Archive for November 2008

2008-11-18: Meeting Notes

November 18, 2008

Panel Discussion

The panelists below offered insights and personal experiences with agile adoption within their organizations:

Jim Murphy VP Development, AideRSS
Doug Treleaven Director of Business Intelligence, Creative Options
Steve Viggers Project Leader, CHRISTIE
Declan Whelan Agile Coach & Developer, Whelan & Associates

Group Discussion

Jeff Berardine extracted the top 6 challenges that were raised by the panelists. We then split into 6 groups with each group brainstorming approaches to addressing one challenge. Each group then voted on the top 3 approaches to their challenges and reported back to the entire meeting.

Declan also provided information on two books that are invaluable in terms of strategies and tactics for Agile Adoption:

Agile Adoption Patterns
Amr Elssamadisy; ©2008 Pearson Education Inc.
Fearless Change
Mary Lynn Manns & Linda Rising; ©2004 Addison-Wesley Professional

You may also be interested in a short white paper that Declan wrote on Agile Adoption.


Thanks Suresh Venkatachalam for capturing photos of our work!

1. Building the Team

Agility depends on strong team work and this group came up with the following insights for building that sense of team:

  • up-front training; train the team together so they get to practice as a team in a low-risk situation
  • clear vision of roles and responsibilities
  • defend the agile process from outside pressure
  • celebrate successes


2. Interface with External Customers or Teams

This group thought it important to:

  • introduce the client into agile team early and maintain frequent contact
  • get customer frequent involvement for ongoing engagement & contribution of feedback
  • promote face to face interaction
  • openly share project artifacts, such as burn down reports – helps build trust and visibility.


3. Need for a Defined Process

The challenge here is that organizations need to recognize some process structure otherwise they may view agility as anarchy and an excuse to *not* do certain things. The group determined that:

  • communication is key to refining process
  • pilot Agile by generating awareness and success with a small project
  • clear and concise process documentation to ensure everyone is on the same page.


4. Training the Team

  • Get an agile coach or mentor – someone experience with agile transitions that has the trust of the team and the organization
  • Just do it! Reflect frequently through retrospectives and adapt.
  • Break large projects into small pieces and show that agility works

5. Overcoming Resistance

Everyone in this group agreed that you must:

  • demonstrate success via short sprints
  • educate and train through training sessions or informal lunch & learns etc.
  • provide visibility into the process


6. Management Buy-In

  • introduce agility with a low risk project
  • encapsulate the project and don’t tell (easier to ask for forgiveness than permission)
  • start with a dog! Or dive on a grenade (tackle a project that no-one wants to touch and show success)


2008-11-18: Meeting Announcement

November 13, 2008


The main topic for our first meeting will be Agile Adoption and Adaption.


Panelists who have championed Agile or Lean practices in their organizations will be answering the following questions:

  • What were the reasons for adopting Agile or Lean?
  • What were the most significant challenges you faced?
  • Were you able to overcome those challenges and if so how?

The panelists below have kindly offered to share their experiences and insights:

Jim Murphy VP Development, AideRSS
Doug Treleaven Director of Business Intelligence, Creative Options
Steve Viggers Project Leader, CHRISTIE
Declan Whelan Agile Coach & Developer, Whelan & Associates

After the panel discussion we will select some of the challenges that organizations adapting agile practices face. We will then break into groups with each group brainstorming possible approaches to address one of the challenges. Each group will then report back as to the most promising approaches that they selected.

We hope that this format will help extract deeper group wisdom for effective Agile Adoption.

When? Where?

Date: November 18, 2008
Time: 4:30 to 6:00 PM
Location: Accelerator Centre, 295 Hagey Blvd., Waterloo

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