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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book


  • Organizational culture is the accumulation of years of interactions and experiences that have formed into a belief system of how work progresses and how decisions are made. To shift the culture to Agile, the organization must be willing to embrace new roles, workflows, and definitions of success.
  • Self-organizing teams have working agreements, select the work that they will own, cross-train and support one another, and create a dynamic that plays to the strengths of each individual.
  • Continuous improvement on teams means that members can solve their own problems without outside intervention and they are working to improve not only the product but also team effectiveness.
  • Frequent delivery of working software is central to Agile success. This creates a meaningful feedback loop for the team to incorporate.
  • Agile breaks down organizational silos and creates teams where developers, testers, and requirements owners all depend on each other for shared success.
  • In Agile, teams should be colocated to facilitate collaboration. This can be challenging for teams with virtual or international participants, so optimizing the physical workspace and collaboration tools is a priority.
  • High-performing teams have excellent team dynamics where individuals know and respect each other and can resolve differences productively.
  • Effective teams are adaptable to the changes that come with continuous improvement in Agile, and they demonstrate a commitment to completing the deliverables even when circumstances are not ideal.
  • Managers in an Agile transformation have to make adjustments as well, and some managers will struggle to embrace their new roles and enable the teams.
  • One area where managers can assist an Agile implementation is to refrain from offering solutions to the teams. Instead, they should ask thoughtful questions to help the teams reach their own conclusions.
  • Another way that managers can accelerate an Agile deployment is to clear roadblocks for the team. This is particularly helpful when it comes to resource and staffing discussions, because the manager may be able to address impacts to the budget more effectively than the team can.
  • When it comes to trusting the team, some managers follow Douglas McGregor’s Theory X style of management, where they believe employees are lazy and need oversight to monitor their performance and behavior. This style of management will struggle to adopt Agile.
  • Executives in organizations adopting Agile will find that their roles have changed too. Since executives often hold the budget resources and the decision-making power, their involvement in the transformation is critical.
  • Executives can support Agile by understanding and embracing evolving requirements. Those that want comprehensive plans and business cases will fail to reap the benefits of iterative development, rapid feedback loops, and continuous learning.
  • Executives are in a unique position with Agile to respect the commitments and priorities. They hear complaints and feedback from a wide variety of stakeholders and may be inclined to immediately act on that feedback without understanding the disruption and negative impacts to the team.
  • Executives that truly want Agile to be a part of the ongoing organizational culture need to dedicate budget dollars to its implementation; it might be with regard to tools, training, staffing, consulting, or a number of other things. A transformation of this magnitude requires investment.
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