Don’t push Agile and Scrum, let it evolve and grow says Sam Bowtell
Sam Bowtell is the Agile Practise Lead at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. In his current role, he runs the Agile Practise for CommBank’s Wealth Management division, leading a team of Agile coaches helping project teams deliver their work faster and more effectively using Agile. He is also a leadership coach, facilitator and runs many team building days.
In the community Sam is involved in some skilled volunteering with OzHarvest, looking at how they can use the Agile mindset and scrum practices to improve how they run their operations.
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Can you briefly explain the Agile Adoption journey at OzHarvest?
OzHarvest is Australia’s leading food rescue organization.The Commonwealth Bank helped Ozharvest adopt Agile to improve how they run their business.This started with one small initiative and then people became curious, and others started to try it. OzHarvest is now looking beyond individual initiatives in Scrum, towards a whole company backlog, prioritization, and decision-making framework.
What are some of the challenges in adopting Agile in non-technology domains and how did you overcome them?
The most important things are to start with the ‘Why Agile’ before we get too carried away with daily scrums and visual boards. If people understand the why for them it becomes clearer why we are changing ways of working. There wasn’t really any resistance to the new ways but having coaches support them create good habits and patterns from the start!
What benefits did you see after introducing Agile at OzHarvest?
The OzHarvest team felt more in control of their work and less stressed. Priorities were clearer and work more transparent and visible. Scrum provided a framework that improved collaboration and teamwork as well.
What were your learnings from this experience that we can take back and apply at work?
There were lots of learnings Not for profit organizations all need help from skilled volunteers and as a community, we can help in many ways. Also, training in itself is not enough, and you need to commit the additional time to coach and support. Don’t push Agile and Scrum, let it evolve and grow.
What are the key takeaways for the attendees from your talk?
I would love people to walk away inspired by what we achieved at OzHarvest, and for them to consider what they can do in the community. Start with your own passion and find an organization that needs and would value your help.