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 Davis is Senior Director of Enterprise Agility & Digital Product Leadership at Cox Target Media. In this role, Stephanie champions agility across the enterprise, leads the Agile PMO, and manages the CTM portfolio while also overseeing the Digital Product Leadership team. Stephanie leads the team of Agile Project Leaders in the roles of ScrumMaster, Kanban Lead, and/or Agile Project Manager as well as overseeing the IT Business Analysts. Stephanie is a career project leader with over 16 years in the field, including past positions with AT&T Business and IBM Global Services, and has maintained the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification since early in her career. She also maintains the PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) and Certified Scrum Master (CSM) credentials. Her academic credentials include a BS in Marketing and an MBA in International Business. Stephanie serves and supports Agile within her community and beyond as organizer for the Tampa Bay Agile Meetup and the Agile Open Florida. Most recently, Stephanie has been elected to the Agile Alliance board for the 2015 to 2017 term. 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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