It’s been a few weeks since I wrote about the journey of taking operational teams through the world of agile. Following on from the first successful workshop, lots has happened so it’s time for an update in terms of what has happened since the last workshop.

Posts in this series:

Following from the implementation of the basic concepts of agile and getting the team to start thinking differently, they have now started to commit to running daily standup. We are at the point where the team are now getting the value of doing these, getting insights into who is doing what, when it’s happening and what the rest of the team can do to help is now coming through. I have also delivered some training on using Azure DevOps and putting user stories in a Kanban board. This has gone well and we’ll hear more about this in the next post.

In this post though, I wanted to talk about the output of the workshop. If you remember from the last workshop, we started out by asking three fundamental questions and getting feedback from the team.

  • Why is it worth doing?
  • How is it difficult?
  • What is agile?

Why is it worth doing?

The team came up with the following comments when asked this question.

  • Ability to adapt to changes in scope/requirements
  • Deliver ROI quicker
  • Quick reactions to issues

These answers are all valid, and in fact, you could get a room of agile experts together and they would likely give different answers. Let’s take a quote from Habit Action:

With agile working comes improved job satisfaction, better talent attraction and hopefully, a better work-life balance for your team. Employees are more motivated and agile working leads to better customer satisfaction, and ultimately better bottom line profit for your organisation.

The truth here is that everything the team said is actually a consequence of implementing agile working, basically they are benefits.

How is it difficult?

Now here are the responses for this question:

  • Prioritisation of critical 1 issues come in as they happen
  • Concerned that it is not conducive to an operational environment
  • Mindset

The points raised here I find are very common when working with operational team, and this comes from the way they currently work. The reality is that they already prioritise work, especially incidents which come in via ticketing systems. Also a ticket is work, just like anything else the team would do. The biggest challenge as we’ve discussed in the previous article is that of culture.

What is agile?

Finally, here are the responses for “what is agile”:

  • Quick changes and processes
  • Software delivery method
  • Project delivery method
  • Delivering work in stages (ability to change direction, adapt to changing requirements)

I really like the bottom point here, if you had to summarise the biggest change agile brings it is that culture and ethos that you can release in sprints without becoming feature ready. It is also correct that many of the principals we follow today are born from software engineering. Take a look at the forum thread on Scrum.org which talks about some of the challenges and experiences of agile within operations.

Next Steps

From here the team are continuing their standups, getting more used to that working methodology, they will also be looking at putting simple tasks on a Kanban board, so in the next post we can look at a form of retrospective we did with the team and discuss their next steps.