7 Agile Coaching Tips That Are Effective And Easy To Follow
Agile coaching offers a range of benefits when done properly. We share 7 effective and easy to follow Agile coaching tips.
Agile project management has the capacity to increase a project’s productivity, flexibility, and transparency while decreasing the chances of missed objectives. Obviously, the benefits depend upon your current business paradigm. The software (ISV) community has best embraced Agile management according to a report by VersionOne. This is driven primarily by the need to reduce project costs with Agile adoption showing an increase in project execution efficiency, a drop in costs and a significant boost in teams engagement and morale.
If you would like to tighten up your strategy execution, then here are a few tips for those who can afford Agile coaching and those who cannot.
1. Post A List of Rules and Keep It Simple
If you do not have an Agile coach drumming ideas and practices into your staff’s heads, then you are going to have to keep reminding them of how Agile project management works. One way is to post a list of rules and continually refer to the rules.
For example, one of your programmers may continually insist on making contact via email. The manager should visit the programmer to remind him of the rule that “Face-to-Face meetings are deemed the most effective and efficient format for a project’s success.” Like the ten commandants, you post the rules, and you enforce them until each staff member knows and abides by them.
2. Agile Project Management Results Need to Be Known and Heard
Executives from the 90s will remember “Re-Engineering” and “ISO” models from the 2000s. They promised results that never really materialized. After all, if they were so successful, why do many companies consider them an inconvenience rather than a usable working model?
Such staff members will be dubious of Agile management and Agile coaches, so the results of Agile management need to be demonstrated. If an Agile coach is able to implement a working model that shaves 20 percent off a production time, then those numbers need to be published for the benefit of others. If anything, it will lower the amount of dissent and aversion to change.
3. Do Not Try A Test or Half Measure
Some elements of an Agile method may feel a little like trial and error, especially when you start setting regular intervals where teams may improve efficiency through fine-tuning behaviors. There is nothing wrong with trial and error, but your adoption of Agile project management shouldn't be treated like a trial.
It should be treated as a complete culture change. You cannot “give it a go” when it comes to Agile management and Scaled Agile implementation. It is something you need to jump into with both feet. Trying it in half measures is often the fastest way to failure.
For example, some companies will try Agile implementation within a single department, but it simply doesn't work in that way. It would be like trying to sell a house and only redecorating the kitchen. If you are worried about committing, especially when it comes to a loss of productivity, then you should seriously consider hiring an Agile coach to get you through those first few worrisome months.
4. Get the Right Tools
Maybe you are using a Scrum methodology, in which case you should use programs like Jira Software, Trello and AgileCraft (now Jira Align). One has to admire the companies that try to use their old software, but even experienced Agile consulting experts may have a hard time with Agile implementation simply because your old management, communications, forecasting, and reviewing software is not up to the task (like trying to play a VHS tape in a DVD player).
We live in a world where face-to-face communication may not be possible all the time. You should strive to create a scenario where staff members may liaise on a face-to-face basis as often as possible. You can consider an easy-to-access video system where staff members can talk face-to-face online.
Programs with video conferencing capabilities are also beneficial for companies who are scaling up their operations and scaling Agile with the use of outsourcing and/or stay-at-home/remote workers.
6. A Loose Play Will Derail Your Agile Methodology
The most common complaints around Agile methods not working are usually stemmed from the fact that the Agile project was loosely and chaotically planned.
If you or your company is genuinely having a hard time setting an Agile plan, especially with regards to synchronized deadlines and smaller-high-energy projects, then it may be time to get a little outside help.
Consultants can help you get into the swing of planning with different sets of applicable tools such as the ART (Agile Release Train). Once you have learned and embraced these tools, you will be able to build successful Agile projects in the future without the need of outside help.
7. Treat Agile Training More Like Agile Transformation
Whether you have an Agile project management coach or not, the way you treat your Agile training will determine how well it sticks with your staff. Remember that people are not averse to change because they are naturally contradictory. They are averse to change because it is inconvenient.
Some people treat Agile training like fire drill training when really they need to treat it like a staff department shakeup. It may be worth breaking up teams, assigning new managers, and shifting people's offices so that their new set of agile rules comes with a new set of team members and locations. A shift needs to be seen and understood if you want people to start following your agile project management rules.
Conclusion - Should You Hire an Agile Coach?
The biggest problem with consultants, besides their fees, is that they nestle themselves into your company. They set up a bunch of different projects, and you are stuck with them until your budget runs dry. That is not the case with Agile coaching.
An Agile coach shows your team how to work within the realms of an Agile methodology and then leaves. An Agile coach is more like a decorator that leaves once the paint is dry. They will not set up review teams, float walkers, progress analysts, or any other buzzword projects that keep him/her nestled in your company.
It is like teaching your staff to cook. Once the staff are up to speed and cooking gourmet meals, you can release the coach back into the wild.
Checkout the Restrat Consulting blog for more information and tips. Learn the specifics of Scrum Workshops, and how to improve efficiency using Agile project management.
If you are considering Agile Transformation for your teams and would like to hear more, please go ahead and schedule a FREE consultation.