A quick walk around the ReadyTalk office might lead one to believe that we have stock in 3M. Our hallways look more like an elementary school than a software development company, but there is a business purpose behind our mass consumption of Post-It notes and construction paper:
We are Agile.
The engineering team's scrum board in action.
ReadyTalk’s Agile implementation started over two years ago with the Engineering team’s adoption of Scrum, which led to a more efficient development process and more engaged developers. Engineering’s Scrum practice takes a pretty text-book approach with seven small teams working in two-week iteration cycles. Work-in-progress is managed using Scrum Boards that give a real-time status for the current iterations.
It didn’t take long for other departments to notice its success. Marketing was the next team to move to Agile, customizing a scrum/Kanban hybrid model to fit their unique needs. Managing their work in-progress with color-coded Post-Its and index cards has given their team more visibility to what everyone is working on and why. Their manager says, “Taking an Agile approach to our projects creates a team consensus on priorities and how we are spending out time. Our work has become less silo-ed.” She also pointed out how the use of regular retrospectives forces the team to look back on what they have done so they can constantly improve the process.
The visibility that the process provided into Marketing’s work was apparent to other teams too; the Events Team and Customer Care Teams took notice. Both teams recently adopted a Kanban board to manage their internal projects that were historically lost in the shuffle of their day-to-day responsibilities. One member of the customer care team says, “Our team is more connected to each other and more knowledgeable about what our teammates are doing throughout the day. Due to the nature of support, we sometimes find ourselves tied down to our computers and phones with limited opportunities to collaborate with multiple colleagues at the same time. The daily scrum is our chance to physically stand in a circle together and get everyone on the same page very quickly.”
Marketing is using a very colorful scrum process.
Agile is all around us here at ReadyTalk, but each team has embraced it and made it their own. While the details of each implementation vary, individual teams and departments have taken the basic principles behind Agile and hit the ground running. The “evaluate and adapt” methodology means that the each team’s process is constantly improving to meet their changing needs for agile flavor all that’s their own.
Is your organization using Agile? If so, where and how? What’s working? What isn’t?