How to Get Their Buy-In on Agile in 1 hour.
How to make your team and executives take action.
👋 Hello, I’m Vibhor, and welcome to the 🔒 subscriber-only edition 🔒 of my newsletter, the “Winning Strategy.” Every week, I answer one reader question about Agile Products / Processes, Role-based Skills, and anything else that you need answered about your Career Growth. You can send me your questions here.
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On to this week’s question!
Q: Do you suggest any generic strategy for a Agile Practioner like me (I was nominated by Senior Leader (who has 5% of agile knowledge) for brining agilty on our digital b2c product by helping the organization to start following agile practices. The entire organization does not understand the concept of agile or not spending time to get trained. I am trying to teach the benefits of Agile to the POs,Tech Project Managers & Development team for last 1.5 years, however i am stuck in the same place where I was 6 months before.
Thanks for asking this question.
There are several factors at play here, and before discussing how you can assist your team, let me make them clear to everyone reading this post.
1st: You were appointed to “bring agility” to your product team.
2nd: Your product team is almost 100% new to Agile.
3rd: The whole company is almost 100% new to Agile.
4th: They are not “serious” about learning anything about Agile.
My initial thoughts:
If you're bringing agility to the product team, you need to understand what "Agility" means to the organization and its leaders. What outcomes are they expecting?
Introducing Agile to a team or an organization that's completely new to the concept requires tailored training and a lot of patience.
The lack of “seriousness” might stem from a “lack of understanding.”
they don’t see the value (the ROI) yet, or
they are intimidated by the change
Do they even want to adopt Agile?
Yes, it seems like they do want Agility. But "wanting Agility" and "understanding what it requires" can be different. They’ve made the first move by hiring you as an Agile Coach, but they don’t fully understand what the journey entails.
Potential immediate next steps:
Establishing engagement: Making them “serious.”
Setting expectations#1: Finding out what they expect from Agile.
Setting expectations#2: Letting them know what’s expected from them if they want Agile.
The reason we prioritize 'Establishing Engagement' before 'Setting Expectations' is to provide a clear understanding of what Agile is capable of doing before asking them what they want Agile to do. This technique comes from sales. By showcasing the capabilities first, you can potentially refine their expectations of Agile. Think of it like this:
Imagine you're at an ice cream shop, thinking about getting your usual vanilla ice creme.
1. Establishing Engagement: The person behind the counter says,
"Hey, before you choose, try a sample of this new flavour we've got!"
You try it, and it's a mix of chocolate, caramel, and a hint of salt. It's surprisingly good!
2. Setting Expectations: After tasting the new flavour, you start to think differently. Instead of just wanting plain vanilla, now you're open to mixing it up a bit.
By letting you taste something new and exciting first, the ice cream shop changed what you might want. In the same way, by showing folks what Agile can do before asking them what they want from it, you're opening their eyes to new possibilities they might not have thought of before.
In this post, I will provide you with an approach to “Establish Engagement” (the right way) to make them take Agile seriously. We will do this by first explaining the value of Agile in terms of Return on Investment (ROI) which is the language business understands.
Let’s get started.