The imperative to be adaptive couldn’t be made stronger than it has been in the pandemic. As organizations of all kinds face unprecedented volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, it is incumbent upon its people to adopt more agile ways of working. The movement of Agile software development has a lot to offer in terms of building teams that are adaptive, customer-centric, and efficient. But how can those same values and principles be applied to Human Resources?
While software development certainly is different from people leadership, both professions can benefit from key mindset shifts that are promoted by leading Agile thought—and a lot of it comes down to how we communicate with the people we support.
In this webinar sponsored by Vyond, certified agile team facilitator Kevin Doherty will offer a primer on the Agile movement and mindset. Drawing from his expertise as a content creator, he’ll share practical ways to promote agility throughout the organization. By becoming champions of the Agile mindset and living out its values, people leaders can make a meaningful impact in their organization’s capacity to respond to—and even benefit from—large-scale disruption.
Kevin Doherty is the marketing communications manager at Vyond: an online platform for creating your own animated content. Kevin specializes in applying principles from the entertainment industry to how we communicate with an audience and is an ICAgile Certified Professional in Agile Team Facilitation.
At Vyond, our mission is to put the power of video in the hands of everyone. Vyond allows people of all skill levels in all industries and job roles to create dynamic and powerful media. With features that go beyond moving text and images, you can build character-driven stories or compelling data visualizations that engage audiences and deliver results. Founded as GoAnimate in 2007, Vyond has helped Global 2000 organizations, small businesses, and individuals produce their own videos easily and cost-effectively. Since its inception, the Company has served over 12 million registered users on six continents who have created more than 22 million videos.
Building an Agile Culture
Hi everyone, and welcome to today’s Webinar, Building an Agile Culture, hosted by HRDQ-U and presented by Kevin Doherty. My name is Sarah, and I will moderate today’s webinar. The webinar will last around one hour. If you have any questions, please type them into the question area on your GoToWebinar control panel, and we’ll answer as many as we can during today’s session.
Today’s webinar is sponsored by Vyond.
At Vyond their mission is to put the power of video in the hands of everyone, and allows people of all skill levels, and all industries, and job roles to create dynamic and powerful media.
With features that go beyond moving text and images, you can build character driven stories or compelling data visualizations that engage audiences and deliver results.
Founded as Go animate in 2007, VR has helped global 2000 organizations. Small businesses and individuals produce their own videos easily and cost effectively.
Since its inception, the company has served over 12 million registered users on six continents, who have created more than 22 million videos. Learn more at www.vyond.com.
And today’s presenter is Kevin Doherty. Kevin is the Marketing Communications Manager at Vyond an online platform for creating your own animated content. Kevin specializes in applying principles from the entertainment industry to how we communicate with an audience and is an IC, Agile Certified Professional, and Agile Team Facilitation. Thank you for joining us today, Kevin.
Yeah, thanks for having me, Sarah, and thanks for the introduction. And thanks to everyone who is joining us today. I really appreciate you taking the time to hear some of my ideas, and I look forward to learning from your own ideas in turn.
To kick things off, and while others maybe are still settling, I’d love to just get a baseline gage of what past knowledge everyone is bringing to the table around Agile. So I have a quick poll. If you’ll go to slido dot com in another tab on your current device where you can even go on your smartphone, go to slido dot com and put in the Event ID, HRDQU. And that should allow you to answer my question, which is, are you familiar with Agile or you’re very familiar? Do you have some exposure? It’s a completely new you don’t even know what we’re talking about today. All answers are fine.
Again, you can go to slido dot com and put in the HRDQU Code. You can also scan the QR Code with your smartphone to access the poll.
Mrs., Great. I’m seeing some answers come in.
It’s neat. We have, we have a pretty good distribution except previously exposed has grown quite a bit.
Give it another minute for more people to get into the poll and tab switch, and all that, and it looks like we generally have a couple of winners.
Looks like everyone is kind of aware, maybe has had some exposure, but very few of us seem to feel like we’re experts in agility, and that’s great. And we also have some portal newcomers. People just getting initiated into this idea of Agile, So that’s awesome, also, great.
I’m gonna go ahead and use this to sort of shape how I present today, but before we begin, let me just do a little bit more housekeeping as people are joining. So, like Sarah said, I’m going to be trying to answer as many of your questions as we go. If you have questions, please, to drop them into the question pane.
And then I’m going to save some time at the end, too, so that we can knockout other questions that I didn’t get to during the session.
Right now, you should be able to see me. But in a little bit, I’m going to turn off my camera. I just wanted to properly introduce myself, so you know who this, this talking head is. But I’ll turn off my camera, it’s supposed to do that, just so that it’s easier to see some of the materials and going to present.
Because I work at Beyond, which is a platform for creating animated videos, I’ve created a lot of animations to help illustrate the concepts we’re going to cover today.
So there is some movement. There is some video, and that the no cost we pay for being able to gather in real time over a webinar format is that sometimes those things don’t work. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t worry. just keep with us, and you should still be able to hear me and see my slides throughout the whole presentation. And all of this is accessible if you go to the resource or the handout tab in GoToWebinar. So if you go to Handouts, you can access links. That’ll show you all of the examples I’m going to be showing later today.
Now, I should properly introduce myself now that I’ve been talking for a few minutes.
So like Sarah said, my name is Kevin Doherty, and I manage Marketing communications at, beyond a platform for creating corny self-portraits like this one on my side. And really any kind of animated HR marketing, et cetera.
Before I was working out beyond, though, I was doing marketing for IC Agile, which is a leading body for agile trade.
