If you asked 10 people what it meant to be “an Agile company”, you’d likely get 10 different answers. Some will tell you that Agile is a set of practices and processes while others will tell you it’s a mindset.
They’re both right.
In a certain context.
The point is, how “Agile” you are doesn’t matter much if you’re not getting the outcomes you think you wanted to get when you started adopting Agile practices. Given the speed of information flow and the complexity of today’s organizations, it’s un-realistic to think one approach will work in different organizations, so where do you start?
If your organization is more conservative, start small. You may want to consider simply visualizing all the work in your organization and having once-a-week standups at multiple levels in your organization. For example, you could have a weekly portfolio review standup and discuss current risks and issues for each project.
You could start by having a weekly management team standup in front of your big-visible wall to make sure you’re working on the right things.
Now the Agile community will tell you that doing standups doesn’t make you Agile…and they’re right. My stance is that getting people to communicate more often and making work visible is a huge step in the right direction. You can simply start to surface problems in your organization to give you a sense of what the current state is and then you can decide how to implement Agile in your organization. Don’t be fooled, Agile is simply a trigger to organizational change and you can decide how far down the Agile adoption path you want to go.
What I notice in organizations is that they’ll start with training a team or sending someone on a 2-day training course. That’s an ok place to start in some cases, but I’ve seen organizations stop there. Organizations can fall into the trap that training and learning Agile best practices is going to get them where they want to go.
There are numerous avenues to explore when you want to adopt Agile practices and at the end of the day, the most important consideration you need to make is how much time can you dedicate to learning about different approaches to managing work and people.
There are no shortage of options! If you’re interested in toe-dipping, you might want to check out Leanintuit’s Lean Focus. With a minimal time investment, we can help you achieve clarity in the direction that makes sense for you.