In some situations small incremental steps are best to adopting Agile. I’ve found these three small steps can send you on your way into Agile. You’ll notice a trend.
- Daily stand up meetings. Those short meetings where every team member stands in a circle and reports on what they’re working on and what roadblocks they are encountering. Getting everyone together once a day to share what they’re working on and what roadblocks are in their way is a great way to begin to build an Agile team.
- Agile board. Posting the story cards in a visible location and enforcing the status indicators (yellow, green or red adhesive dots) is a powerful tool in raising the team’s awareness of the weekly schedule and progress.
- Team Planning Sessions. Planning as a team is a powerful productivity tool. As the developers, business analysts, and product managers gather together and discuss the goals for the iteration and the ensuing tasks, the team takes ownership of the project plan instead of the lone project manager. With the team’s commitment to the plan, the project manager now can work for the team by removing roadblocks and providing support as needed.
That’s right, the key items are focused around forming teams. In an Agile environment it is the team that builds success. The best way to begin to see the impact of Agile is to start forming, empowering, and supporting teams.
What convinces me about these 3 simple steps is that I’ve seem these work in non-Agile organizations – and have seen first-hand the benefits of teamwork. We’ve known this for years in project management, with organizations focusing on team building exercises and excursions, team guidelines, and the like. It is that Agile takes these principles and provides a framework in which to consistently apply them. Simple concepts like team members sitting together, all the time, not just during critical project junctures; team planning, all the time; daily team communication, all the time.
It’s one of the things I like best about working with clients, helping to set up the structures for teams and seeing the teams form and grow. Kind of like gardening, where with the right materials and environment wonderful things can grow! Maybe that’s why I also like gardening so much 🙂