So that’s where I really cut my teeth and learning about business agility and where I earned certainly on certifications in Agile team facilitation.
Before all that, though, I was actually working as a commercial actor. So I like to say that my superpower, that I bring in all these weird places I’ve worked is the power of telling a story. And I think, yeah, hopefully I can serve that mission well with you all today.
So, today’s agenda, I’m going to give a primer into what Agile is. Especially for those of you who did say, you are completely new.
Then, we’re going to do a Lean Coffee activity, which I’ll explain later, but Lean Coffee.
It is a meeting facilitation technique that sort of emerged from the Agile community, that Lean coffee activity will actually determine what I’m going to cover, So, that’s right. Even today’s webinar is going to be adaptive and agile. You’re going to tell me what you want me to talk about.
So, stay tuned, stay alert. And then, once we figure out what we want to talk about, I’ll cover those concepts in greater depth. And, at the end, hopefully, we’ll be able to wrap up, talking about some practical experiments you can do even today, or tomorrow, to put some of these ideas into practice.
And, like I said, I’ll be saving time at the end for question and answer if you’re just joining, drop your questions in the question tab of GoToWebinar to make sure I can see it.
So, let’s get acclimated. Let’s get introduced to this concept of Agile.
The big star of today’s show in order to better understand what Agile is, we should actually talk about what Agile is not, and that is Waterfall. So, if you’re not familiar with Waterfall, it’s a project management style or methodology that emerge, sort of particularly in the eighties and nineties, and waterfall a sort of characterized by a progressive series of handoffs.
And what I mean by that is, I mean, work is handed off piece by piece as it progresses towards getting completed to different people.
And the metaphor of the waterfall comes from that, those handoffs, typically being a downward cascade through, like the org chart.
So, as an example, to make this more clear, waterfall project management might look like an executive coming up with a big initiative, then handing it down to, a director or manager to sort of draft the project budget.
Then that might get handed off to an individual contributor of sorts, too, to actually start executing on it. And then throughout that process, they might engage specialists like writers, video creators, things like that, and the work will gradually get handed off until it is finally completed.
The problem with this waterfall approach that has really become evident in recent years is that when you have all those handoffs to get something done, it creates a lot of distance between where the decisions are made in this example of us with the executives, and when the work actually gets delivered, when it reaches your audience, or your customers, or your clientele.
And that distance means that what you’re delivering might no longer be relevant.
It also means that there’s a lot of room for important information in context to sort of fall through the cracks as the work continually gets handed off to people.
So agile by comparison strives to sort of sharpen that gap.
By making people work a little bit more collaboratively, it’s more of an all hands on deck culture and it’s marked by more rapid delivery. So, rather than having everything get handed off and perfected and then finally delivered, you’re trying to just get things out the gate as quickly as possible.
And that usually means slicing things down and figuring out what’s that minimum viable product. What’s the smallest bit we can get out the gate?
And that accelerated pace isn’t just about moving more quickly, but it’s a lot about making it so that your team can share information more quickly, closer to real-time, and learn closer to real-time.
Now, these are all very abstract ideas, so I thought, what better way to talk about Agile than to go ahead and play a little game. So I’m doing a pop quiz. I’m the son of two school teachers. So unfortunately, for you all today, I am prone to do these kinds of pop quizzes with trick questions. And my weird pop quiz today is, I want you to tell me what part of speech Agile is? Is an adjective?
Is it a noun? Is it a verb?
This is definitely a trick question, but I’d love to hear your take. You can join this pull the same way as the first one we did at the top of the session. If you’re just joining go to slido dot com, put in the Event ID, H R, D, Q U.
You can also take your smartphone and with your smartphone camera, scan the QR Code in the top left of my screen and that will jump you into the poll.
So what is add total?
Let’s see, let’s see, how many.
We have about 34 responses so far.
I’m sure we’ll get a lot more coming in. Yeah, here we go.
Keep the boats coming.
I keep, I still want to see what you guys, I have to say about this but, um, start unpacking the question.
I’m glad to see so many people answer an adjective because as a writer, storyteller and grammarian at heart yes, Agile is, in the most literal, strictest sense, an adjective or describing add activity. We’re describing efficiency, we’re describing speed, right?
Um, to sort of pull the curtain back, what I want us to sort of shift our thinking towards today is, I want us to start thinking about it instead as a verb.
And I want us to start thinking about agile as something we do. I know this is a very weird concept. and any of you strict … out there might be already getting frustrated because no, Agile is an adjective.
But today I want us to think about agile as a continuous practice, a commitment to continuous learning.
That is in comparison to a noun.
And very often, as I’ve talked about, Agile in the context of project management and Agile ways of working, I’ve seen people talk about Agile with an Uppercase A, right, or I hear people talk about agile as a framework, as a methodology.
There are a lot of practices that are designed to enable agility.
The Agile in and of itself is not a practice, and that’s the trick with that noun option. Agile is not a methodology.
Agile is at the end of the day and mindset.
one of my biggest mentors in the world of Agile was …, who is the founder of IC Agile. And he also happened to coin this concept of an Agile mindset.
So, rather than trying to overexplain the idea to myself, I asked him to hop on the phone with me, and then I hopped into beyond, to sort of animate it into a video to share with you all today. So please bear with me as I just switch or on my screens. I’m going to play a short video. If it doesn’t work for you, that’s OK. It’s linked in the handout section of your screen, and I’ll be back in a minute.
