I’ve read Joakim Sunden’s article on the role of Agile Coach at Spotify. This is a role I played in addition to HR Business Partner and Change Agent in the Agile Transformation at the contact centre.
The blend was unusual and it did give me the unique ability to change some of the approach to people practices, realign the cultural dimensions as well as implementing Agile practices and methods, but sometimes I felt I was the mad hatter at my own tea party.
This mix of coaching a leadership team towards Agile, driving organisational change, implementing Agile practices and methods and working to change mind-sets to Agile and HR meant I wore far too many hats.
In hindsight I should have better leveraged the people and resources that were there instead of trying to do it all myself. My biggest issue was being too black and white and too quickly attaching a label of whether someone was of an Agile mindset or not.
I was simply being protectionist – which isn’t collaborative or transparent. I wasn’t being completely Agile.
If someone offers you help – believe me its better for you to educate, coach and help them see the this better way of working. Let them be the judge.
Better for you, for them and for the people your serving.
Having worked as an change consultant for many years and HR practitioner, I was converted to Agile and did my scrum masters certification. Like Joakim I longed for an opportunity backed by strong sponsorship for Agile and continuous improvement.
I knew agile could work just as well in a non technology function.
And it does!
Its not exactly the same as you’d find in software development but it has all of the elements of Agile and Scrum.
I remember writing about the challenge of trying to implement Agile when the rest of the organisation is not Agile. I’ve changed my views there too. Micheal (Doc H) from ACI Agile talks about this. If you’ve read Frederic Lalouxs Reinventing Organizations you’ll know about the color codes for each stage of an organisations evolution. Teal is where you might find Google or Zappos for example, most Fortune 500 are amber, some are green. And its quite possible to be amber with teal or green pockets.You’ve got to learn to give them want they want – if they want a GANT chart why not give it to them, it might serve as a backlog of sorts for you.
We have now implemented Agile as a new operating model for the Customer Experience Contact Centre. While we started this journey last year with a concept called Network Judgement (team rather than individual working) it morphed into Agile and accelerate again recently to new deeper levels of systemic change across the people and coaching frameworks.
We’ve recently got Eduardo Nofuentes to help us who we have been talking to for some time and who also led the REA Agile implementation.
People in the contact centre get it, we don’t work with Scrum exactly as it says to in the book, we have adapted the approach in each team to fit the work and cadence of the team.
We are experimenting. The main objective is to uncover improved ways of collaborating and developing into high performing teams.
All the core principles and practices are still there ie stand ups, Kanban Boards, sprints, reviews and of course transparency, adaption and inspection.
The agile mind-set and adoption of Scrum has been spooky and I probably take it for granted now. Guide to Scrum can be seen on peoples desks, people are talking about sprints.
People are excited and energised
Its not been all plain sailing, this massive paradigm shift has brought about freedom and with that increased accountability.
I have personally felt like I have been on a roller coaster, other team members have described the same feeling some time ago.
It has been bizarre, rewarding, scary, exciting, frustrating and terrifying.
He aha te mea nui?
What is the most important thing? It is people, it is people, it is people.