In case you haven't seen it in action, the Ball Point Game is a game that allows participants hands-on practice with implementing agile values and principles.
The picture above is one I took yesterday, while running an agility training for a team of leaders, managers, and overall impressive group of people.
I can safely say that I've never seen a team organize and figure out a strategy , learn from their experiments, and improve as quickly as this group did.
Why Businesses Need to Understand Agility
As part of the training, we talked about all the benefits of embracing agility within an organization. But our focus wasn't on engineering, or "the development team", or "how do we get software out faster". (Well we might have touched on the latter, but it was in the context of an example.)
Instead, our focus was on how agile values and principles reflect the way people actually work, think, interact, and get things done. We talked about learning environments (see my last post on why a learning environment is CRITICAL), continuous improvement, achieving a state of flow (and the path to get there), delivering real value, and cross-functional teams. We talked about the cost of not changing our ways, and the two most energy and creativity-draining scenarios out there:
- Big Design Up Front/ Waterfall environments where we try to plan and sub-plan exhaustively (and to exhaustion), only to set ourselves up for failure. (To my delight NOBODY was a fan of Gantt charts.)
- Freestylin' Multitasking environments that lack the focus and discipline to follow through on ideas and plans, resulting in half-baked deliverables that translate to zero value for our customer (and end up wasting way too much of our time and money).
(We also watched a clip of Stephen Colbert multitasking, which was hilarious, and awesome, and reminded me not to make a phone call using my toast and slather jam on my cell phone.)
None of the things we talked about are exclusive to software development teams.
The removal of sources of waste, operating effectively and with purpose, and continuous improvement translate to a higher ROI from both a business and personal perspective.
What I mean by personal ROI is this: When people feel that their activities are useful, needed, and meaningful, we are more motivated, produce better work, and are happier.
Therefore, we get a better return on the time and effort we spend on our work.
I sure want that for my business, don't you?
All the benefits of agility are benefits that can be tangibly felt at every level of the business. And by watching people come up with and talk about ways they could apply the systems and tools I introduced in their work, I could tell this was a group that would embrace agility across the board.
Business Agility: Let's Talk
Are you ready to break down silos, encourage collaboration, get more of the meaningful things done, and remove the waste that causes organizations to, um, waste? (time and money)
Let's talk then. We have work to do. Feel free to use the Contact form, or contact me directly at: hala at 27sprints dot com.