Oh, yeah, Tau Manifesto was a document written in 2001. Basically, software methodology, people came together and wanted to articulate the different way of working that they had been doing, compared to what the rest of the industry was doing. Really agile mindset. It’s a way of thinking. That’s defined by four values, described by … principles, and unmanifested, unlimited number of practices are different ways of working, and it’s simply a deep understanding and culture of learning and experimentation and trying things out. Any real benefit from this notion of an Agile way of working, one of the misconceptions about agile, is sort of why, why? Why do I want to become agile? Isn’t just to be more.
I think for some people, they may say, yes. But, for me, it’s not really is about customer centricity. Agility is the best way to serve your customers. Customer today isn’t a constant state of motion. There’s a lot changing for customers at all times, and the knowledge, and understanding that because I want to be more customer centric and the customers in a constant state of change, and I need to be more flexible, agile way I work. I’m saying no marketing people, HR, finance, people, development, content, creators, sales, disciplinary function that is trying to serve a customer, Agile becomes a necessity.
Not imagine now because you will not be able to truly surprise and delight and fulfill the needs of your customers. Without having a way of working where we are creating and trying things out and experimenting, inspecting and adapting and innovating. And being OK with failure, is a different mindset. It is a different set of capabilities. And I think if you just boil it down to doing things differently, that’s all you’re gonna do. You’re just gonna do a bunch of things differently. But, if you want to be a different person that is ready for the next century of how business is done in creative work, and customer centricity requires a learning journey for yourself. But it’s a journey worth pursuing, because it will change, and it will change the way you work. And it will change what you can do for your time.
I hope you all can hear me as I arrange my screens, once again, thanks for your patience. one of the things I really love about that video, and I’m allowed to talk about in this way because I can’t take any credit for it, But, um, I really love just how visually represents a lot of these ideas.
Pardon me, catalog screen sharing, but I also really love how it highlights this concept that Agile is a mindset described by four values defined by 12 principles and manifested through infinite practices, infinite ways of working.
And, this, this is an important framing for how we continue to talk about Agile today and how we try to put it into practice, compared to, for those of you who said in our first poll today, that you were already exposed to Agile, this is especially important to put up the front of our minds compared to, like, frameworks like Scrum or Kanban.
Because Agile is something that it’s so much more than those frameworks, Agile is a mindset.
And another note about the video, if you ever want to look at it again, or share it, you can go to YouTube. If you just search agile mindset, and then VYOND, you should be able to find it. It’s linked in that handout that you can find and GoToWebinar here today.
And also, if there are any beyond customers here, you can actually open that video into your account and customize it with your own company’s colors. You can add your own ideas on slice characters that look like you, things like that. Just a fun fact.
OK, so now that we have sort of wrap our heads around Agile, we’ve gotten an introductory view of the high-level concepts behind actual ways of working. And we’ve also established Agile as a mindset, not a framework.
Let’s talk about how we can make it a little more practical, and this is the interactive part, so get ready, everyone, juran. So I’m going to walk us through a Lean coffee activity.
Lean Coffee is an agenda, this meeting, facilitation technique that sort of was popularized in the Agile community. And the way it works is, rather than having, you know, the highest paid person in the room, or the hippo as I say. Sort of mandate what we’re talking about. Everyone comes to the table, and everyone has a voice and determining what the, what’s going to be covered in them.
So, I’m going to apply it here and we’re going to follow the same structure. Where people can pitch topics. I’ve prepared on the pitches for today.
So I’m gonna do some elevator pitches to you, all for things we can talk about And then everyone in the meeting, everyone in the event, we’ll have an opportunity to vote on what they feel is most relevant, what’s most valuable for us to be talking about together.
And we’ll just cover as much as we can from those topics that got the most votes.
It’s sort of a way to democratize a meeting and make sure that it’s as relevant as possible to all the people at the meeting, and not just reflecting the individual concerns of the manager or the highest paid person in there.
Let me get some water. Let me get ready to give my pitches. I want to make these as quick as possible so we can get into the meat of things. So, my first pitch for you today is Agile values. So, one topic we could cover, if researchers, would be to go through some of those values that occupant mentioned, which were defined in the Agile Manifesto for software development. We’ll talk about how we can translate those values from the context of software development into our own context as maybe HR and Human Capital Management professionals.
My second pitch for you all today. We can also talk about Agile workflows. So, this is talking about that day-to-day work, that constant flood of tasks, big or small, that we seem to have to get done every day. How can we tackle that constant influx of work in a more agile way?
By comparison, my third pitch covers more of those big projects instead of the day-to-day work. How do we bake agility? How do we bake that agile mindset into big projects, and big initiatives from the jump?
My fourth pitch, for what we could cover, would be promoting an agile culture. What are some key things we can do as people, leaders, or just as, you know, influencer leaders at our organization to encourage our closest collaborators and stakeholders to also adopt an agile mindset?
Fifth, Piche fifth option that I’ll have you vote on shortly.
Many Agile frameworks like Scrum and Kanban have really strictly defined roles that would set on an agile team.
So in this topic, I can introduce you to some of the most commonly found roles on an Agile team, and we can sort of see what we can borrow from, from those roles to apply it to our own teams.
And lastly, just to make sure you’re all walking away with some practical takeaways. My sixth and final topic that I’m pitching to you is experiments you can start today. What are some small, contained experiments that you could get started on as soon as you leave this webinar?
All right, So, let me check the question pane to see if anyone has any questions, up outs.
