40,000-Foot Rollout View, Take 2

Learn about a more realistic Agile adoption approach.

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Here’s the 40,000-foot view of a more reality-based Agile adoption approach:

Phase 1: Begin with a pilot team. Charter an initial team to trial an approach to Agile development in your organization. Work out the stumbling blocks at the single-team level.

Phase 2: Propagate Agile practices to one or more additional teams. Communicate a detailed vision of how Agile will benefit your organization and the people in it. Describe the benefits realized by the pilot team in detail. Communicate a detailed vision of how the Agile adoption will benefit the specific people on the next teams. Provide explicit training during work hours, coaching, and time to work on the rollout to the new teams. Establish communities of practice and support them. Check in regularly with the new teams, and offer to provide additional support. Work out additional kinks, including inter-team issues. Develop a plan for the level of training and support needed for the wider rollout.

Phase 3: Roll out Agile practices to the entire organization. Communicate a revised vision of how Agile will benefit your organization based on the first few teams’ experience. Describe the benefits realized by those teams in detail, and explain what lessons have been learned that will help guarantee that additional teams will be successful. Listen to people’s feedback, and revise the vision as needed. Communicate the revised vision, and acknowledge that it includes people’s feedback.

Schedule meetings with each person who will be affected by the Agile adoption, and communicate a detailed vision of how the Agile adoption will benefit that person specifically. Prepare for each of these meetings by understanding the individual’s specific case; do not treat the individual as just a generic member of a group.

Describe the specific plan for making Agile successful in your organization. Describe who is leading the adoption effort, what tasks will be needed to make the adoption successful, and the timeline for adoption.

Provide training and coaching during work hours. Emphasize that each team has permission to do the work needed to make the rollout successful. Check in regularly with the teams, and provide additional support. Make staff available to help work out issues within teams and across teams. Explain that challenges are expected and that support will be available when challenges occur.

Overall, apply the idea of Commander’s Intent to the adoption. Set the vision (collaboratively), and then turn people loose to work out the details.

Inspect and adapt

As the rollout continues, refer back to the Domino Change Model periodically, looking for signs of problems in each area. Each adoption is unique in some respects. Be open to feedback and changing direction if needed. This is an opportunity to model Inspect and Adapt behavior at the leadership level.

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