While Agile is supposed to be all about the people on a team, one of the impetuses behind the last 18 years of Modern Agile (and modern distributed systems) has always been to be quicker to respond to customer needs. And that’s an emergent theme in this year’s Agile Tour London — increasing competitiveness through delivering customer value — which we will also explore today.
Agile is Redefining Customer Value
First, let’s define customer value. Yes, it started out as delivering features faster in agile software development. But there is a larger trend now of a holistic organisation-wide approach that even sees human resources working to deliver value faster to who they serve — employees.
Contemporary Agile isn’t just about IT adopting agile practices, it’s about an organisation embracing an Agile Mindset. This ethos includes:
- Rapid Feedback which drives better visibility into the project and collaboration
- Faster Delivery including giving individuals the tooling and power to self-organise and release
- Clear, Agreed-upon Vision leveraging mapping and other visual techniques
- Clarification of Business Value through user stories and pushing to deliver the greatest value first
- Embracing Change and a greater flexibility to move with those changing priorities
- Automating the Rest to release securely and stably while encouraging more creative work
But which practices are getting us there?
Agile Trend 1: Wardley Mapping
One of the most successful talks at our flagship conference Aginext was Philippe Guenet’s talk State of Agile Using Wardley Maps. And it’s no surprise that this continues to be an #ATLDN trending topic. Wardley Maps offer visual, situational awareness for a product or project’s value chain. They are designed to help you overcome nuisance pain points and to focus on what really drives the business, like all good things, focussing on the Why.
At #ATLDN, Aginext regular and editor of analog The Agilist Dean Latchana will offer you a primer on Wardley Mapping to understand value delivery and ensure competitiveness. In this workshop, Dean will help you understand the maturity in each component of the value chain and will walk you through a fictional org’s operations and customer value delivery so you can learn by doing.
There’s no doubt Simon Sinek has made the favourite word of every three-year-old the favourite word of every leader. Later in the day, Freelance Agile Coach Craig Cockburn will teach you how to use Wardley Mapping to understand the ‘Why of movement’ so that teams can visualize context to align more easily to a shared understanding of strategic intent that drives tactical moves.
Agile Trend 2: User Stories
There’s an agile trend to stop talking about features from a technical and programming linguistic perspective. User stories have us describing features from an end user perspective. In natural human language! In Agile, it shifts the focus on writing requirements toward actually discussing features. User stories focus on developing empathy across an entire team by bringing together developers, stakeholders and clients and users around the same discussion.
At #ATLDN, Scrum Master Richard Whitehead will talk about how to create simple, smart user stories so you stop having developer’s remorse building things users don’t want. Richard will walk you through how to overcome confusion, clarify customer vision and to build value-first.
Later on at our one-day, jam-packed conference, Front-end Developer and Scrum Master George Wilde will take it to the next level and help you evaluate the quality of your user stories, so you know if you’re avoiding misleading or just plain bad, useless user stories.
Agile Trend 3: Liberating Structures
What would be made possible if you could unleash the intelligence and creativity of everyone? This is what David Heath asks in his already buzzed about highlight workshop at this year’s conference. Conventionally, business approaches most topics with one-direction managed discussions, (yawn) Powerpoints and status reports or too loosely organised open discussions. Alternately, Liberating Structures are a collection of 33 alternative structures to help you facilitate meetings and conversations that allows everyone to feel included and engaged.
In David’s workshop, you’ll get to alternate practice and reflection for several of these Liberating Structures so you can experience them and take them back to the office to influence participation, innovation, and clarity.
What agile trends are you and your team embracing? Share in the comments below!