My pitch is, I’m not seeing any wildlife and just to confirm you should be able to hear my voice, but you should not be able to see my webcam anymore just to make all the tabs switching easy on everyone, OK? No questions, oh, Celia asked, do we pick one? Yes. So now we’re going to go back to our final poll today. And everyone’s going to vote on what we want to talk about. What feels most relevant. What most matches up with what you were hoping to learn today? Again, to join the poll, it will not be a popup that you can go to slido dot com as you can see on the left side of my screen and put in the code, H, R, D, Q U can do this from another tab on your current device. You can do it from a phone and if you’re using a smartphone, you can also get to the fallback scanning that QR code in the top left of your screen.
I’m glad to see it. Looks like a lot of people are already in the poll and voting on the few topics they want to cover most. I think it allows you to rank them.
Give us some time to decide our fate for the rest of today. What do we want to talk about, what I’m going to talk about?
I’m seeing 52 responses in so far.
Slowing down. So I’m gonna say, go on once.
Go in twice.
Alright, in the spirit of time, I’m gonna go with our clear front vendors right now. I’m going to call promoting an agile culture or topic.
And agile workflows are second.
If we have time, I’ll try to get to experiments you can start today.
And if we have lots of time, and I’m moving quickly, I’ll make sure we include project management.
OK, so this is the fun part where I wanted to demonstrate, like agility in action by making this webinar interactive and make it so that you sort of choose your own adventure, but that means I have a lot of notes to shuffle, to make sure I’m getting to the right slide.
So, just one moment, let’s go ahead and start with, um, let’s start with promoting an Agile culture, which is on slide 26.
So, I thought a good way for us to talk about how we can promote an Agile culture would be to look at some of the principles that are also included in the Agile Manifesto. Now, if you remember, as Ahmed said, Agile is a mindset defined by four values from this document, the Agile Manifesto for Software Development. And that document further described or defined those values through 12 different principles that we can turn to for inspiration.
Some of them will require us to do some translation because the manifesto for Agile software development was written in, I think it was 2001 in Salt Lake City, by a bunch of software, meant that all just.
And a lot of it holds for how we can work in, in this digital age, no matter what our function is. Even if we’re not technologists ourselves, but we may need to translate some of their language to take those learnings away.
Just, if you’re curious, to if you want to reference or read up on the whole Agile Manifesto, you can go to agile manifesto dot org, I believe. I also have that linked in that handout of resources that I’ve shared.
So, let’s look at some of the principles. These are a few that I pulled out that I thought were especially relevant to promoting an Agile culture.
The fourth principle from the manifesto is that business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. This is something that people have talked about a lot, especially in the last 10 or 20 years, as various companies and enterprises have taken on digital transformation initiatives, right? We need to break down silos. We need to collaborate. We need to work cross functionally.
And it’s really important that we, as human Capital Management professionals, are already functioning. He said and are continuing to break out of our department break out of our office and actually work alongside people from throughout the organization.
Not just meet with them and swap updates, but actually work and deeply collaborate with them.
Next principle that I wanted to highlight was that the most efficient and effective method of conveying information is face-to-face conversation. Now this one again it was written in 2001.
So it’s kind of It’s kind of a different story right now and working pandemic conditions and face to face conversation isn’t always possible.
To me, I translate face-to-face to mean, we need to have human ways of communicating, not just e-mails, not just hand books, not just documentation, we need to be talking to each other, and ideally, we need to be accommodating for the fact that humans rely on visual and non-verbal cues to fully understand complex information, and that sort of video calls are helpful, but even going beyond this Idea of Face to face, this is where videos are helpful doodles, are helpful breaking out a whiteboard and, and sort of illustrating a concept, as you’re talking about it, during a meeting that is valuable.
Next, the Agile Manifesto has its seventh principle of working software as the primary measure of progress, OK, so this one definitely needs some translation for us today, but by working software, they mean results. They mean outcomes.
You know we can think about in that context of software development it doesn’t matter if you have a bust robust owner’s manual for a piece of hardware or a user manual for a piece of software.
And you know, even if that handbook tells it tells the user everything they need to know to make your software work, that’s not as important as whether or not the software actually works.
So for us, we can translate into our contexts no matter what your output is. That work is actually delivering on the outcome, it’s intended to deliver. That’s what we measure for success on, not the actual output, not the documentation, but the outcome.
I also included the eighth principle, Agile processes promote sustainable development, and one should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
So a lot of people really run with the understanding of Agile as an adjective to go back to one of our polls where they’re thinking about agile as a way to get faster, more efficient, more nimble.
And a lot of people when they try and work faster, they just start doing exactly that. They just accelerate their pace. They burnout. They work long hours to get the same amount of work done in less time.
That’s not what Agile is about.
In terms of peace, we need to create a sustainable pace. Maybe some days we work late. Maybe some days we have big pushes, but that should not be the norm. We should never work harder or faster than we are able to continuously and in perpetuity maintain.
Let’s get even more specific and translate some of these ideas for people management.
Quickly scanning some questions, I’m seeing. Elizabeth, I’m seeing you, you’re asking for the link to that video. If it’s on the handout, you can go to YouTube and search, Agile and Agile Mindset fionna.
I’m going to write the keywords here, since I unfortunately, don’t have the link handy.
And that should get you the video in YouTube.
And then, let me make sure I’m not missing any other questions, rates, if I missed any, I’ll come back to them, OK. So, let’s keep talking about how to translate these principles for People management.
So, we want to reduce the number of handoffs. This is related to that first principle that I shared about working and collaborating directly with people from around the organization.
We need to cut off all those handoffs that we may be inherited from, you know, waterfall approaches to project management, that used to be the norm.
