Apr 30, 2021
Oftentimes, when organizations bring on Agile Coaches, they want to be (or expect to be) taken on a linear path with Agility (AKA point A to point B). However, there is a lot that happens along an Agile transformation journey that interrupts this path of “point A to point B.”
Today’s guest, Quincy — a Director in AgileThought’s Innovate Line of Service — refers to these as “excursions.” In an Agile transformation journey, it is crucial to explore these excursions and understand all of the pieces that you should put into place to ensure their success.
In this conversation, Quincy explains what excursions are, why they are important; the different types of excursions that can occur during an Agile journey; the key areas of sustainability, consistency, competency, and maintenance in an excursion; and the important pieces that leadership support and communication play in an excursion’s success.
What are “excursions?”
Excursions are detours that happen along an Agile transformation journey
These excursions often involve many different facets
An excursion could be taking a business outcome (such as “better speed to market”) and getting more specific and nuanced on it
An excursion is still part of the transformation journey (so you can’t isolate it from the work that the teams are doing)
Several excursions can occur at the same time
What are some of the types of excursions that can occur during an Agile journey?
Clarity of desired business outcomes
Better speed to market
Introducing a new product
Introducing a product that you already have into a new market
Quincy’s advice about excursions:
Sometimes you may have to bring on a new expert during an excursion that specializes in that specific area and bring them into the journey (in cases like these, it is important to acknowledge your and your team’s knowledge barriers)
Really consider who should be a part of each particular excursion
There are many aspects to the Agile transformation and many different types of excursions — it is important to not box things in and know that it is a multifaceted journey
Advice around the Agile approach to excursions:
Sometimes Scrum might not always be the best fit for your organizations so it is important to have an excursion that serves as an evaluation to figure out which Agile approach is best for the team/s (and which approach is best where — because there may be more than one approach [alternatively, agility might not even be the right approach at all])
Excursions should also be taken to discover which methodologies and frameworks should be used
Some organizations, when they’re new in their transformation journey, tend to make assumptions rather than take excursions (but it’s crucial as an organization to take excursions because no two companies are alike and one company’s approach may not work for yours)
Experimentation in and of itself can become an excursion
Areas of sustainability, consistency, competency, and maintenance in an excursion:
In aiming towards sustainability, it is important to ask whether or not you have put the pieces of the puzzle in place so that the system can run on its own
You can’t reach sustainability without consistency
It’s important to have a consistent definition of “done” (if every team has a different definition, it will be hard to consistently deliver quality)
Leverage the strengths that are already within the teams and company
Though the maintenance is part of the journey, it’s more so post-journey and is becoming more and more critical for companies to do
Maintenance is really critical — Ask yourself: How do you maintain what has now been transformed? How do you maintain the culture that you’ve now built, the consistency that you have put in place, and keep a freshness to the cadences of the workflow?
If you don’t have a maintenance piece in place, many of your efforts will be derailed
Your excursions need to have sustainability, consistency, and an understanding of what maintenance is going to look like from the get-go
The important pieces of leadership support and communication in an excursion:
Consistency and sustainability need to be supported by leadership
Leadership has to let everyone know periodically that everything is okay or “Everything will be okay, but these are the things we’re dealing with right now” (Communication is key)
Active leadership is key in a transformation journey
As a leader, you can’t negate sharing the bigger picture so that the teams can consistently correlate what they’re doing on a daily basis to the bigger business outcomes
Quantity does not always equal value (as a leader it is important for you to consistently support your team/s on a regular cadence in an active way)
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