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How to solve organizational impediments

 

It's often been said that Agile exposes the problems inherent in the organization and management is left with a choice to solve them - or not.  Either decision will impact the organization's ability to transform.  In Agile, we call those problems "Impediments".  Whether they're at the team level or the organizational level, these are the things that either slow the teams down, or prevent them from accomplishing the things they set out to do.

 

So what if the managers are willing to solve the problems, but, facing years or even decades of dysfunction? Situations like this can overwhelm the most eager agile leader.

 

What if introducing some simple agile practices can help? Following the Scrum pattern of "Get On With It", the organization can establish a Team of Teams forum, a bi-weekly, quick meeting with a purpose of gathering organizational challenges from an elected Agile team representative.

 

These challenges are added to a backlog and addressed Kanban style by an Agile Leadership Board (ALB) staffed with the organizations managers.  The ALB may also work to define or refine the organizational practices, introduce new ideas, or further the expansion of agile practices.  Once the challenge is solved, the leaders notify the Team of Teams, and the reps bring the outcome to the team. 

 

Further experimentation, like using a Standup Style Agile Leadership meeting, has improved our ability to quickly solve organization problems and in fact, we've solved over 75% of those identified since July of 2016.

 

The introduction of the Team of Teams forum combined with the Agile Leadership board has been a big win for the organization I coach, because many of those problems existed for years and while the teams knew they slowed them down, they had grown apathetic towards getting them solved.

 

How about your organization?  What are you doing to solve the big problems slowing you down?

 

 

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