Worried that your Agile project is coming off the rails?

Are you’re feeling anxious that your Agile adoption isn’t going to deliver? Are you spending even more time in meetings talking about process rather than getting work `done`? Is your team becoming disengaged? Or do you need some assurance that things are on track?

We can sympathise. Any new way of working can be difficult. With 75% of Agile adoptions not delivering the expected benefits[1] there are many common symptoms to look out for. Here’s just a few of the obstacles we’ve encountered over years of working with Lean and Agile teams:

  • Focussing on process rather than delivery
  • You don’t know what you’re building
  • Your team is disengaged
  • Your team doesn’t deliver regularly
  • Your team doesn’t understand the changes going on around them
  • Departmental divides causing friction
  • Nervousness about change. Feeling that a U-turn to `how things were done` is imminent.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are many success stories[2][3][4][5] out there. With our troubleshooting service you can draw upon our experience to help you become one of the successes.

Lean Thinking drives lasting change. We understand this. Sheep Dip Training[6] may have gotten you underway but it won’t deliver your projects. We’ll work with you to identify symptoms with a project health check then diagnose the root causes lying behind them. We’ll then sit down – together – and work through a plan to get you back on track. To help you stay there, you can rely upon us at any time to offer advice and lasting support.

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[1] agilecollab: “Are you pleased at rapid spread of Scrum?” Ken Schwaber : ”Yes, in that the spread means that people are desperate for a new approach. No, in that they may think of Scrum as simply an iterative version of waterfall. Many CIO’s still think of Agile as more, faster. However, as organizations and projects flee the existing controls and safeguards of waterfall and predictive processes, they need to recognize the even higher degree of control, risk management, and transparency required to use Scrum successfully. I estimate that 75% of those organizations using Scrum will not succeed in getting the benefits that they hope for from it.”
[2] In 2007, Cancer Treatment Centres of America used lean methods to improve efficiencies in patient care… “What’s more, morale improved as staff members felt they were making an impact on the company’s performance and on patient satisfaction … People want to find a change that improves the process … You’ve got to find opportunities where there’s a shared interest in improving the process,” he said. http://www.bcbs.com/news/national/medical-treatment-takes-lean-tack.html
[3] In 2003, Wesco International Inc looked to lean and saw profits increase 10 fold over the next 4 years. What resulted was a learning organisation: “Lean is a journey,” Mr. Brailer said, “that continues to open up opportunities for us to be able to drive continuous improvement. “We’re never done. We’re never done.” http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10204/1074725-28.stm?cmpid=business.xml
[4] In 2001, Wells Fargo Home and Consumer Finance used lean methods to resolve an extraordinary increase in transactions, but discovered greater benefits: “We started with an approach to do operational excellence. We wanted to improve the way we process transactions within our organization and we wanted to see if the disciplines that existed in other industries could apply. In the process of looking, we discovered lean. In the beginning we thought it was a tool to do continuous improvement and waste elimination. But as we started to practice some of the techniques, we learned it was much more than that. It was actually the operational excellence model that we were looking for.” – http://www.lean.org/admin/km/documents/a4650ddf-c964-49ce-a9ea-47fea589e743-ChrisVogel_interviewFinal1.pdf
[5] In 2006, Sealy, the world’s top mattress maker used lean to address substantial inventory issues, seeing profit rise when sales were falling during recession. “Each bed is completed in four hours, down from 21, because there’s less wasted time between production stages, and median delivery times have been cut to 60 hours from 72. Plants have cut their raw-material inventories by 50% to 16 days’ worth. By eliminating thousands of square feet of “work in process” — piles of partly finished beds — and moving workers closer together, the Williamsport facility last year freed enough space to combine two shifts” – http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/manufacturing/2009-11-01-lean-manufacturing-recession_N.htm
[6] By “Sheep Dip Training” we refer to 48 hour certified courses which give you a paint-by-numbers overview of Lean and Agile with limited to no understanding of the fundamentals.

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