Teaching/Learning Business Agility a Step at a Time

I am a big believer that people are more capable and know more than they (and especially many consultants) give themselves credit for. They can tap this knowledge in several ways. One way is to mention insights that people already almost know or even do know, but have never explicitly stated it. The second is to provide new concepts that they can readily verify from their own experience.

This page is a collection of these ideas. It is part of the Adopting FLEX workshop that teaches consultants how to improve an organization’s business agility. It provides guidance to coaches on how they can make useful insights available to their charges. It also lets people learn business agility a small step at a time – not unlike learning a new language with 15-30 minutes of practice each day. This can be particularly useful when an organization is undergoing a business agility transformation and teams who are not in the first wave want to get involved. In this case, people can often make better decisions just by learning a few principles.  To learn more about this approach, read The Pickup Sticks Model of Teaching.

These are being added to on a regular basis. If you like these, you can subscribe to our blog and receive them as they are published.

I tag each insight with one or more roles that it will relate to. I will provide a link when more information is available.

  • #developer
  • #everyone
  • #productManager

What’s Obvious After It’s Pointed Out

#everyone. Working on too many things creates both multi-tasking and delays in our workflow. The causes of this include: interruptions, a lack of focus on finishing, have too large work items, product managers focusing on getting things started instead of finishing them and poor organizational structure.

#everyone. Consider the cost of people being too busy. There is a toll of multi-tasking on them, but it also means they are not available to other people. This means one person being overly busy impacts everyone else they interact with. This slows down the work to be done. Our goal is not to have busy people but to get things done quickly.  Large delays don’t happen at once. Rather they are the result of a cascading series of small delays.

List of insights people can use without formal training

#productManager. Provide the development team that part of what you want so that will be releasable. This enables them to build something that will be of value quickly. Smaller means they will complete it quicker and can go on to something else of value. See Minimum Business Increment.

#developer. When you finish something look for something else to help folks finish. See Manage Work-in-Process (WIP) by Focusing on Finishing

#developer. When you are given a requirement, always ask, “how will I know I’ve done that?” no matter how simple the requirement is. You’ll be surprised at how often you are surprised at the answer.

#productOwner.  When you give a requirement, always add how they will know when they’ve done it. State it as an actual result or example that illustrates the rule.