Reflecting on Agile Open Florida

Stephanie Stewart:

Mark summarizes the Agile Open Florida well. Can’t wait for next year!

Originally posted on A servant leader's lessons:

It’s been over 2 weeks since Agile Open Florida happened and I’m still buzzing with the possibilities of where Florida can go next.  Not only did we hold our first state-wide open space for agilists, but we were able to have one of my favorite OST facilitators, Ainsley Nies, hold the space for us.  Thank you Ainsley for your guidance in planning and your servant leadership in facilitating.  If you want to see photos and session notes, please go to http://agileopenflorida.com/2014-recap/

Ainsley Nies starts off Agile Open Florida - thanks to Dan Feldman for photo

Ainsley Nies starts off Agile Open Florida – thanks to Dan Feldman for photo

Me (orange volunteer shirt) with the SFAA agilists.

I also wanted to thank my co-organizers, Ryan Dorrell and Stephanie Stewart.  This was the first time Agile Orlando and Tampa Bay Agile collaborated on an event and I look forward to future opportunities.  I also want to thank members of the Agile Orlando community who…

View original 164 more words


First Person Retrospective Idea

One of my Agile Project Leaders got creative and came up with special categories to use with with her Scrum team for their latest sprint retrospective.  She said it went over really well with the team.  Sharing with you all … feel free to borrow.

  • I should’ve…but I didn’t
  • I wanted to…but I couldn’t
  • I did…but I wish I didn’t
  • I wish I did…but I didn’t
  • I need help with…
  • Hey Man…thanks
  • Hey…Get off my back

Agile Open Florida 2014

Stephanie Stewart:

Yes, Agile Open Florida 2014 was indeed a success! Thanks Ryan for posting your inspirational intro and summarizing the feedback.

Originally posted on ryan_dorrell:

The reviews are in – Agile Open Florida 2014 was a huge success!

I wanted to share my opening remarks that I made as we got started. I’m sharing these because I firmly believe in what I said, and wanted to repeat myself.

Welcome to the first ever Agile Open Florida! This is the first event of its kind in the state of Florida! I would like to begin by saying that I’m am thrilled to see so many people here today. If you are here today, it is because you value uncovering better ways of developing software, and want to help others do it. You are here because you value individuals and interactions. You value collaboration. You value continuous improvement. And you value community. Our industry is special. Software is everywhere. It runs our transportation, our commerce, our health care. Nearly everything we touch today has software in it…

View original 357 more words


Ingrained Simplicity: From the Trenches

Once again, guest blogger, Toby Morris, has a “from the trenches” perspective to share.  Toby, known around these parts as “The Amazing Toby”, is a software developer at Valpak.  Toby has been with Valpak for many years and has had the opportunity to experience our Agile transformation from the trenches, as the title of this post suggests.  Today, he has some interesting insights on what he observed in our Agile Enterprise Workshops.  Enjoy!

One of the goals of any organization adopting Agile processes is to reach the level of maturity where Agile is culturalized. Where it becomes second nature. You’re involuntarily looking for ways to maximize the amount of work not done. And it’s really exciting when you see first hand just how much your Agile adoption has matured over the years.

Our IT department began the Agile transformation more than two years ago. We are now working on an effort to expand the Agile process to the entire enterprise. Today, we held the last of our  Agile Enterprise Workshops. These workshops are a way of introducing Agile to departments that have not already adopted Agile. We included established scrum teams in these workshops to act as “agile buddies”. Folks who’ve been through the transformation who can be there for moral support to help the new folks get through the trying times.

In today’s workshop, nine members of IT Agile scum teams joined ten non-Agile workers. Part of the workshop was a quick example of lean. The ball circle exercise. For the exercise, everyone got into a big circle and a tennis ball was handed to one person. The one person was to start the exercise and be the end of the exercise. They were to pass the ball to one person, any person, in the circle. That person would then pass the ball to another person, and so on, until everyone had touched the ball once, and the ball ended back with the starter. It took fifty-four seconds on our first attempt, with four dropped balls. Not a stellar performance.

For the next step, we had to repeat the exercise, passing the ball in the same order we did previously, but we rearranged the room so that passer and passee were standing in the passing order. Whoever passed you the ball stood to your left and whoever you passed the ball to stood to your right. We then simply handed the ball from one person to the next and cut our time down to ten seconds with no dropped balls.

The interesting thing about this was how the ball was passed in the first attempt. EVERY agile worker passed the ball directly to the person to their right., unless that person had already touched the ball and was no longer eligible. EVERY non-agile worker tossed the ball across the circle to someone opposite them. Passing the ball to the nearest person was quicker and more accurate. It was simpler. It was lazier. And we didn’t even have to think about it.

So after more than two years of Agile, it appears we’ve been culturalized. At least by this completely non-scientific, anecdotal evidence. I would really like to see what would happen if we tried this exercise with nothing but Agile workers. To see if we’ve all come to completely internalize the simplicity we try to achieve.


Agile Enterprise or Bust!

