Related How improv can help your team do agile

first_img(Related: How improv can help your team do agile)A lot of companies, especially large ones, talk a big game about agile. When I’ve had a chance to peek inside, far too often they’re agile in name only. They do standups and use an agile board to track work, but they haven’t embraced the fact that agile means dealing with uncertainty, constantly challenging yourself to change when you need to, and trusting your teams to make the right call when the moment comes.When a company goes agile, questions like “When will this feature ship?” will be met with answers like “When it’s ready. We’re aiming for late next month,” or even better, “It already shipped, and we ship an improvement to it every day!” That’s a radical change from “Whenever we’re forced to ship it in order to meet our sales teams’ quota for the quarter.” And we managers should be motivating our teams to understand the importance of their effort and trust that our teams care as deeply about that feature (and the impact to our business) as we do.For their part, team members from different disciplines have to work side by side instead of working in isolation, and then “throw it over the wall” to the next team. That means aligning road maps, planning cycles and schedules. It means balanced teams with product managers, designers, engineers, tech writers and quality, which means opening yourself up to new people and understanding the project from different points of view. I’ll jump straight to the punch line: It takes more than agile tooling to make you agile.That’s probably not what you expected to hear from a guy who makes sophisticated collaboration tools. (Or, if you did, congratulations on being a mind reader. Now please get out of my head.)But it’s the truth.And it’s a truth that’s easy to lose sight of because tools are seductive—even sexy—in their own way. Who doesn’t fantasize about a magical tool that will instantly remove bottlenecks in your team’s workflow? A couple of jobs ago, my team started using GreenHopper (now known as JIRA Agile), which made a massive difference in our team’s ability to stay on the same page despite being split across five different locations. So I understand the obsession with tools. But there’s more to it than that.last_img

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