What Do I Need to Do to Fix Our Process?
I Have Three Words for You
In my years coaching and training teams and organizations I have most often been brought in for the former after the organization has been “doing Agile” for a while and then feels they need some help since things haven’t been going as they hoped.
I have always tried to explore why the organization leadership felt that an Agile approach was what they needed. Quite frequently, the answers seem to me to suggest a clear understanding of Agile Values and Principles had not occurred though framework/practices had been (often only partially) implemented. A lot of the time the answer(s) could be boiled down to the old “faster, cheaper, better” set of three words.
These days, my response to requests to fix the process involves three different words: communicate, collaborate, trust. I offer these because the symptoms of the issues organization offer to me as problems seem to me to be problems between team members, teams, or organizational groups, due to:
· a lack of effective communication,
· a lack of collaboration, and
· a lack of trust.
Of course, the specific “fixes” will vary based on why there is a lack of these in the organization and just how serious the lack is. However, my belief is that working on addressing the lack of these three things allows an organization to solve the issues they feel need to be “fixed.”
I started to come to this approach in my coaching when I recalled what I had been led to believe about the four Value statements of the Agile Manifesto:
Individuals and Interactions over Processes and tools
Working Software over Comprehensive Documentation
Customer Collaboration over Contract negotiation
Responding to Change over Following a Plan
When I considered those left-hand elements of the Value statements, it seemed clear to me that
· If an organization has problems achieving those ideas, doing more of the things on the right will not be the solution to the problem.
· If an organization is successful in achieving the ideas on the left, then it will be able to effectively employ those things on the right.
Organizations that can effectively communicate, collaborate and trust will be able to solve problems that drag down organizations who have not learned to do those three things well.