Last week I had the privilege of doing some training at a company that had previously been following waterfall and more traditional approaches. Call it a jump-start, the idea was to do a minimal amount of training, help them get a backlog together, and then start “sprinting” as soon as possible.
I do this fairly often, but this group caused me to reflect a bit. Here are some thoughts…
I wanted to sit down with the leadership team and privately explain some of the challenges and changes that “going Agile” would mean to them. To their credit, they engaged, they asked questions, and they sought to understand.
The CEO at one point made the comment that –
This is a “Leap of Faith” isn’t it Bob? We’ll have to trust the teams and guide their progress. But the impetus is on us to support this change, but also get out of the way.
From my perspective, that was an ah-ha moment for them and I felt that the leadership team by-and-large “got it”. That doesn’t always happen and I was incredibly proud of them.
After some training, we got the teams together and did a bit of release planning, backlog grooming, but then jumped into planning their first sprint. There was some discussion early on about what tools to use, but I convinced the teams to use simple walls, boards, post-it notes, and flip-charts.
There were defining moments across the two teams who were starting and planning, where both teams “jumped up” to the sprint boards. They move cards, talked about the work, estimates, workflow & strategy and how much they could commit to.
They were energized, focused, and engaged. It was THEIR plan and clearly they were taking OWNERSHIP of the work. If you asked my now, I would deny it, but I think a small tear came to my eye. They “got it”.
I guess the point of this post is to celebrate my client. Sometimes I forget how exciting it is for a new organization and teams to “go Agile”. Particularly when they are open-minded and commit to the change. It’s incredibly energizing for them and for me as their coach.
It’s an honor to guide teams toward agility and one that I never want to become complacent about or take for granted. I humbly thank these folks for allowing me to work with them in their journey. And allowing me the privilege of seeing the “Lights going On”. I only hope their journey continues…
I love my job ;-) Thanks for listening,
**Note: the photo is from Wikimedia Commons - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Film_Crew.jpg