Agile Coaching: A guide for project managers stepping into a Scrum team – Health warnings!

This is first of a series of blogs to support traditional project managers I am coaching. To help get their bearings in deep and murky waters of Agile projects and Scrum teams.

Before the scrum purists amongst you vehemently shake your heads or berate me on the title, consider being pragmatic. In the Professional Services world there is always a project manager to manage complexity and facilitate the Scrum team(s). My remit is to facilitate and empower the role to help the team, business and customers succeed, rather than debate its applicability and existence. Continue reading

Boundaryless Agile

Just to be clear this post is not about Business AgilityAgile, SCRUM, SCRUMBAN, KANBAN, DSDM, ATERN  but about implementing Agile practises across the value chain;  that’s activities a business performs in order to deliver a product or service for a market. It is about introducing Agile across functions without being tied down to any particular flavour of Agile, It scratches the surface by introducing methods and tools provided for by different Agile methodologies to make each component/activity of an enterprise truly Agile, thereby introducing boundaryless Agile across the enterprise.

Boundaryless Agile is the process of taking Agile methods and tools beyond delivery of tech or tech related business activities… its not about software development! its about adapting Agile tools and techniques across the board from marketing to account management to strategic scenario planning and more… to ensure the enterprise as a whole benefits from Agile processes, tools and techniques.

Once you start getting to grips with different Agile methodologies; DSDM, SCRUM, SCRUMBAN their tools, techniques and processes you will realise you have already been practising Agile-ish in different parts of your enterprise’s value chain… by embracing the methodologies their tools and techniques wholeheartedly you will find your efficacy improve leaps and bounds.

Agile comes naturally to most of us, or so I would like to believe! however we do need a framework to structure our natural instincts to timebox, prototype, measure, reflect and iterate… so that we have a framework to create and design options with outcomes in focus, know what and how to measure; to compare, learn, adapt and improve with every successive iteration… regardless of it being a scheduled release, reducing the response time on support tickets, getting the next new hire ‘right’, reducing the time it takes to close a new sale or ensuring visibility of progress across your team(s)/organisation.

Its hard to sum up my experiences of practising boundary less agile over the past 16 years into a single post, so as a primer to many posts on the topic to come… I have put together what a value chain looks like and where within it different Agile tools and techniques can be adapted to deliver improving efficiency and efficacy. Of course this is not an exhaustive list and much depends on your enterprise culture, team and individual capabilities, and of course it is service centric!

SCRUM, DSDM, SCRUMBAN, KANBAN, Burn-up Charts, Product owners, Sprints, Sprint retrospective, Agile

If you are interested to learn more about introducing boundary less agile in your organisation feel free to reach out on Linkedin or Twitter to explore the opportunities and possibilities boundary less agile could uncover for your enterprise.

DrupalCon Amsterdam – The Give Back

DCon-Amsterdam-logo DrupalCon Austin 2014 is in full swing as of tomorrow,  my attendance is restricted to watching live feeds of the keynotes and the session recordings on Drupal Association’s Youtube channel … having not made it to the North American Con (again!)… thought I’d put the little down time between contracts to prepare for DrupalCon Amsterdam, on what I propose to share in two sessions freshly submitted.

Both in the business track;  one more a workshop than a traditional session… am quite excited at the prospect of having one if not both selected (fingers crossed). The first one I have proposed is a more indepth version of my ‘Practical Agile Product Development’ session recently delivered at Drupal Drupal Camp Yorkshire 2014 Agile Product Development Camp Yorkshire. Its 16 years of experience of delivering products, projects and transformation programs using various flavours of Agile, from James Martin’s RAD (Rapid Application Development) for getting products out of the door in their minimum viable form to giving the chaos structure using Dynamic systems development method (DSDM) to falling in love with the simplicity of SCRUM and then the combination of SCRUM and KANBAN: SCRUMBAN. From the beginning to date the challenge remains selecting which flavour of Agile is best suited for the engagement… and more challenging still occasions when the herd is convinced on not using Agile at all and its my job to swing the Jury in the opposite direction, this happens more so on the non-tech elements of a transformation program than the tech aspects of course.

Agile Digital Consultancies Vs the Big 4 The second session I have proposed is about getting agencies of all sizes in the community better tooled up to face off  Tier 1 & 2 consultancies and systems integrators who are increasingly and rapidly developing their Drupal capabilities given the size and scale of the opportunities in the Enterprise space. What started of as a niche platform has gone mainstream and with it has brought the big full service firms in to Drupalverse, which folks is a great thing for all involved in Drupal, FOSS and Enterprise!

Then there is the wider shift of agencies moving in to digital consulting since many of the Tier 1’s have historically lacked the depth agencies have built up over the years in the digital realm. So my second proposed session ‘Understanding your prospects, clients, stakeholders (Jury) and end users‘ is an in depth look at three models, my current favorites; Empathy maps to better understand the actors in your ecosystem, HotHousing  an exploration framework that mixes creative design thinking options with agile delivery outcomes, and Jobs-To-Be-Done framework (JTBD) a way to understand customer’s needs, motivations and behaviours. All three together are a powerful toolkit for any engagement be it tactics to approach a new prospect, running productive workshops with clients or ascertaining the ‘true’ needs of end users and facilitating them to articulate them and then co-designing options for fulfilling them.

Fingerscrossed I’ll get to share my knowledge and experiences on both Agile and Digital Consulting, however if there could be only one… I’d jump on the opportunity to tool up the community to better understand and engage with their prospects, clients, stakeholders (Jury) and end users.

Drupal Give back For the curious this post is called Give back  for it is exactly that, back in 2012 in Munich I shared the challenges I was facing bringing peripheral communities into the fold with the global community, who in turn rallied to my aid and between Munich 2012 and Austin 2014 me and a few local hosts have kicked off four 1st ever Camps in 4 cities in two countries and been an inspiration for another two. Sharing what many of my peers in the consulting space prefer to keep to themselves as their magic models, I would like to believe sharing them with the community is my own personal give back, a huge thank you of sorts. Gondor returning the favour to Rohan if that’s your thing… or Lannisters paying a debt if you are so inclined!

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