I’m Agile! Now what?

We here at Valpak are 1 year and 3 months into our Agile journey (not a destination, but a journey indeed).  We’ve transformed and scaled from 6 Scrum teams and 4 Kanban teams (October 2011 was Sprint 1) to 10 Scrum teams, 3 Kanban teams, and all the elements that comprise the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) including a release train, a Portfolio Kanban, and an Architecture Kanban. We’ve even got business, project, and personal Kanban boards popping up left and right.  And if that wasn’t enough, we’ve produced a video on our Agile Transformation and are just about to have a case study published in a book.  Plus, all along the way I’ve been blogging about our transformation.  So, that leads me to ask, “I’m Agile! Now what?”

In the 1+ year we’ve been doing Agile, we’ve managed to become very good at some of the basics … sprint planning, stand-ups, retrospectives, etc.  Teams go through the motions of Scrum in a lather-rinse-repeat fashion sprint after sprint after sprint.  We are doing Agile!  Now we need to be Agile!  To me, truly being Agile involves the conscious embrace of the Agile mindset such that it becomes deeply intertwined within our culture, values, and beliefs as a company and in everything we do each and every day; all the problem solving, creating, decision making, innovating, and direction setting that goes into running and growing the business.

So now that we are Agile, we keep on keepin’ on … that means we keep sprinting! It’s pretty clear that never ends.  While we continue to sprint merrily along, I continue to support and grow Agile across the organization as Director of Agile Leadership.  With that in mind,  I’ve outlined some 2013 goals for us that are specific to where we are at in our transformations and journey:

  1. My team of Agile Project Leaders, as well as some other interested folk, will pursue the PMI-ACP (Project Management Institute – Agile Certified Practitioner) this year.  This means there will be more than just me with a relevant certification in hand.  We can debate the value / need of certifications all you want, but it most certainly represents a commitment to Agile here at Valpak.
  2. We will further scale the process and teams to support the needs of the business.  This might mean starting teams, stopping teams, merging teams, or re-assigning team members.  Again, all based on the needs of the business throughout 2013.
  3. With 1+ years under their belts, all of the ScrumMasters (titled “Agile Project Leaders”) will truly step into the role of Agile coach, embodying the Agile mindset and, not just facilitating, but coaching teams too.
  4. By continually improving our estimating and planning, all teams will become more and more predictable over time by their velocity and story points will become second nature to our teams.
  5. We will become masters at (okay, maybe not masters, but at least really good at) writing user stories.  We will decompose stories just right and write meaningful (maybe even measurable) “so that” statements.
  6. Our backlogs will be so well groomed that each team will have 2 to 3 sprints worth of stories penciled in and priorities will be evident by the order of the stories in the backlog.
  7. We will send a handful of our best and brightest to the Agile 2013 conference to develop and network in hopes that they will return to further evangelize Agile across the organization.
  8. Teams will strive to become high performing teams by not just doing Agile but being Agile.
  9. We will give back to the Agile community by sharing our story with anyone willing to listen and encouraging others in their Agile transformation.

About Stephanie Davis

Stephanie is now VP of Product Excellence at LeadingAgile focused on the growth, development, and delivery of some amazing agile products.  Recently, she spent the past two years as Executive Director - Enterprise Agility Office at Catalina leading another top-to-bottom, inside-out agile transformation.  Prior to that, Stephanie was Senior Director of Enterprise Agility at Valpak. She was with Valpak for 13 years, most of which were focused on leading their agile transformation to what became a world renowned success story published in case studies and demonstrated to over 50 different companies through the years via agile tours.  Prior to Valpak, Stephanie held past positions in the project management domain with AT&T and IBM. Stephanie's academic credentials include a BS in Marketing from the University of South Florida and an MBA in International Business from the University of Bristol in England. She also maintains the Project Management Professional (PMP), Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP), and Certified Scrum Master (CSM) credentials. Stephanie is big on tech community involvement!  Most recently, she served as an elected board member to the Agile Alliance, a non-profit organization with global membership, committed to advancing agile development values, principles, and practices. In addition, she serves her local community as an organizer for Tampa Bay Agile, the largest and most active tech Meetup in the area, and the annual Agile Open Florida event. In 2016, Stephanie was awarded Tampa Bay Tech’s Technology Leader of the Year and the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s BusinessWoman of the Year (Tech) and Emerging Technology Leader of the Year. View all posts by Stephanie Davis

2 responses to “I’m Agile! Now what?

  • joejv

    Good Post! Continuous learning is also a good approach. You can look into additional learning and certifications at Scrum.org Scrum Alliance and Agile Alliance. Having done this for 10 years, I also try to post helpful hints on my twitter (and blog) at joejv.

  • Srinath

    Looks more like a New Year resolution of building more Agile teams and Agile leaders. Appreciate the idea of supporting newer members, taking up certifications and taking part in conferences and giving back to the community. Excellent.

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