daily stand-ups.
The daily stand-up is a powerful tool because it creates ownership; the team members come to the realization through this close communication and eye-contact that others are dependent on them.
This sense of ownership leads to accountability, focus, and an appropriate sense of urgency.
Of course, this powerful communication moves up the ranks and improves cooperation and relations between different teams as well.
Teams can now see the overarching impact they have, which is often eye-opening and transformative for companies.
Agile companies are more connected to their customers and boast stronger communication skills.
In addition, managers and executives report that becoming Agile yields stronger prioritization of tasks and, therefore, increased efficiency.
Finally, one Fortune 500 executive states that becoming Agile has been “remarkable” from a personnel standpoint, proving once again, Agile is more than a buzzword.