And, we need to start going straight to the source of information. We need to stop waiting for managers to have meetings to pass off that information to, then get information, and then the other meeting to then bring back to our teams. We, ourselves need to all empower ourselves to go directly to key stakeholders, and the people who have the most information.
To collaborate with them.
Next, as this is especially important for any of you who are people, managers, or people leaders, we need to develop T shaped generalizing specialists.
So, T shaped refers to this concept.
I encourage you to look up T shaped, and Google it if you’re fascinated by this, because there is a lot of excellent thought out there in the world, on the Internet, around this concept.
But, basically, at what it is, is it this, this idea of professionals and their, their set of skills in the shape of a T, where that long, vertical leg of the letter T represents deep specialization, highly specialized skills related to their functional role.
And then, not horizontal, that, that top line represents a capacity to, you know, work outside, that specialty. It shows a breadth of skill and ability to collaborate.
And having both that deep specialization and those generalizing competencies, we’ll allow your teams too collaborate more cross functionally.
Next, this is related to that principle around face-to-face communication.
And I think I already, I already gave some of these ideas, some of this idea away, but when we’re communicating with our teams, when we’re preparing communications to go out to our organization, or customers or, or whatever, whatever our audience may be, we need to seek media rich and non-verbal format for that communication. We need to make sure we’re not just communicating with written language, but we need to be communicating in a more human way, with video, with animation, with drawings, with visualizations, and graphs, things like that.
And then we want to, as I alluded to before, focus on outcomes rather than outputs.
Lastly, as it relates to that point about sustainable pace, we should be avoiding burnout at all costs.
I hope everyone here takes good care of themselves, but just in case you still have been holding onto some, something someone taught you, where burning out and hard work is a noble badge of honor to wear.
It is not. We need to maintain a sustainable pace at all times, and you need to take care of yourself and your teammates and slow down, when necessary, in order to work more quickly, and deliver the most valuable work more quickly.
All right, so that’s my soapbox spiel about promoting an agile culture before I move on to the next thing we voted on. I do also want to add one more concept that I was exposed to in my time in the Agile community, around, promoting an Agile culture, and that is around leadership.
A lot of those ideas might be really immediately practical, in an obvious way, for any of you who are people, managers, or people leaders.
But I want to highlight that as we aspire toward a more agile way of working, a more collaborative way of working, everyone on a team can think of themselves as a leader, as a servant leader.
And even if you don’t have any direct reports, even if you’re not functionally speaking, a people manager, you can influence your team to adopt some of these, these hallmarks of the agile mindset.
And you can influence an agile culture at your organization.
Now, the next thing we voted on, for the most, I think it was agile workflows, so I can absolutely jump into that.
Let me see, I want to make sure I’m covering any questions as I go through. There are some good MIDI ones. I’m definitely going to save for the end. Yeah, I’m going to save some of those meaty ones for the end, so don’t worry if I see your questions. Melody, Gail, Ryan, all of you and I will get to them but let’s go ahead and plow forward with talking about workflows.
So, again, just to recap, my pitch from earlier today, actual workflows, this topic, this little section, that we’re going to talk about, is all about how we can apply some of these concepts, these values, and principles, from the Agile Manifesto into our day-to-day work.
How do we cope with the constant influx of tasks, and requests, and, and new work? And how do we tackle that in a more agile way?
If there’s only one idea that I can hammer home as it relates to Agile workflows, it is to adopt a whole system of work.
Whole system of work. So, what do I mean by that?
I mean, that, for many of us, especially if we’d been working in a context where, you know, project management kind of, looks a lot like Waterfall, we might have more of a push system of work as our default.
We might have work pushed onto us, either by the highest paid person in the room, or the highest person in your team’s hierarchy.
Maybe it’s the director or CEO of sorts, and, for a lot of people, the norm is that those, you know, privileged positions, are able to push work onto your plate when they feel it’s most important. And without undermining, you know, the value of that kind of executive vision.
I want to encourage you all, to instead adopt a pulse system of work.
Where you are empowering yourself, to, instead of accepting whatever is pushed on you, to only pull work in, based on your understanding, your evaluation of what is most valuable, what’s most feasible, and what’s going to have the greatest impact, what’s going to deliver the greatest outcome, both for your organization and for the customers you serve?
Let me pause there as that sinks in, and just clarify that. If you hear me talking about customers, if you hear me talk about customer value, just like augment talked about in that video.
Customer centricity is a key, key value of the Agile mindset.
But for those of us, in human capital management, we might feel like, you know, our work doesn’t directly touch the customer.
First of all, even if you don’t directly touch the customer, or impact the customer, you are having an indirect impact on your end customer, right? And second of all, for the purposes of today, if I talk about customer value or a reference, what’s going to help them the greatest outcome for your customer? I’m talking about maybe your internal customers. If you are an HR representative, maybe your internal customers make up of. You know, the employees that you represent or that you are assigned to.
So, let’s, let’s think about customers that way, as we continue.
To illustrate this idea of a whole system of work, I wanted to highlight two different methodologies that emerge from the Agile world: Kanban and Scrum. And those of you who, at the beginning of our sessions and you are already exposed to Agile. These are two frameworks that you very likely might have been exposed to.
I wanted to use these as examples, too, because they are great, great examples of visualizing your work. So after this slide, I’m going to show some visualized examples of what combined in West Crum looks like, and hopefully, that’ll help further illustrate the idea of a pull system of work.
