Yesterday (I stayed up past midnight) – I attended two very interesting sessions.
The first was facilitated by Pete Behrens on the subject Agile Transitional Leadership. Basically what kinds of leadership and challenges have people faced as they help transition their organizations to Agile methods. The format was very interesting, we were seated in groups of six – with no tables between us. There were three leaders who spoke about their very different transitions. After each speaker Pete encouraged us to talk about a particular issue they raised and our personal experience with it.
The transitions were the classical scaling up from a small pilot, a CEO mandated adoption and a big bang everyone changes one day.
My key take away points:
- Socialize not Evangelize – too often we become Agile Zealots wanting too push our ideas. This turns people off – better to use the water cooler approach and talk about successes.
- Language – use the language of your audience. Management doesn’t care about sprints and retrospectives. They care about deliverables, risk, effectiveness and productivity. In addition consider the language of Lean. Everyone knows about the success of Toyota.
- Know which fires to fight. Sometimes you can’t solve all problems at once. You need to know which fires will sort themselves out eventually (in this case a team that was struggling to transition) and which need your attention right now.
- Corporate Heartbeat – if you’re doing a large transition it’s important to have the same heartbeat. Teams stay aware of what other teams are doing – it becomes a form of social pressure forcing them to keep up.
I also attended Hubert Smits excellent presentation on Value Stream Mapping – however I’m not sure how to blog about it except to say you should’ve been there.