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Golden Keys to Unlock Agile Success

Communication and Education before Collaboration 

An engineer attending a recent DevOps FND class for certification said “OMGosh! I have been trying to do DevOps and I really did not understand what it really was!” He knew that a self-organizing team was defined as a group of motivated individuals who work together toward a goal, have the authority to take decisions and readily adapt to changing demands. Solutions are derived from inter team collaboration. Innovation is the name of the game for digital transformations. All true but … “authority” without ability is dangerous. 

Let’s not forget that before these teams are able to recommend innovative ideas for improvement that we must communicate the strategy and outcomes that deliver value. Also true is the fact that we must educate teams to continuously enhance their skills. 

Challenge: During your next virtual or face to face meeting with staff, ask a few questions to validate that all are on the same page. You could ask “What is Agile?”, “What is DevOps?”, or a real good one is “What is the difference between Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment?” One approach is to pass around sticky notes to the group and ask them to put their answer to the one question you give them onto the note. Pick a question that is relevant to your transformation. If you have 10 people in the room and you get 10 different answers, this is a good indicator that some communication and education is necessary. Without the communication and education collaborative teams may not have the ability to innovate at the speed of need and ideas may be subjective. Results, “The way we have always done this”. Lack of education is high risk. 

Focus on the Value Stream 

Certified Agile Service Managers take Agile beyond development because they know that Agile Service Management requires the entire value stream to be Agile. Example: If a change request takes a week to authorize mid-stream in the delivery pipeline, what did you gain from the speed for which the developers and engineers were able to produce? You cannot silo Agile. The value stream for delivery of a product or service includes all stakeholders and activities from idea to delivery of value. Value is a means of delivering a service by facilitating the agreed upon outcomes that are agreed to with our customers. The value stream in its entirety must produce at the velocity of business cadence. DevOps does not stand alone. AGILE, ITSM and LEAN along with other methods and principles are like tools in a tool box. Don’t limit what you can achieve by limiting your tools. Aim high for fast resilient delivery of value. 

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