In this issue:
An agile transformation is a change, a big cultural change. Agile approaches change us as individuals, our teams, and our organizations. That means we can tell stories and help other people see what we learned.
We've been telling each other stories—around the campfire, across the table, from the stage. We tell stories in whispers and we tell stories with oratory. Why? People learn through stories.
Dave, a developer, was tired of feeling as if he could never quite do the right thing. His manager and his project manager said there was no time to do it right. But, he always had time to do it wrong and then fix it.
He asked his project team to start with three practices: continuous integration, refactoring, and pairing. He explained his thinking this way: “We had to have something small so we could actually do finish something that was really done on a given day. Instead of imagining and defining “everything,” we learned how to start small. When we paired, we not only had continuous review and fixing, we learned from each other: how to refactor instead of redesign and how to deliver and not have more problems. Not because pairing is faster, but because we learned from each other. We started to deliver finished features not just every day, but multiple times a day.”
Dave helped his team, not only with specific practices but with telling their agile story. That story resonated with other development teams.
Cindy, a program manager, decided to ask every team in her program to help her. She said, “We need to show progress at least as often as every month. I would like to show progress every week. What do you need from me to do that?”
Some of the teams explained they needed better communication tools. Some teams said they needed more licenses for the applications they used. One of the team leads said to her, “No one's asked what we need to do our jobs before. Thank you for that.”
By asking people to show progress every week, she was able to help everyone prove they could do the work. That helped the entire program learn from their story—we can do this! And, Cindy had a story she could discuss with her peers and with her management.
Brad, a product line VP, was part of a management team who had trouble deciding what not to do, so they could finish the work they wanted to accomplish. Brad managed to help one team finish a project early. How did that happen? They stopped working on all the other work and focused on just one product for three months.
The team was thrilled. And, Brad had a story to tell his management team. He helped the managers see they had at least one alternative to everyone's thrashing (the product teams and the management teams).
Three different people. Three different stories. All of them leaders. Stories help us see possibilities for our cultural change. Dave, Cindy, and Brad all had stories that helped other people see alternatives for their agile transformation.
You can learn what story you want to tell and how to tell it when you join us at the Influential Agile Leader. Learn to see the changes you can make and with whom. You can still take advantage of the Early Bird pricing up until May 1.
If you also want to tell your agile story or learn from other people's stories, please join us at the Influential Agile Leader workshop, June 7-8, in Boston. Early bird pricing in effect until May 1. Please sign up now at Influential Agile Leader.
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Till next time,
© 2018 Johanna Rothman
Tags: agile, influence, leadership, servant leadership, transition to agile