In early May, Valpak’s internal newsletter, Monday Memo, published the following headline and article:

Valpak on its way to becoming an Agile enterprise

Agile workshops have begun and many teams are now using some of their newly learned techniques to help them manage their work. Agile organizations are fast moving, flexible and capable of rapid response to unexpected challenges, events and opportunities to achieve a continuous competitive advantage in serving customers.

Many of the principles of Agile focus on the idea of breaking work into smaller chunks and working on them in a self-organizing team with daily collaboration.

“With all the projects my team and I are faced with this year, we found the Agile approach to managing these projects extremely helpful for efficient planning and tracking our progress along the way,” said George McCarthy (Security & Safety Director) after his team’s recent Agile session.

That’s right! … we are well on our way towards our Agile Enterprise vision.  To date, we have trained about 80% of our knowledge workers (our manufacturing workers apply Lean to produce our famous Blue Envelope).  We have trained Marketing, Finance, Security, Franchise Sales, Infrastructure, BI, Digital Business Development, and more.  In fact, we refreshed training for the software development teams that have been Agile for over 2 years now by including them as resident experts with the other business areas trained.  Oh, and by “we”, I mean Tami Orr, our super awesome Employee Development Process Lead.  This wouldn’t be possible without her.  She self-taught Agile, Scrum, and Kanban and put together a fun and effective training program, not to mention the hours she stands in front of our folks to deliver the training.

I’m sure some of you are wondering about the training program we, I mean Tami, developed for our Agile Enterprise efforts.  While I can’t publish the deck, I can provide an outline of what was covered:

  • What is Agile?
  • The benefits of Agile
  • The Agile Manifesto
    • Brief history
    • The 4 Agile values
    • A deep dive into the 12 Agile principles (some with fun videos and activities to demonstrate)
  • Some Tools & Techniques of Agile
    • Scrum Overview
    • Kanban Overview
    • Kanban activity using a party planning scenario (something we can all identify with)
    • Kanban activity using a project specific to the department being trained
  • Agile in life (not just about work anymore)

“But wait, there’s more!”… Agile is not some “Set it, and forget it!” rotisserie.  This is a never-ending journey.  The Agile Enterprise is a major culture shift for any organization that must be nurtured each and every day, across all departments, and at all levels of the organization.  For us, change is in bloom!  Agile has become so much bigger than ME and I love it!  Business teams are adopting stand-ups over lengthy status meetings.  Rogue Kanbans are popping up left and right for everything from projects to be lead, department workflow to be managed, or even events to be coordinated.  In fact, we had a retirement party just yesterday for a 20 year employee whose wife (who also happens to work for the company) made him a Vision Board and a Kanban board (yes, that’s right … a Kanban Board) so that he could better “manage” his retirement.  Even better, we are having open discussions and healthy debate on topics like value, sustainable pace, empowerment, and simplicity.  I love this new Valpak!

 


First Ever Agile Open Florida on June 27th

It’s my pleasure to announce that the first ever Agile Open Florida will be held in St Petersburg, Florida on Friday, June 27th for up to 150 attendees.  Agile Open Florida will be facilitated using the Open Space Technology (OST) format, with the ultimate goal being to … Connect. Learn. Share.

For more information visit, www.agileopenflorida.com


Free Kanbans For Everyone!

In my role, I have the pleasure of getting to drive our Agile Enterprise efforts here at Valpak.  We are two years into our Agile transformation within IT and are now broadening our reach to the rest of the company.  We are beginning a never-ending journey to become an Agile Enterprise!  With that in mind, I’m working with our VP of HR and our training development team on an Agile Enterprise training event that will be rolled out to each and every department across the company. The intent of the training event is to educate everyone on the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto and to help them to relate Agile to their everyday lives, work and home.  Included in that training will be how Scrum and Kanban (and even Scrumban) are good techniques to help them along in their Agile journey.  But Kanban is certain to be a big hit.  Already, we’ve got Kanbans popping up left and right from some grassroots efforts underway.  We’ve got Kanbans for personal use, Kanbans for managing projects, Kanbans for structuring programs, Kanbans for process improvements, Kanbans for portfolio management, and Kanbans for organizing the work of a department.  Kanbans are so fun and easy to set up I say “Free Kanbans for everyone!”   I even joke … but, I’m totally serious … I have a home improvement Kanban.  It’s great for explaining how Kanban works.  My only issue is that nothing ever moves out of the backlog. :( Damn, I need some new gutters.  Anyhow, I’ve also helped a startup or two establish Kanbans to manage their work … that’s right, lean startup indeed! I’ve also heard of chore board Kanbans.

So, I ask you all … What are some of the crazy, awesome, and interesting Kanbans you’ve seen along the way? Please do share!

My thought is that if everyone with a list would just do a personal Kanban, what an Agile world it would be.  I guess this is a good time to plug an upcoming meetup on the topic of Personal Kanban too:  http://www.meetup.com/tampa-bay-agile/events/169574022/

Free Kanbans for everyone!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 637 other followers