Have you secretly been curious about the word “agile,” but were not quite curious enough to look it up? Or have you never heard the word “agile,” but now find yourself strangely curious about it? Do you like puppies? If any of these things are true, the recent Agile for Business and Functional (Biz Funk) Teams meetup event is for you. After some quick context-setting by the facilitators, a team writing a book and a marketing team discuss what prompted them to try agile and how it worked. Check out the video of the event if interested!
Dennis Clemente blogged about the event here.
Are you an overwhelmed parent, going to be a parent soon and determined not to be overwhelmed, or curious about why all the parents you know are overwhelmed? Check out this Ted Talk by Bruce Feiler. He suggests stealing from agile software development to help make family sanity possible again.
From time to time I’ll post what I think are the best agile / lean articles I’ve read over the last few months. Feel free to suggest additional articles in the comments!
- Agile Product Ownership in a Nutshell: I love everything Henrik Kniberg does, so forgive me if this video isn’t specifically focused on Biz Funk agile…I still think it is a great starting point and gives you a great bang for your 15min buck.
- This set of slides is also by Henrik Kniberg. Agile for your home! I love how he uses visuals to demystify a lot of the agile / lean terms…and show the value of using it to organize your personal life. Fun to scroll through…sort of like looking at the Facebook photos of a friend of a friend.
- A 35min video / slide presentation on using Biz Funk agile to make bathtubs! Save this one for when your netflix streaming queue runs dry.
On April 9th, I will be facilitating short presentations from an Editorial/Content creation Team and a Marketing Team that used Agile practices to execute their projects and work at Kaplan Test Prep. This presentation will be followed by a panel discussion where team members and stakeholders talk about what prompted them to try it and how it worked for the execution teams, while sharing the good, the bad, and the future.
Sign up here!
I recently facilitated the sprint retrospective for a non-co-located biz funk team that is writing a book. The team is spread out all across the globe. How best to facilitate?
I settled on using a Google Drawing board replete with “stickies” and “voting chips:”
Interested to give it a try yourself? Check out my colleague’s brillant write-up on the subject here.
I recently posted on the Kaplan Engineering blog — the post’s full text can be seen here — but wanted to post here the twelve things I’ve learned in helping a book-writing team write their book using Kanban:
- If someone says she wants to “go agile,” have lots of direct conversations with her about what that means before you start “going agile”
- When forming a new team, get executives excited about the idea first, as this makes everything else easier
- Be clear about the team’s goal immediately and often
- Be clear about non-negotiable things immediately (e.g., the book will need to go to the publisher on December 15th)
- Until you realize that coaching the team will take more of your time than than you initially thought, you will not be putting in enough time
- Starting a kanban pilot with a biz funk (AKA non-software) team is like adopting a puppy, but even though this is a totally brilliant / awesome and mostly accurate metaphor in a lot of ways, it is a little condescending somehow, and so I will refrain from going into this in more detail
- Aw heck, here’s one: show the value of the wee-wee pad early and be rewarded with good wee-wee pad habits for life
- It is 2012 and video conferencing is easy to use and often free, so if you ever have remote team members, they should be up on video for every single ceremony, no excuses, no exceptions (One exception: you can make do without video if hurricane Sandy has hit and public transit is down and your house does not have power and you are only able to dial into a meeting using a cell phone that’s been charged in your car)
- Whether you have remote team members or not, you should leave a group instant messenger chat window open all day, as this will help to quickly answer questions that would otherwise have become an impediment
- A team can adopt Kanban without knowing that they are adopting Kanban; simply use regular words to describe the value
- A well-run standup is a powerful thing for people who have never participated in one; if you do nothing else, conduct a well-run standup
- Someone, somewhere, will think less of you if you link to Wikipedia
As an Agile Coach for Kaplan Test Prep, I wondered what to call the flavor of agile adopted by our teams that do not create software. Non-software agile? Non-developer agile? No-Code Agile?
Perhaps. But who wants to be defined by the negative of another word? Not me!
So, I’m coining the phrase Business & Functional Agile. Biz Func Agile. Biz Funk Agile. BFA.
It’s agile for business teams (e.g., content & product) and functional teams (e.g., marketing & finance).
In Biz Funk Agile we trust.