Agility in Corporate

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

agility in corporate collaboration

Following a presentation I did for my colleagues at Altran Belgium, here are some notes about my own perspective on Agile applied to the change in the way companies work today.

Agile is a mindset, a culture, some even say it is a philosophy, so it can be applied to all aspects in life. Specifying “Corporate” means how business and companies handle rapid changes and adapt successfully within their VUCA environment. When becoming Agile, a company’s structure and way of working can be highly impacted.

What changed?

Over the last century, big companies have been successful thanks to a traditional way of working including command and control mindset, strong hierarchy, focus on quantity, measuring performance through strict standards and minimizing the cost of workers. And most of all, top management has been putting making money first for a long time.

But today, these criteria are not valid anymore, because companies need to efficiently adapt to a rapidly changing environment. Today, companies that win put customer satisfaction first. And because they meet their needs, they get a high Net Promoter Score and consequently make money.

Modern Agile, Customer Satisfaction and… Profit

How can companies succeed in satisfying customers today? Let’s talk about Modern Agile.

First, they take care of their workers because they “Make People Awesome” and “Make Safety a Prerequisite”. These firms bet that if employees are satisfied at work, they will provide satisfaction to customers. Simple, but so true.

Second, they “Experiment and Learn Rapidly” in order to “Deliver Value Continuously”. They know that a short time-to-market and regular update of their products are key elements to keep customers satisfaction high.

Consequently, this new structure and way of working includes light (“flat”) hierarchy, fewer middle management positions, welcoming change and uncertainty, fostering collaboration, having face-to-face conversations (instead of emails), focus on quality, treating workers as assets (not as costs), continuously learning, making teams self-organized and self-empowered, allowing experimentation and (fast) failure to learn.

Focusing on how to achieve quality, instead of quantity, and how to achieve 100% done, instead of “almost done”, is at the core of Agile.

Bringing chaos to a well-structured environment

Some people would say the main disadvantage of Agile is bringing chaos into a well-structured environment. This is not wrong, but of course this chaos can be framed at high-level and it will generate benefits after some time. Usually, when initially implementing Agile, we observe a period during which teams are less productive: this is the necessary time to change habits and mindset. People go through a learning phase and need time to adjust to the new process.

What’s next for Agile?

agility in corporate interaction

Agile will soon celebrate its 20th birthday, and we have to keep in mind that it was originally designed for better software development. In the last few years, Agile has been reconsidered as a solution for a better workplace, especially in the IT industry. Due to the recent big technology and business changes (disruptions in some cases) with digital spreading at all levels in all industries, the scope of Agile is becoming incredibly wide. Now, it is about how to win in this amazing world of competition or at least how to survive in this constantly changing world, and almost all industries, services and products are impacted.

To meet this challenge in the long run, companies will have to focus on bringing “tech people” (mainly developers) closer to “business people” (in the same room ideally). Together they have to reduce delivery cycles and feedback loops, keeping in mind to provide new business value in short and regular iterations -the final goal being to maintain a competitive advantage. In other words, the Continuous Delivery movement is one the future (but already ongoing) developments in the Agile Way Of Working. (To learn more about this, have a look at ‘DevOps’)

One of the most important changes might be that middle management disappear, because people will work more autonomously and they will be able to define their strategy and take decisions. Top management will act more as enabler: they will provide all necessary means (such as infrastructure and funding) to “craftsmen” (or knowledge workers) to deliver service or products. To know more about this topic, I strongly recommend reading “Management 3.0” by Jürgen Appelo.

How To Become A Certified Scrum Master – Exam Preparation And Guidance

This article was previously published on the KnowledgeHut blog.

How To Become A Certified Scrum Master

Introduction to Certified Scrum Master

Who is the Scrum Master?

In one of our previous blog posts, Rumesh Wijetunge wrote some relevant insights about the role of Scrum Master. Wearing different hats, coach, enabler, facilitator, team leader, problem-solver, s/he is in charge of giving right directions to team members so that they reach objectives. First promoter of Agile mindset, values and principles, the Scrum Master uses the Scrum framework to help a team understanding, working on and achieving a common goal.

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Everything you need to know about PSM certification

This article was originally published on the KnowledgeHut blog.

Everything you need to know about PSM certification

I) Introduction to Professional Scrum Master

Who is Professional Scrum Master (PSM)?

