A Coffee With An Agile Coach

Photo by Tim Gouw on

In my new role I’m learning a lot about agile. I asked our agile coach if there were any books, podcasts or articles she could point me to that would help me get up to speed. Her response surprised me:

“There are heaps of agile thought leaders I follow however I don’t know how much that’s going to help you because there isn’t one way to do agile. Every company adopts little bits of what works for them”.

I’m yet to properly research agile however it seems to me that it is a way of working that allows for leaner, more collaborative teams. If implemented well, I think it gives a team a set of aligned goals and tools to implement initiatives quickly.

In 1.5 days I’ve observed and learned the following:

1. Agile also means different things to each employee. It’s really hard to force everyone to change their old ways of working but once you start to see the productivity benefits, people become more motivated.

2. The agile board makes it really clear as to how activities link to the company and village goals. If your ticket doesn’t match those goals, you need to reconsider working on it.

3. In product management agile has its limitations. You are meant to log all of your non BAU work as JIRA tickets which makes it difficult for a PM given your priorities can change with the click of one email! Our agile coach did explain to me though that if one of your BAU tasks is to say pay invoices once a month, and suddenly it increases from 1 hour to half a day of work, that would be the time to raise a ticket and review the process.

4. If you are going to be agile, you need to suffer a bit of pain and effort initially to reap the long term benefits. You can’t just submit a JIRA ticket with a vague description. Fill it out so others can understand what you are doing and what you’re trying to achieve. This is especially important when all of the tickets are stuck to the walls during the planning phase for an entire line of business.

5. There are so many new terms I have to learn! Help! It’s like learning a new language.

6. Agile should make it easier for product and marketing teams to work together. The stand ups aren’t just for people to drone on about all the stuff their working on. Raise key priorities and blockers so other team members can collaborate and help you.

7. Agile should, in theory, decrease your volume of meetings.

8. Tools like confluence and JIRA leave you with nice repositories of information making learning and handovers much easier!

I’m sure I’m going to learn a lot more over the coming weeks but so far I’m loving the opportunity to broaden my skills. I have a date with a 170 page information pack and a coffee this afternoon to cram more information into my head!

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