So Kanban Instagram at a high level, I think the biggest difference between these two agile frameworks is that combine is more for flow based where it gets for constant influx of work for a scrum. You’re working in a more release driven way, that some tech lingo, know, if you, if you want to think about, if you have a smartphone, and whenever you go to update an app, you get that new version number of whatever you’re downloading, and maybe you can get those release notes.
So that’s a release that that software developers for that app, have packaged together all these features for a release.
And its sort of a way of, in this illustration, I have me, like Courtney Self-portrait, sort of holding this packaged up box. You’re saying, OK, here’s what we’re going to get done in this release in a short amount of time. We’re getting it up there in one batch.
And choosing whether your work looks more like flow-based work or at least driven work that’s totally up to you. And maybe switching between the two can be a cool experiment and better understanding how to structure your work.
But I digress.
To give some history, Kanban comes from the world of auto manufacturing, specific thing in Japan, whereas Scrum really was the sort of brainchild of software developers.
In both combat and Scrum, you are working with the backlog. Now, let me define backlog before I rambled too much about the differences here.
You may. So, if you haven’t been exposed to Agile before, you may think of, Backlog, As this parking lot of all this work that’s overdue that you’ve never gotten to.
It’s in the back, like we’ve never been able to get to it, or you may, you may know the word backlog. As a way to describe, like, I’m so backed up, I’m so backlogged, I’m so behind.
In Agile ways of working, a backlog is totally healthy.
Everyone has one, and it’s an, it’s a critical, critical function in how you organize your work.
So, whether you want to adopt something that looks like Kanban or Scrum, as you sort of shift to a more agile way of working, you’re going to want to set up a backlog.
Because the backlog is where all work starts. It’s not where overdue work starts, it’s where everything goes before you start working on it.
Because it’s only in the backlog that you are able to initially assess the value, that that piece of work that task is going to have.
What kind of impact will it have on your customer?
What kind of impact will it have on the business?
That’s how you assess the value.
And you can also assess the effort. What’s feasible?
How or what can you reasonably tackle within a short amount of time, um, while maintaining a sustainable pace.
So that’s my quick explanation of the backlog but not so big explanation. The way of backlog looks differently, and bundled Scrum is that new con Bon. Your backlog is right up there along with the rest of your work. So when you’re visualizing your work. You maybe have a workforce like you might have on the tool, Trello, Asana, or it could just be sticky notes on your desk. That’s totally fine, too.
Your backlog of new tasks that your kind of needing to prioritize are right up there along with the rest of your work because you’re going to be constantly pulling work in from your backlog.
Scrum by comparison, has a separate backlog, a distinct backlog, because you’re working in these batches, you’re working in a release driven kind of way.
Let’s say you’re working in a Sprint or you’re working in a Batch that takes up two weeks. You’re saying, OK.
I’m going to work in a two-week sprint. And.
Here’s everything I’m going to get done in those two weeks.
So that’s why the backlog separate, because you’re going to look every two weeks at your Backlog and say, OK, what new requests have popped up? What are people asking me to work on? Now that I’m getting ready for a new release, a new sprint, a new, a new chunk of time?
What can I reasonably take on? What’s the most important? What’s the most valuable? And you do that work in the backlog separate from your day-to-day work.
What I just described speaks to the last points on these bullet point lists. Kanban. you’re continuously prioritizing work as soon as it’s as soon as you get a request. You’re going to evaluate it. You’re going to assess how important and valuable at this so that you can pull it from the backlog in progress at any point.
And with Scrum, it’s cadenced meeting every two weeks, or however long your sprints, or maybe one week.
But at these intervals, regular intervals are going to sort of prioritize your work and then decide what you can tackle, OK, so these are some pretty big ideas, it’s pretty incredible that I’m attempting to squeeze it all into one slide.
So it, your brain is kind of gobbledygook.
That’s to be expected, and that’s why I’m following up with these visualizations that I created and beyond. It’s gonna loop a few times. Don’t worry it, that’s a little choppier fast. You can also find it in the handout link.
So in the handout, you’ll find it under the webinar recap that I wrote for a previous edition of this workshop and in that blog post, that Recapped blog post, you can actually access these gifts and reference them that they’re helpful.
But this is an example of flow-based work like Kanban.
So, as you can see, we have a backlog right up there on the board.
And as new work comes in, like Task four, it’s getting evaluated and prioritized, and then we are continuously pulling work across the board or pulling it to done from left to right. That’s that whole system of work.
And a key feature of that Pulse system of work, is we’re only working on one, maybe two things at a time, because we want to reduce the amount of work we have in progress.
When we reduce the amount of work you have in progress and maximize the amount of work, not done, we are building room for greater focus, and we’re building room to get work done more quickly.
So this is another myth that needs to be busted. The myth of multitasking.
Don’t aspire to multitask as you adopt an agile way of working aspire to mono tasks and that’s where a whole system of work can really help you start monotasking more.
So let’s compare this this visualization of Kanban to this visualization of Scrum.
So like I said, the backlog is separate and every two weeks you’re gonna go through an exercise of saying, OK, these are the things I think I can get done in these two weeks. You can figure out what’s most important. And then once again, once you start that two-week sprint or however long it may be, you’re going to full work to done.
I’m going to pause on this slide. We can sort of absorb the animation and some of these very complex ideas. And let allow me to take a moment just to check out your questions.
This is a great question from Melody, what is the for review and blocked designations? Whatsapp or I get that question a lot, especially when I’m training my teams on how we structure our work. So in both of these visualizations, I have a column for blocked.
