Gain Agile Experience
After creating an agile consciousness and the establishment of a transformation team to accompany the change process, it is time to gain first experiences. In practice, pilot projects have proved their worth. But in order to really test agility and gain a statement about the benefits, it is important that the agile pilot teams implement the agile framework – in most cases scrum – as close as possible to the ideal theoretically described structure. Too many compromises at the beginning often lead to bad experiences and little benefit.
Using an agile pilot team
Agile methods such as scrum are suitable for any complex development project and bring a high benefit when implemented correctly. However, it is advisable to select a pilot project in such a way that some important success factors are secured.
- The core team size should not exceed 11 participants.
- All roles must be filled.
- Team members should participate voluntarily.
- The team should be able to work together as spatially as possible.
- If possible, team members should work 100% in this project.
- The number of external interfaces should be manageable.
- The stakeholders involved should be positive about agile work.
A particular practical challenge in the development of mechatronic products is often the maximum team size, as usually more than 11 people have to participate until the product can go into series production. Here it is important to ensure the efficiency of the team by a suitable compilation e.B. with core team and extended team. It is important that this is done in a self-organised manner. However, the organization via core team / extended team only goes up to a certain number of involved persons. If more team members need to be involved, you will need to choose a scaling method for piloting. However, it is advisable to avoid the additional complexity generated by scaling during the first agile walking attempts.
The agile pilot always starts with extensive training. Not only the team members are trained, but also the partners at the interfaces and the affected managers. CO Improve has developed special training formats, such as the LEGO eCar workshop. These formats have already proven themselves in practice and have always met with very positive feedback from the training participants.
Once the team is trained and at least in theory understands what is to come in the agile pilot, it agrees on a working agreement. This agreement includes banal things, such as when and where which event (Sprint Planning, Daily, Backlog Refinement, Review and Retrospective) takes place. In addition, more complex questions are discussed, such as the challenge of involving more than 11 team members mentioned above. It is important for the team to gain experience in the decisions in the working agreement that it is completely self-organized in the area of responsibility of their agile pilot. Of course, managers who are now stakeholders can and must advise the team, but decisions should be made in the team – and only there.
An agile team will be successful if it fully identifies with its product and takes full responsibility for it. The course is set in the Working Agreement – at the latest here the team learns for the first time that it is now in the "driver's seat".
After completing the working agreement, the team starts with the agile iterations in scrum or kanban mode. A common mistake is that one deviates too much from the ideal method described in theory, because one either has the assessment: "you can't do this with us", or you think: "that doesn't help at all". One example is the Daily. Teams try to save every now and then and only do two dailys a week. Other examples include estimating in Storypoints or the Sprint Commitment. In any case, the motto applies: Try to do it as described.
Extensive experience is gained in the first agile steps in a short time. Much is new and often there are great uncertainties regarding the implementation of the method and behaviors in the new roles. As a result, many companies have recognized that the support of an experienced agile coach is crucial at this stage.
In more than 200 agile pilot projects, CO Improve's consultants have come to know and successful in a wide range of situations. Use this potential to start agility.
Benefits of agile working
Agility is not an end in itself. Agile working is not just a method, but a cross-company framework designed to help improve the company's market success. The three levers repeatedly cited in the literature are better products, increased value and higher efficiency. However, it is difficult to prove whether this benefit is occurring at all, and if so, to what extent. In practice, two projects with comparable teams are never realized agilely and once not agile, so that one could compare the product success and the development effort.
And especially in the first phase of a pilot, improvements in effectiveness and efficiency are hardly noticeable. As a good early indicator of how successful an agile team will be, the factor in practice has been how proud the team is of its baby (product). This factor can be measured early on. In case of limitations or concerns, it is important to investigate the causes and initiate improvements. As a rule, however, they soon feel the benefits of agile work and plan the next steps to expand agility.
From a neutral point of view, there are now some independent institutes that have interviewed companies (non-IT) about their experience with agility. More than 80% of these companies said they had achieved improvements in efficiency and results. Around 90% of the companies stated that the improvements achieved were higher than the effort. So the probability is enormously high that your company can also improve its position in the market by working agilely. At CO Improve, we support you in entering this new future-oriented world.
- They quickly and efficiently set up their first agile pilot project.
- You gain concrete experience in practice and can better assess the benefits for your company.
- You achieve an unprecedented level of transparency about project status.
- The satisfaction and motivation of your employees is significantly increased.