Agile has always been about the delivery of value, but we seem to focus more on delivery efficiencies says Ray Arell
Ray Arell is the President of nuAgility, LLC and part of Corporate Outreach & Business Development at Agile Alliance. He has through is 30-year career developed and transformed several successful worldwide organizations. He is recognized as an industry leader in large-scale adoptions of Agile, lean, and complex systems engineering and innovation practices. Before nuAgility, Ray was an engineering director/engineer at Intel Corporation, where he helped deliver many cutting edge semiconductor products.
Ray’s talk at the Business Agility day is titled Change Your Focus: From Speed and Efficiency to High Customer Value. He is also facilitating the pre-conference workshop Leading Your Agile Transformation.
To hear Ray live and participate in his workshop register here
What are the most important aspects that a leader must keep in mind while leading an Agile Transformation?
When leading an Agile transformation, several things are important. The first is that the leader must work more synergistically with their teams. This means setting meaningful goals, allow the people are doing the work to have input into the goals, and not to be afraid to revise those goals as we learn more about building the product. In other words, they need to be Agile as well.
What are the main challenges with large-scale agile adoptions and how did you overcome them?
The biggest issue is effective communications. You just can’t walk over to somebody’s desk and work on something together when your people are working out of 7 buildings and 3 time zones. So you need to be creative on how you segment the transformation so that you keep work flowing and optimize the value and communication streams.
Can you please explain the high-value delivery mindset and how we can cultivate it?
So Agile has always been about the delivery of value, but over the years we seem to have been more focused on delivery efficiencies. So pulling back to understanding what value is to our stakeholders is the first task in cultivating a high-value delivery mindset. Along with this, we need to look at the systems we have in place to define and measure value. Most companies have structures like DevOps to build efficiencies, but few companies have a ValueOps that is focused on making sure we are meeting the stakeholder’s needs.
Tell us a little about your workshop “Leading Your Agile Transformation”.
The workshop has been around now for about five years, but it was used only as an internal workshop at Intel. We did not have the time to teach it outside with our adoption going above 25K people. So by the time I retired from Intel, the workshop was in its 11threvision and has a lot of key learnings from both Intel’s adoption and work that I have done with other companies. It is a dynamic workshop based on what the class needs to talk about to ensure the highest value for the day. So we start with a backlog of topics, we prioritize it, and we get to work. The one topic that is always top of the backlog is the Agile Mindset section. The reason for this is that I have found that in most certification classes we do not spend enough time talking about the key heuristics and values that enable Agile methods to work.
What are the key takeaways from your talk for the attendees? Is there something they can apply immediately to their work?
A number of things can be applied after they get back to work. I spend a lot of time retrospecting on methods I use in the workshop. So from anything about doing fast assessments on business systems too how to apply complexity based methods to measure value are all things that can be applied when the attendee goes back to work.