And I have a column, or review, I think of review as ready for internal review. So, if we’re talking about your HR team, this is for maybe the manager or a key stakeholder, or just appear to review your work. If that’s relevant. That’s where it can go to Say, this is ready for someone else’s eyes.
By comparison, I think of blocked as an external dependency. Like, we’re waiting on this contract to come back from this external vendor, or, oh, We’re waiting on.
We’re waiting on the sign off, from somebody outside our team.
It’s, I think it’s valuable to sort of keep those separate, because blocked, you can kind of, in the spirit of focus, not pay attention to, and you can just focus on the other things that are actionable. And, and you just sort of check out the blocked column every couple days, just to see, like, there’s anything changes or anything I can nudge forward or remind people about. But, otherwise, I’m going to focus on what’s in progress, and see if I can help anyone out by providing reviews.
OK, let me mark that, as answered.
I don’t know how to do that, actually, so I’m just going to keep moving through your questions.
Um, Ah, Melody also asked another really great question talking about prioritization. What if your determination of what is valuable does not align with your immediate manager or halo, higher levels of the department or organization?
Who or where does that get discussed?
So, I didn’t just visualize your work. I didn’t just visualize Scrum and Kanban here just to explain the concept.
I visualized these ways of managing workflows because visualizing your work is huge and being able to talk about value, being able to talk about efficiency and speed.
So I encourage you all to use tools like Asana or Trello or Jira. Or Monday.
Any of those task management software is available now because they all allow you to visualize your work in the same way that I’m showing with these gifts.
Now, why am I talking about visualization when you’re talking about misalignment with stakeholders?
Because when you visualize your work, and you make it visible to other people in the organization, including key stakeholders, it allows you to have these conversations about value.
So that when your CEO comes here and says, Actually, this is the most important thing, it drops everything, You need to do this. You can actually show them your board, and we’re like, OK. So, like, relatively speaking, you’re saying it’s the most important, but how does it compare to this other most important thing that we have in progress?
And, you know, where does this fit in? How do we move things around?
And that tends to get everyone aligned.
If there’s still misalignment on what really is most valuable if you’re looking at the board of work, so to speak. And one person thinks this is most valuable. And another person thinks this is most valuable.
It should it’s a worthy conversation to kind of debate it in a healthy way and actually talk about, OK, what delivers the most outcome? Not what feels most important?
What’s going to deliver the most out, the greatest impact, the most value to our end customer, or internal customers?
If you still can’t agree, that’s where hopefully, you have well intentioned and competent leadership who you can sort of defer to their guidance, having a vision for what is most valuable to the business and to the customer.
And if you don’t, then you might need to take on a broader Agile transformation initiative and bring in fancy consultants to help your organization adopt an agile mindset that values customer value.
All right, I’m seeing that we’re low on time.
We have plenty of questions, so I’m going to go ahead and get to, um, I’m going to skip ahead to an exercise or experiments we can do today Quickly. Just blow through that to make sure we have time to answer questions within this hour-long block.
I just really want to make sure that everyone is able to walk away with some practical tips you can try out.
So I’m going to can be quick like I said, this is just try this instead of that format. Tried to make your workload visible to your teams to the point melodies to make it so that everyone can see what your work, instead of protecting everything.
Now this is particularly tricky, and you know it’s easy for me to put this on the slide.
But, um, making things visible, it can be very challenging for human capital management professionals who are often handling personnel or confidential information, right?
Um, even if you have to create a code word, or you have to use Jane Doe sort of nameplates folders for individuals.
The more you can safely expose your workload in terms of value, effort, required, et cetera.
And the more you can make it, OK to share with other people, the easier your job will become.
So, you don’t have to, you know, violate confidentiality, but you can, so try to make your as visible as possible.
Next, try to experiment with new ideas. Contained experiments in terms of the way you work, trikes contained experiments with what you’re delivering, maybe there’s a new way to do things. Find an opportunity to try it out in a contained way, rather than just committing to a documented policy.
And you don’t need to wait to do a complete policy overhaul to try and experiment. Give yourself permission to say, you know, we’re gonna violate policy with this one. And give it a lot of love and intention and try something out in a new way today.
Try revisiting your work at regular intervals, rather than constantly looking ahead to the next task.
So revisiting your work at regular intervals is an Agile concept, and you’ll often be able to find materials, content, thought, leadership around this idea of an Agile retrospective.
I encourage you all to Google Agile Retrospectives if you want some ideas for formats, you can use to facilitate meetings where you actually, take the time to look back at how your team is working.
Because if you’re not doing that, if you’re not taking the time to go back and look at how you work, how are you ever going to continuously learn, inspect, and adapt, and get better?
Lastly, I have trying to listen to your customers about what they need next, rather than listening to hippos in industry, but again, hippos is lingo for highest paid person in the room. While those stakeholders should ideally be invested in delivering customer value.
And their goals should hopefully align with delivering customer value, that just isn’t always the case. And this is where we need to break away from the paradigm of waterfall project management methodologies. Because very often, when we’re just accepting whatever the person above us, I’m using air quotes here. Even though you can’t see my webcam, when we just default to what the person above us is saying, we’re putting their voice of the customer.
And in order to deliver greater value, we actually need to put the customer’s voice first. We need to be listening and engaging closely with them.
So again, let’s go back to this idea of the customer.
As we talk about this last point, listening to customers rather than hippos, I want you to think about who are my customers?
Are they employees that my organization, that I represent, are they a set of managers that I serve?
Is it the end customer, the people who consume whatever product, or service that your company or organization offers Once you have sort of identified who your end customer is, make sure you’re listening to them.
