You know you need Agile: everyone in the industry talks about it. And saying you are Agile makes your team looks cool. And there is something wrong with your current methodology; it doesn’t work. But you don’t know where to start. Even hiring the most expensive Agile coaches in the town hasn’t reduced your stress. After all, you don’t see a straight, smooth path to Agile.
But don’t worry. You can get it right if you do it step by step. Who can learn a pile of new concepts and methodologies overnight? It takes time; adopting Agile is a long journey. And you must survive. How? You need quick wins. It’s necessary to persuade all the folks to accompany the adventure. Quick wins help a lot. You should address their deep psychological needs to keep your team members motivated.
Cool. So what are the best steps I can take to transit to Agile? What provides us with quick wins? In other words, what I need to do in the first days to prove Agile works? I need to get immediate, positive feedback to fuel the rest of journey.
Start with three steps in order. In this post, I review the first one: daily stand-ups. You read it correctly. The very first step for quick Agile transition is to schedule daily stand-ups.
Schedule Daily Stand-ups
There are many organizations that are neither Waterfall nor fully Agile because they are still in transition phase or their progress toward Agile hasn’t gone well and they got stuck somewhere in the middle. But even these non-full-Agile teams conduct daily stand-ups – a.k.a. Daily Scrums. Why? It’s because daily stand-ups are easy to execute and also tangibly effective.
Among all Agile technics and ceremonies, daily stand-up is the simplest to set up. You need to gather your team for 15 minutes everyday and exchange updates. I know. There are many ways stand-ups can go wrong. But you don’t have to be perfect. As long as you keep it short, you will reap the fruits. But how?
Share Achievements, Be Proud
Let’s take a step back. Humans love attention and also being challenged. The latter, however, is true only if you have hired the right ones. Let’s assume that’s the case.
Anyway, we love sharing our achievements with others, being proud of them, and get challenged again. Attending daily stand-up is a great way for your team members to fulfill these needs.
- “This is great! I can share my achievements and concerns. Now they know how hard I work!”
Everyone should feel excited about stand-ups. And “should” is not “does”. So you need to make it happen. People must have meaningful tasks to feel great about them and be thrilled to share their stories. We’ll discuss this in part II.
But if they like it for this reason, you are on step closer to sell Agile –or Scrum. A big step.
Share Concerns, Get Help
- “After this meeting, I know with whom I should talk and ask my questions.”
- “At least there is a channel for us to raise our concerns.”
Yes. They should feel comfortable talking about their questions and concerns –or formally known as “impediments”, and you must help them out then; so simple, yet effective. Knowing someone is there to help, your team members feel safe.
A Sense of Belonging
That’s not all. There is one more major benefit: daily stand-ups create a sense of belonging to a larger team or even a community. Everyone knows what the others do. No silos anymore.
Additionally, I can share my achievements and concerns, no matter how much trivial they are. My team members help me out when I am stuck. I can lend a hand when they need me. We have a common vision. We are a true team!
Needless to say, we all love a sense of belonging to a social group. We are social creatures after all. This tendency is in our nature. It has always been. And since we spend a lot of our time at work, it makes and keeps us happy to have the affiliation feeling at work too. A work family. If you create this feeling, you will have paved a lot of your path toward Agile. Congrats!
Do you remember Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs? biological needs, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. Frequent, well-conducted stand-ups will satisfy four of the five:
- “I can share my achievements, be proud of them, and get challenged with new user stories”. This person has got satisfaction for a couple of his needs:esteem, being respected for achievements and gain social status, and self-actualization, personal growth and actualize one’s potentials. We will discuss the latter more in part II.
- “I am not alone in doing this. If I face any blocking issue, there will be a team of colleagues who are willing to help me out. And I can always count on our Scrum Master”. She feels safe. Isn’t this feeling great?
- “We are not a group of people; we belong to a true community. And we have our daily rituals that empower us”. Yes, you build a community or at least, you take the first step to do it when you start having your stand-ups. A community will satisfy the need for belongings and relationship. Stand-ups resemble old days townhall meetings.
Change management is about human psychology. If you properly address human psychological needs, you are in the right direction. Your team members will like you, trust you, and of course want to continue the journey with you. And these are exactly what you need to transit to Agile.
So go ahead and schedule your daily stand-ups if you haven’t done it already. In the post, I will cover the second step: “Power of Vertical Slice”
What do you think? Do you agree with this step? Is there any other Agile technic you believe you should start first?
Should you go down and comment right there? Yes, of course. I would like to hear different opinions.