Agile Newsletter – November 2019

Case Study

Phase One: Strategic Planning
All improvements are built on a solid foundation. Our skilled coaches will facilitate a Strategic Planning session to discover objectives, goals, unique challenges, and define success criteria. Together we will build a customized Agile implementation roadmap that sets you on a path toward success.

Phase Two: Leadership Training
We acknowledge that leadership support is crucial for all transformation efforts. That is why we start by introducing the main concepts behind Agile, Lean, and Scrum to the leadership team, and providing a strategic view of how to successfully transform an organization to achieve high performance. We focus on giving leaders the skills that they will need to help the team to drive success during, and beyond the transition.

Phase Three: Team Training and Pilot Kickoff
These interactive workshops provide everything the Agile team will need to get started. Our role based and team workshops enables participants to understand their role within the Agile team structure, and give them the knowledge, skills, and tools to successfully implement Agile.

This is not a typical classroom workshop – we use your actual projects to build your team norms, backlogs, user stories, visual boards and metrics.

Phase Four: Embedded Agile Coach/Scrum

Agile Transformation in a leading Small-Business Insurance Company

Situation: A small-business insurance market leader is seeing dynamic changes in the expectations of its customers, agents, and employees. In order to maintain their market leadership, IT services needed to be produced and modified much more quickly, frequently, and cost-effectively. In order to meet the challenges, IT Leadership chose a company-wide adoption of Agile practices. Web Age was engaged to assist them in planning their journey and supporting alignment, awareness, and empowerment across its business and IT stakeholders.

Phase 1: Strategic Planning
The initial activity was to ensure the IT leadership had:
• Common understanding and vision and goals
• Establish common language and vernacular
• Determine strategic and tactical objectives
• Agile transformation roadmap for driving the initiative
• Quantify success metrics

Phase 2: Leadership Training
A 2-day workshop was conducted to enable the IT Leadership team to
• Clarify and align to organizational mission, vision, values, and strategies
• Link business drivers to underlying technology initiatives
• Develop and articulate its relationship strategy with its customers
• Develop and articulate its elevator pitch for the value of Agile principles within their culture and objectives
• Align Agile with their other large initiatives to adopt and improve ITSM practices
• Define a High-level Roadmap
• Create an IT Vision Statement
• Establish a Communications Plan

Phase 3: Team Training
5 different cross-functional groups were trained in core Agile approaches. These intensive workshops included
• Benefits and Risk Management
• Push vs Pull Systems
• Managing for Outcome and Value
• Adopting and Adapting the Agile Manifesto Values and Principles
• Writing Product Visions
• Creating Personas
• Defining Roadmaps
• Writing and Refining User Stories and Acceptance Criteria
• Estimation and Prioritization Techniques
• Release Planning
• Tooling and Metrics

Phase 4: Pilot
Customized Tailored Programs for Key Audiences. A series of additional customized workshops were held for key team members.
• Story Writing Workshop for Product Owners and Business Analysts
o Building a robot backlog, roadmap, and success criteria
• Executive Briefing for C-Level leadership
o Ensure strategic business alignment, expectations management, and organizational tolerances within pilot program
• Managers Workshop for direct managers of the cross-functional teams
o Provide management with knowledge needed to help the team succeed

Each of these workshops enabled the relevant team member stakeholders to understand the underlying business drivers behind the initiative, the different critical roles each play in the overall success of the initiative, and set expectations for the ongoing investment and commitment that will be required to gain the desired business results.

One of the Business Directors described the results this way.
“As a result of adopting this approach, we have accomplished more in the last 18 months than we did in the previous 5 years!”

All of the workshop components were tailored to the business situation of this particular customer. Part of the success of this type of approach is that it must be adapted to reflect organizational tolerances, culture, and objectives. Success was a result of the deep commitment on the part of customer leadership to engage, think critically about their needs, capabilities, and practices, and work with the Web Age program facilitator to ensure that approaches and messaging were aligned and the management commitment for follow through was reinforced.

Agile Adoption Success

• Start small; begin with one successful team and build off of experience.
• Begin with a consistent understanding of Agile
• Provide quality training.
• Trust your teams.
• Continuous improvement through retrospectives.
• Learn to communicate effectively.
• Provide committed Product Owners.
• Seek a full time Agile Coach.

Why Agile?