Russell Edwards
Adopting agile processes at KI
5 mins

It all begins with our cultural and behavioural change 

For a company to truly undergo a successful agile transformation, it must do more than follow an agile framework. A true agile transformation requires a cultural shift—one in which the whole company including senior management lives by a set of agile values and principles. 

Unfortunately a company won’t become agile by following the rules of an agile framework or a checklist, or by doing agile activities. Only by practicing, embracing, and expanding upon the agile principles can a company develop an agile mindset in its everyday practices. 

Agile should never be about tools over people however there still needs to be a cultural commitment to using collaborative based cloud tools so the whole team creates a transparent and safe environment which can mitigate risk early on in projects especially now that we are remote working.

And finally leadership that embraces the agile mindset is one of the most important factors in a successful cultural transformation. 

Allow for increased overhead based on tool management….its worth it in the long run

Generally speaking, tracking workflows in agile projects requires more effort than in our projects using traditional waterfall methods. 

This does however allow us to break down tasks as a team and make sure all team members have tasks assigned to them, and that the right tasks are being assigned at the right time. Managing workflows this way requires more time and effort than simply moving sticky notes around on a whiteboard however the results accrued for investing in this time way has been revolutionary especially on recent projects.

Ensure clarity and accuracy of story points and acceptance criteria

We are still working on improving this. If all team members don’t have a complete and accurate understanding of what they’re expected to accomplish in a task or ticket during a sprint, and how much time and effort it should take to accomplish it, then it should come as no surprise when the sprint fails to meet expectations.

When our acceptance criteria is clear [Definition of done done] and accurate heading into the sprint, team members are empowered to meet those criteria. In addition, accurate story points ensure that team members won’t end up with too much or not enough work assigned during the sprint period and allows us to monitor burn rates.

Being collaborative and cross-functional

What's been great is that Agile practices discourage us from working in functional silos, We now communicate in Jira, Clickup or basecamp meaning problem solving occurs between business and technical folks and more importantly its documented. When looking back on a projects success we can understand what we did well and replicate this formula.

Being agile means KI are encouraging self-organised teams, where knowledge workers have more autonomy, rather than traditional teams, where a project manager assigns the work. Self-organising teams learn to operate using working agreements such as jira tickets and sprints, holding each other accountable so that the team meets its commitments.

At the end of the day, the team members themselves are the best judges of what they can and can’t accomplish during the course of a sprint. Allowing the team to determine their own work priorities and share this openly with their team ensures that expectations are realistic going into the sprints.

Embracing innovation, and learning

One of the biggest motivators for KI to adopt an agile mindset still is the benefits of using a model that allows us to change and grow.

Rather than try to squelch the inevitable project changes that occur over time, agile frameworks provide us with techniques that help us manage those changes as well as provide opportunities for innovating and learning with our clients. 

Related Blogs