In my last post, I mentioned that I started a new agile transformation journey with a new company. I presented a visualized version of Agile fluency model that helped me on my journey. In this post, I would like to share my facilitation story with my stakeholders.
1- Help them to imagine a shared vision
Perhaps the most important thing in an agile transformation is to create a shared vision. Where do we want to go? Where is the destination؟ A shared vision will make people work together to achieve that vision, despite all the conflicts.
AgendaShift has a great practice, “True North“. I like it. As a facilitator, I asked this question from stakeholders:
Everyone able to work consistently at their best:
- Individuals, teams, between teams, across the organization and beyond
- Right conversations, right people, best possible moment
- Needs anticipated, met at just the right time
What’s that like? What new stories could you tell?
To make this imagination process easy, I borrowed the Agile fluency model‘s benefits. I collected all zone’s benefits in a group.
Ask them to prioritize these cards based on the current context.
You can use dot voting for prioritization. Ask the group to cast their votes by placing a dot next to the items they feel the most strongly about. They may use stickers or markers to do this. As a rule of thumb, giving each participant five votes to cast works well.
Participants cast their votes all at once and they may vote more than once for a single item if they feel strongly about it. Once all the votes are cast, tally them, and if necessary make a list of the items by their new rank.
This prioritized list becomes the subject of discussion and decision making. In some cases, it may be useful to reflect on ideas that didn’t receive votes to verify that they haven’t been left behind without cause.
The result should be something like the below image:
The Agile Fluency model is designed so that we can consider each of its zones as a transformation destination. Of course, we have the option to select other zones later.
Select Target Zone based on votes:
Based on Model, The proficiencies involved in later zones tend to require more time than the proficiencies for earlier zones. The sooner a team starts working on a zone’s proficiencies, the sooner the team will become fluent in them. Agile proficiencies are also mutually supportive. Accordingly, it’s best to choose the zone of fluency you want to reach and start practicing all the proficiencies needed for that zone— and all prior zones—simultaneously.
So, in my case, they have chosen Delivering as a target, but they need to practice focusing zone’s proficiencies too.
2- Balance Target with the Investment
It’s so possible, Your stakeholders, choose the items that are not required in their context, or they would like to reach a target zone, But they are not interested in investing. An organization that expects fluency without providing appropriate support is bound to be disappointed. Even worse, insufficient support can cause a turnover and create a cynical corporate culture that hinders improvements. Before embarking on your fluency journey, be sure your organization is prepared to offer the support the journey needs.
2-1 – Visualize the Deliberate Investment
Now, Put the selected benefits on our diagram.
It’s Time to add Deliberate Investment Cards on our chart and make balance our benefits and Investments.
Add the selected target zone’s investment cards to chart:
What does it mean for us?
This step is the most important one, We need to make sure that our stakeholders understand the concept of each Investment Card, So I have created a template to help my stakeholders.
This ___(An investment Card)_______
In our context it means
This “Provide time for lowered productivity while team members learn new skills. ”
In our context it means
1- For a period of at least 3 months, the development of the new features will be reduced
2- We need to be able to convince the company’s core investors as well
This “Select team members with appropriate skills, background, and willingness to work together. Allocate them 100% to their team. ”
In our context it means
1- We have to hire new people
2- We need to change the process of hiring people that fits the team-working culture
3- We need to reduce or eliminate the Task switching
In this step, it’s possible that your stakeholders change their minds about the selected target zone. Maybe they choose a lower zone as a target.
I have tried to ensure that my stakeholders have a clear understanding of our destination and the investment required. They should not think that the money we give to an agile coach is our investment. In many cases, the most important investment is time.
But the story didn’t end here, I went to the teams and understood the current state of the system using the AGILE FLUENCY DIAGNOSTIC. After this step, I prepared a specific investment plan and agreed with my stakeholders. The exercises at this stage helped keep their minds ready for the investment plan.