Alright, I’m gonna skip ahead to questions. That’s pretty much my day.
Thanks for letting me cloud through a lot of those things. Now, I know we only covered, maybe three out of the six topics that I pitched, that’s to be expected, I never managed to get through more. That’s why we voted on what was most valuable.
But rest assured, all of those, all of those topics, are that, you know, there’s a wealth of knowledge out there, on the and on the Intranet. And this was just intended to expose everyone to Agile or re familiarize folks with Agile through the lens of it being a mindset.
Now, let me take these last couple of minutes to just tackle any other questions that are left over. Oh, I’m seeing a follow up question to what is that blocked column?
So the quick follow up question is, I could task in the blocked column, go back to progress.
Absolutely. Ideally, when something gets blocked, you move it back to progress. And that’s another reason why, you need to make sure you’re reducing the amount of work you have in progress. Because if something all of a sudden becomes actionable, but you’ve picked up eight other projects, you may no longer have time to get it across the finish line.
So, yes, sometimes things will move back and forth across the board in its lifespan of getting completed. The ultimately, the goal is to pull everything from left to right, to get it done.
I’m seeing a great question from Stacy here. How do you deal with people already having too many meetings to attend, nor to post having daily or weekly meetings?
Yes, So for those who maybe aren’t familiar, many Agile framework or practices, like scrum kanban, they have links.
These daily stand ups are daily huddle meetings, where everyone gets an update on their work every single day. That can be super daunting and if they’re facilitated incorrectly, they can absolutely just be a drain on everyone’s time and energy and morale.
I’m still a big fan of them. I do think that having regular 10-minute meetings, even my team, we meet three times a week for 10 minutes just to check in. And those are all about like, OK, is anyone blocked on anything? Are there any questions?
Anything we’re not or feeling stuck on, and then we break, and they don’t feel like no, and they impede on our productivity too much.
You know, if that doesn’t work for your team, then listen to your team.
Another concept of agility that we didn’t get into too deeply today is that self-organizing teams are the most effective.
So, leave it to your teams, your collaborators, to figure out what rhythm, what cadence of meetings works best for them, but I would encourage you to not use meetings to share information that could be shared. Otherwise, this is a chance to just block and tackle, and make sure everyone is feeling empowered and able to move ahead. It’s not a time to say something that could just be an e-mail or short video.
Let me see, what other great questions have we covered? I’m going to try and answer all of these, but if I don’t answer your question, let me just say, I would love to be in touch with any of you. Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn. My name is Kevin …, Deutsche …: OK, Brian asks, when it comes to being agile, focusing on the customer. and results. Can you still be inclusive compassionate and caring for people?
Absolutely. In fact, that focus on the customer and outcome.
Really, I think we’re placing greater value on people rather than metrics, rather than goals or targets. We’re saying, actually, what I care most about is making a real difference for the people I serve, the people in my audience.
And serving value means, inclusivity means considering diversity and representation and striving for equity.
It means I’m learning systems that don’t serve people.
And that means telling your closest colleagues like, hey, don’t worry about that super urgent deadline, like, we need to work at a sustainable pace. You have life going on, it’s OK, drop it.
We’re gonna adapt to our current circumstances, and that’s OK.
I think I have three minutes. Let me pop through more. questions can be. so rambling. sometimes, I’m seeing a question. Can you paint a picture of what agile method would look like, when applied to a small sized team?
Traditionally, run with waterfall water flow method, and the design industry? Yes, so my background is actually in content creation for software. So I’m really familiar with design teams.
Do they graphic design teams, or people like talking about, know, design thinking? So at all the Agile mindset, especially can be adopted, even on teams of one. You can look up personal con Bon and you’ll get examples of that linked visualization. template that I showed earlier today for workflows.
For Teams of one, when you’re working on a small team. Basically, what you’re doing is you’re trying to bring that small team together, share the work, make it so that everyone’s accountable for the same outcomes, not different slices of work.
Now, I think you mentioned design teams, because design teams traditionally have these hyper specialized people like a designer, a copywriter, a video producer, a creative director.
And that can make it feel difficult to understand, like, how can we all share the work, how can we collaborate.
And that’s where you want to make sure you’re developing creative or design teams, to be T shaped.
So, if you already have a team pulled together with a lot of folks with deep specialization, great, give them some more marketing and creative competencies so that they can help their teammates out. They can still be deeply specialized that gives them the skills and develop them to be able to collaborate with greater generalizing breadth.
If you have a lot of people who are already equally sharing the work and you look up and down the team and everyone has more or less the same skills, maybe it’s designed to work in the opposite direction. Develop that, vertical leg of the T, give people distinct specializations. That they can be deeply knowledgeable, knowledgeable about.
Oh. Great. That was a wonderful session today. Kevin. Thanks so much for your time.
Yeah, no problem and high Ariana, I see you wanted me to turn my webcam and hi everyone. Thanks again. Yeah, thanks for sharing all your great questions.
Yeah, we had some great questions today. And today’s webinar was sponsored by Vyond. Vyond Allows people of all skill levels and All industries and job roles to create dynamic and powerful media. You can learn more at www.vyond.com. And that is all the time that we have for today. Again, thank you, Kevin, so much for such a powerful presentation today.
Yeah. I think thank you all for having me. Thanks for listening to me, ramble. And again, please do feel free to get in touch, whether you have questions about Agile or creating animations with Vyond.
I’m here to help.
Yes, and thank you all for participating in today’s webinar, happy training.
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