In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the importance of positive morale throughout an Agile transformation, comparing it to a “Sleeping Giant” that can make or break the success of that transition. But how, exactly, are attitudes improved (or, better yet, positive from the start)? Communicating wins early and often is a big part of a successful Agile transformation including both wins in code delivery and wins in attitudes. What are some possible reasons for increased morale throughout a move to Agile?
There is no shortage of Agile transformation efforts across many industries in 2017. There is also no shortage of artifacts to monitor Agile Readiness and Evolution throughout each stage of the process. But some of the most important elements of a transformation are also the most difficult to monitor: those concerning the state of team morale.
Nearly every organization is faced with a common problem: getting key stakeholders to agree to and deliver a solution that achieves shared business goals. Why is there a constant disconnect between stakeholders? Often, it comes down to communication. Different stakeholders come from different backgrounds, have different measurements of success, and communicate differently. Therefore, stakeholders regularly approach a project from various angles, making it very difficult to define the project vision, tactical objectives and subsequent requirements. This process can be frustrating and can lead to either IT or the business taking control to move the project forward.
For a successful agile team, a proper backlog is as important to success as air is to breathe. Neglect the backlog and allow disorder and non-precedence to creep in. The result? Teams who thrash – trying desperately to determine what to work on, suffering from bad habits once extinguished, and losing the the agile culture and mindset you’ve worked so hard to foster begins to falter. Teams who are led astray from their backlog are not uncommon, but there are a few categories of mistakes and mis-steps that seem to repeat themselves most frequently. In today’s blog we’ll review these common challenges and discuss best practices to overcome them.
Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) has become a leading methodology to scale Lean and Agile principles from individual teams to the program and portfolio levels. As enterprise teams adopt agile practices, some common problems they incur when developing large solutions are misaligned priorities, lack of cross functional team collaboration, and system architectures that do not scale or integrate efficiently. This is where SAFe comes in. SAFe provides direction on how to solve common business and information technology (IT) problems to ensure teams are aligned in terms of strategy, process, and solutions.
Agile methodologies, and specifically Scrum, is rapidly increasing in popularity and most teams can benefit from the increased collaboration, communication and transparency that it brings. Is it possible to benefit from the increased collaboration, communication, and transparency Agile brings at home?
A while back I was chatting with a friend in the aviation industry and he offered an interesting explanation of how a jet engine works. In any combustion engine there are four distinct steps (strokes if you’re a gearhead):
Intake: Air is pulled into the intake feeding the compressor
Compression: The turbine compresses the air mixture to the optimum pressure for combustion
Combustion: Fuel is added and ignited. The rapid expansion of this controlled explosion pushes the air to the exhaust.
Exhaust: The exhaust gases produced by combustion propel the engine while fresh air is pulled into the intake continuing the rapid, highly efficient cycle.
The two minute drill has been a staple of football since players were strapping on leather helmets. While it has produced many dramatic finishes to football games over the years, the two minute drill is equally likely to end in disappointment. In the 1980’s the Cincinnati Bengals took this concept and turned it on its head by asking “what if we applied the underlying concepts of the two minute drill to the preceding 58 minutes of the game?” The result was an offensive juggernaut that by 1988 would land them in the Super Bowl. Although I didn’t realize it at the time as I watched the Bengals season unfold week by week, I was learning lessons that would ring as true in my work as an SEI consultant as they do on a Sunday afternoon in front of the TV.
Agile methods show great promise, delivering business value in environments where traditional (waterfall) models struggle. Despite a growing number of success stories, many projects can still be classified as failing or, at the very least, challenged. Over the years I’ve observed many teams with varying degrees of success. Of those most successful, I found a few common traits stemming from a fresh mindset both organizationally and individually.
In our first post of this series, we discussed how to identify opportunities where Agile can be used in BI\DW enterprise initiatives and how to begin planning for implementation. So you have an eager agile team, prioritized business functionality, a system design, an invested business owner, and a desire to make each iteration better than the last. Smooth sailing from here on out, right? Unfortunately, that isn’t usually case. Every project, including BI/DW projects, will have pitfalls and challenges. However, you can avoid these pitfalls and gracefully face these challenges with some lessons learned and best practices derived from the experience of teams who have successfully made the leap to agile BI/DW.