- Provide coaching options. Great teams have great coaches. Give access to professional coaching as needed, and leverage the agile successes by sharing across teams. Good coaches have know-how but don’t necessarily tell how. Good coaches ask good questions. At SAS, we’re actively investing in a SAS Agile Coaching Framework to build our bench and our reach.
- Socialize, socialize, socialize. This one could be easy to dismiss, but is very important. Foster grassroots. Use online tools to build awareness, successes, and discussion on certain sticking points. At SAS, we have a large network of practicioners who trade ideas, as well as numerous online social-media resources. A word of warning: use discretion with this part of your communications plan so that it’s received favorably and with ongoing interest.
- Scale, creatively. We’re all a part of something bigger than ourselves, and even small teams align to larger portfolio of products. Look for opportunities to help teams optimize at scale. As example, use scrum of scrum meetings judiciously, not as a blanket rule. Be creative. Soften your terminology and gain buy-in by helping teams create a model they can call their own. Remember that teams can get more done better than any one team member. The official scrum guide published by founders Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland recently featured an important change that helps make this point. In it, they noted the daily stand-up meeting should ask, “How am I helping the team?” vs. “What I am personally working on?” That's a subtle, but powerful difference.
- Close the loop. All of the investment in training and top-down support can fade unless there’s closed-loop feedback. Invest in agile tooling but give teams leeway in usage. Gather data and discuss what it means at team retrospectives.
- Have fun! Enjoy learning and adapting along the way! Agile has been shown to improve morale, satisfaction, and performance – even for teams and customers already working at high levels. Maintain and grow team engagement by spicing up routine practices such as iteration planning meetings and scrums. Encourage your team leaders to look for ways to keep agile fresh.
SAS is all-in when it comes to producing high-quality software that drives our business and our customer’s businesses forward. When applied well, agile supports those goals. I hope what we’ve learned gives insights that help your agile rollout too.