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Being Agile without fitting a mould

A few weeks ago I started helping out at one of the most Agile tech companies I’ve ever seen.

I looked into their current state. On the surface, they use a mix of Scrum and Kanban ideas that wouldn’t pass muster by the standards of either approach. Some practices are done loosely, while others are absent.

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How to Become Agile Outside of Software?

Recent story from a technology company: The CEO, seeing the software teams’ outcomes from being Agile, wanted the sales team to work in an Agile manner as well. In fact, he told the VP Sales to be more like the tech teams.

A few years ago, this would have been quite a shocker. Technology teams as the model of behavior? Yet, that’s becoming more and more the case, because Agile teams have a different impact on business: they work with the whole product in mind, make more strategic trade-offs, are more transparent and responsive, and so on.

So how does a non-software group/department/unit adopt Agile?

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Imposing Agile Is a Non-Starter

For years, whenever people wanted to know about my Agile coaching practice, one thing I would bring up was, “I only coach the willing.”

Sometimes they would chuckle or nod understandingly. Yet, more often, they didn’t realize why I was saying this. I’m a professional coach, wouldn’t I coach everyone?
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The Silent Killer in Your Agile Implementation

Suppose you have Agile teams and things look good. Folks work on important initiatives, do high-value work, get feedback regularly, and deliver finished products/services to their intended consumers frequently.

Question: How long before things start to break down?
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Agile: Speeding up Technical Work Is not the Goal

Organizations are used to concentrating their technology workers in specialized units, such as IT or Product Development. This approach enables them to focus on their specialties and to establish their own methods and processes. As a side effect, it also creates a vendor-consumer dynamic. And once this dynamic is in place, managers on both sides start wondering, can the technical people work faster?

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