We partially give some elements in a previous article on our blog: “ How To Choose A Scrum Master? “. On top of that, it is important to highlight that the Professional Scrum Master wear different hats according to the context: s/he is a coach, facilitator, enabler, problem- solver, proxy. His/Her main characteristic is to embody Servant Leadership. And basically, as the first promoter of Agile in the organization, s/he truly has the Agile mindset and is more than willing to share it.

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Some notes about “Agile is not just about software” article

Leon Tranter provides solid reminders about why Agile is not just about software but requires change in the whole organisation: business, people management, funding, accounting, marketing, product and not project management, risk management, and of course software development and maintenance.

Below you find some extracts, that I think are the key points, from his article.

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Some notes about “Ten Agile Axioms That Make Managers Anxious” article

Steve Denning writes outstanding articles about Agile, and I would like to give you some insights: here are some extracts from Ten Agile Axioms That Make Managers Anxious published in June on forbes.com.

Most managers have themselves grasped the need to be agile: a recent Deloitte survey (PDF) of more than 10,000 business leaders across 140 countries revealed that nearly all surveyed respondents (94%) report that “agility and collaboration” are critical to their organization’s success. Yet only 6% say that they are “highly agile today.” So, what’s the problem? Why the 88% gap between aspiration and actuality.

It’s not lack of knowledge as to what is agile management or how to implement it. The Laws of Agile are simple but their implementation is often difficult. That’s in part because they are at odds with some of the basic assumptions and attitudes that have prevailed in managing large organizations for at least a century. For example, Agile makes more money by not focusing on making money. In Agile, control is enhanced by letting go of control. Agile leaders act more like gardeners than commanders. And that’s just the beginning.

That’s one reason why merely training staff on Agile processes and practices by itself won’t make a firm agile. Implementing Agile requires a mindset that is fundamentally different from the traditional preoccupations with profit maximization and a philosophy of controlism.

Let’s look at ten of the Agile axioms that leave managers apprehensive, agitated, even aghast.

Continue reading Some notes about “Ten Agile Axioms That Make Managers Anxious” article

Some notes about the “Agile Development & Remote Teams – Six Powerful Productivity Hacks You Should Know” article

In the same way as the ‘An Appropriate Use of Metrics‘ and ‘Twenty Top Fails in Executive Agile Leadership’ articles, I propose here some extracts from an article published on the InfoQ website: Agile Development & Remote Teams – Six Powerful Productivity Hacks You Should Know.

Continue reading Some notes about the “Agile Development & Remote Teams – Six Powerful Productivity Hacks You Should Know” article

Some notes about the “An Appropriate Use of Metrics” article

In the same way as the ‘Twenty Top Fails in Executive Agile Leadership’ article, I propose here some extracts from a great article written by Patrick KuaAn Appropriate Use of Metrics.

Continue reading Some notes about the “An Appropriate Use of Metrics” article

Some notes about the “Twenty Top Fails in Executive Agile Leadership” article

On March 2018, Ian Mitchell published a depth and detailed post about top failures when executives do not assume their leadership responsibilities in the context of an Agile transformation.

For people who would find it TL;TR, here are some extracts to get the main insights.

Check mated

Continue reading Some notes about the “Twenty Top Fails in Executive Agile Leadership” article

Pourquoi Agile est en train de conquérir le monde – Traduction de “Why Agile Is Eating The World”

This blog post provides a translation of the article “Why Agile Is Eating The World” written by Steve Denning.

Pourquoi Agile est en train de conquérir le monde

En 2011, Marc Andreessen écrit dans The Wall Street Journal son célèbre essai, “Why Software Is Eating the World“, qui a créé le cliché que “chaque entreprise a besoin de devenir une entreprise informatique.” (Une mise à jour importante par Jeetu Patel sur la situation en 2016 est disponible “Software is still eating the world.”)

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Online course ‘Becoming an Entrepreneur’ – part 2

Did you have the opportunity to read my first notes about the MOOC ‘Becoming an Entrepreneur’ on edx.org? If you want some information about a career as an entrepreneur or about entrepreneurship activities, you may learn some practical things.

Here is now the second part, covering ‘Customers’ and ‘Designing your offer’.

Main purpose of the course: Learn how to map your customer’s full use case — from when they discover they have a problem, through creating value, and getting word of mouth referrals from a satisfied customer.

Continue reading Online course ‘Becoming an Entrepreneur’ – part 2