The quote “change is the only constant” is attributed to Greek philosopher Heraclitus and has been a re-occurring theme in many of the Agile methodologies. Change is generally embraced by children but can be problematic for adult as we establish ourselves and our patterns.
As change agents, we consider one of our greatest talents to be the ability to accept change, instigate change and help others propose and accept such changes. We specialize in providing an outside focus for software companies to adapt their processes whether they are providing on premise or SAAS software and our focus is high quality software with speed to market.
We utilize various techniques to provoke honesty and identify the root cause of problems, so rapid results can be achieved with team engagement and morale improvements in days.
Our services are adaptable to every organization–sample services are below.
Transition to Agile practices
We have guided many software providers on their transitions to Agile.
Scrum is a good fit for those areas that require more planning and a disciplined approach such as software development. This typically involves working with executive teams to understand the benefits of this transition, transitioning the teams and then educating the areas impacted by the changes such as, sales, customers, services, support, etc. Common pitfalls are shared with the teams so they watch for warning signs and take corrective action quickly. We have transitioned several organizations through this to gain benefits such as quarterly deliveries where the release cycle had been 3+ years with missed dates. 4 years after this transition, the organization is still enjoying on time deliveries.
For some organizations, adoption of a Kanban system is a great way to visualize highly volatile areas of technical work. We have introduced Kanban in maintenance teams in order to improve throughput and prioritization of bug fixes and IT to help prioritize projects. This is typically a fast turnaround project that provides control over chaos allowing the team to be more productive and the business to enjoy improved customer satisfaction, communication and control.
When people learn something new we actually remember about 70% of what we learn. When that person then passes on the information to somebody else they also retain about 70% and so on. This is known in software as application erosion, and can be seen in methodologies – Scrum too. The challenge is to see what the team is doing, identify the gaps as rapidly as possible and then help them get back on track or simply remember the 30%. Rather than provide the solutions, our approach is to quickly guide the team through an assessment of their current situation and then facilitate their discussions on what changes to make so they are invested in the process and own it.
Improved communication, teamwork and shared goals have resulted in as much as a 50% throughput improvement for teams meaning more software for the business.
Team Agility Assessment
A frequent short term engagement is a team agility assessment that can be used for a team wanting to move to the next level of Agility either in a larger organization or for smaller stand-alone team. We use a variety of techniques to collect feedback, including Innovation games, in a structured way that engages everyone in the group. Our experience has been that people who have become disenfranchised will re-engage and provide valuable information on why a team or process has become less effective; this can be due to internal or external reasons. This knowledge of what is really going on with a team allows us to work through the root cause of the problem and create a highly productive environment.
During these engagements, management can often learn a great deal about the team members such as who are the real leaders, who are the innovators and this has allowed them to utilize the best of their team’s skills.
Having spent many years in various executive positions but always through periods of change, we can coach an Executive taking over Scrum teams or trying to establish Scrum when they have no prior experience. We can also augment the Executive Team during a transitional process. Such a change can be a big challenge in the transition from instructing people to empowering and supporting them so that you get the full value of each individual being committed to delivering the most but recognizing they cannot do it alone.
The path to successful teamwork is often in getting to the root cause of any issues which often entails facilitation of exercises and process improvement initiatives to transition groups of individuals working together into teams.
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