When I look across numerous Agile deployment efforts, I see a lower rate of success in achieving the Agile business benefits than I would expect. May I suggest that in order to improve the odds of achieving Agile success and gaining the business results it can bring, there are three success factors. The first is that the Agile change must be thought of an organizational level change. The second is that the Agile change must focus on adapting the culture toward an Agile mindset. And the third is that in order to bridge the gap between the Agile values and principles to Agile methods and practices, people need to be well educated in ways to build more customer value, optimize the flow of work, and increase quality.
The current level of Agile education tends to be limited to 2-days of training and a variety of books. I think most people will acknowledge that 2 days of Agile training does not provide enough learning and a very limited amount of experience. The other challenge with some of the Agile education is that it is often focused only on implementing the mechanics.
What is missing from many Agile transformations is an Agile education engine that helps you truly understand and embrace Agile and helps bridge the gap between Agile values and principles and the Agile methods and practices. This will help folks better understand, embrace, and implement Agile and move beyond simply following the Agile mechanics of the methods and practices. The Agile education engine can help ready the mind for an effective transformation.
A very effective Agile education engines is the material found in the Value, Flow, Quality (VFQ) work-based education product. VFQ provides a set of well-researched topics that are easily digested in the form of readings, case studies, activities, and experiments. It provides students with the ability to study a little, then experiment a little within their own context (aka, project or team). The benefit of the VFQ work-based learning system is that it helps people apply their newly learned skills on the job when they need them. This bodes very well for the learners because, they can learn at their own pace and as they are trying to implement the Agile values, principles, and practices.
Some topics that VFQ offers are: Why Change, Optimising Flow, Feedback, Requirements, Priorisation, Trade-offs, Understanding your Customer, Delivering Early and Often, Teams, Motivation, Attacking your Queues, Work in Progress, and more. Each topic includes a number of techniques that will help you achieve the business outcomes you are looking for. The VFQ materials will provide you with knowledge on Value Stream Mapping, Story Mapping, Cost of Delay, 6 Prisms and much more.
In addition, VFQ really helps you get to the state of “being Agile”. It moves you away from thinking about the mechanics. Instead, it provides you a level of knowledge in a critical thinking manner to ensure you apply the principles and behaviors to the practices to gain the outcomes that you want. Finally, applying the VFQ education is also an excellent way to kick-start an Agile transformation. This way, the Agile champions for the transformation and teams are armed with a variety of the latest business and engineering practices and techniques to bring Agile to the organization.
If you find yourself struggling with getting a good baseline of Agile education, then consider the Value, Flow Quality (VFQ) work-based education system. It will help you bridge the gap between the Agile values and principles and Agile methods so that you bring the Agile mindset to bear as you start or continue your Agile journey.