Want to work smarter, faster and more productively?
Agile is an innovative way of working that will help you deliver high quality products and services cost-effectively, to embrace change and keep improving as you go. Whether you’re a one-person start-up or with a multinational, Agile Now will help you get to grips with the essence of agile thinking, identify what works best, avoid common mistakes and boost your efficiency.
Agile Now is a quick-start introduction with universal appeal, bringing together all the essential theory with practical advice, so you harness the power of agile and hit the ground running.
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Table of Contents -Introducing Agility
1 – Everything Is Agile
• What it means to be agile and why it’s a game changer.
• The phenomenal spread of agile around the business world; why agile is taking the business world by storm.
• Markets develop and customers constantly want new things; agile tools and techniques embrace change;
• Agile can be applied to everything – way beyond the popular IT and tech applications.
• Agile won't mess things up - it's not a gamble.
• The focus on working smarter, not harder and getting results fast.
• Checks are built in so it’s impossible to go wildly off track.
• Like traditional methods, agile can still fail but it fails fast and inexpensively.
• A word of warning; common misunderstanding and booby-traps with agile.
• Unsuccessful projects usually fail at the start and agile avoids the perennial problem of starting on false assumptions.
• Agile delivers results and free up time for more important stuff.
• Everyone is agile some of the time and some people are agile all the time.
• Agility is infectious.
• Agile organisations achieve more than agile project teams.
• Start small and go viral.
• There’s minimal risk and immediate results – so what is there to lose?
2 – Focus On Results
• Producing results is the only thing that matters and business value is the main driver.
• It’s essential to have a vision, to know what the end goal is and that’s what business value is measured against.
• The vision, the end goal. provides a measure of success for all individual tasks and projects.
• Don’t sweat the small stuff - individual tasks are only a means to an end.
• Measure success by results and against progress towards the end goals, not by how much graft you put in.
• A minimal investment is required to get going with agile and there’s no time like the present.
• It’s easy to start small if necessary, often that’s the best approach.
• Agile handles anything from individual tasks and personal ventures to business projects can be handled.
The Golden Triangle: Prioritising, Time Boxing and Change Management.
3 – Prioritising
• Prioritising is much more than creating a to-do list.
• It’s not an unnecessary overhead, it lays the foundation for doing the right things in the right order.
• The vision and end goals provide guiding lights.
• Define a backlog working towards the vision/end goals.
• Write up the deliverables not the activities e.g. new backlog board not go to B&Q.
• Work out the size of tasks using story pointing or t-shirt sizes.
• Get it all down but keep an eye on the minimum needed to succeed – what must be done?
• Be wary of too many bells and whistles, the nice-to-haves.
• Prioritise the backlog based on business value
Constantly review the backlog, a healthy backlog changes regularly.
• Be driven by priorities not external pressure.
• Make all outputs specific, tangible and measurable.
• Remember that saying ’No’ is always an option.
4 – Time Boxing
• Time boxing is easy to understand and even easier to use.
• Time boxing puts an end to overspending; both time and hard cash.
• Open ended tasks are a recipe for disaster.
• Be mindful of the Law of Diminishing Returns and the 80/20 Rule.
• Time box everything! No excuses.
• Plan on the basis of regular deliveries to the business. Every two weeks is a popular option.
• Allocate tight but achievable time boxes to get the best results.
• Control distractions and other time stealers.
• Stick to your guns and never tolerate overruns.
5 – Change Management
• Change is essential for survival, standing still is not a viable option.
• Change is important, not something to be curbed or penalised.
• Agile embraces change with open arms.
• Incremental deliveries are vital.
• Inspect and adapt is the agile mantra.
• A changing backlog is a healthy backlog.
• Learns from mistakes but waste time searching for scapregoats.
• Have a strategy but think now and avoid 5 year plans.
• Plan in a maximum of 12 month chunks – only worry about where you want to be next year; elements of the organisations may not always get agile but even they like annual planning.
6 – Agile Tools & Techniques
• The best of tools available featuring Scrum and Kanban.
• Overview of the tools available for managing backlogs and workflows.
• Simple agile frameworks for a light touch approach.
• Upscaling to more complex ventures and projects.
• Ways to implement meaningful and useful metrics.
• The importance of avoiding an obsession with technology and processes.
7 – Resource Management
• Agile techniques focus on effective resource management.
• People are a pivotal resource.
• Being Lean – the characteristics of agile thinking.
• What is takes to be agile, how to think act and behave.
• Getting the best out of people and teams.
• Training vs. coaching and mentoring.
• Be wary of evangelists and false prophets.
• Managing an agile transformation – remember there might well be pain!
• Getting leopards to change their spots.
• Applying agile principles at a personal level.
• Reaping the benefits of delegating and outsourcing.
• The importance of positive working relationships.
• A healthy body and mind helps promotes agility and productivity.
8 – Learning Fast
• The importance of building an open, honest learning culture.
• Mistakes are inevitable, just don’t repeat them
• Reduce waste by learning from mistakes and mitigating against disasters.
• Reap the benefits of repeating what do you do well.
• Build in continuous improvement to maximize productivity.
• A practical guide to looking back and learning, formats for retrospectives and lessons learned sessions.
• Common mistakes and traps to avoid.