The Ippon team quickly got to work by partnering with key stakeholders and technical leaders to oversee the transformation. A three phase strategy was constructed and mapped to an agile roadmap:
- First: Launch steering committee, complete discovery of existing teams & processes, deliver Agile mindset training, begin development team pilot
- Next: Assess learnings & adapt, promote agile through lunch & learn series, build playbook to drive process consistency, and launch additional pilot teams
- Later: Strategize best way to scale transformation to all teams, Launch Agile center of excellence to develop internal coaches and create continuous improvement loop for Agile process
After assembling a steering committee, members were indoctrinated as a true Scrum team with a Jira project and Agile events. The goal was to encourage leadership to rapidly adopt an Agile mindset by giving them hands-on Agile project experience. Agile Mindset classes were conducted for the entire IT staff to align everyone on the principles and terminology of Agile.
The initial Discovery surfaced a variety of ad-hoc processes and tools across the organization, some general excitement from the development teams, and skepticism about Agile’s applicability from IT support teams. We subsequently selected the initial pilot team, being careful to understand the team’s history and perceptions about strengths and challenges. Leading change within teams means changing things that make a difference to its members, not just course correcting for the purpose of adherence to an agile framework.
During the next phase, Ippon coaches embedded on teams to train members on new ways of working, measure progress, energize them to challenge their process and test out tweaks to drive greater efficiency and effectiveness. Ippon delivered highly collaborative and hands-on workshops to keep engagement high so that team members were aligned on continuous change. Visual canvases and online whiteboard tools made these sessions both fun and productive, as well as budget friendly in the virtual setting, and resulted in a visual map of team evolution and meaningful decision points.
Ensuring process consistency, shared best practices, tactical guidance and elimination of redundant tooling were the key themes that drove the creation of an agile playbook. The scrum learnings and practices that proved successful with the first pilot were encapsulated into an online playbook to be used for reference and to guide new teams. A second pilot team was selected as a critical operational/support team to prove Agile’s absolute relevance to kanban style teams. This team was incredibly stretched to manage work coming from all over the organization through an array of channels from tools to telephone calls. Ippon coached the team to design a new kanban style workflow and invent new ways of categorizing, visualizing and measuring work.