Jim Crocker –  Founder and CEO of Boardroom Metrics.

CEO’s today want their organizations to be more agile.

Meanwhile, in IT, forward-thinking software development organizations have been experimenting and implementing new ways of developing software aimed at faster times to market and greater business value.

Not so coincidentally, one of those approaches is known as Agile.

There are several key pillars of the Agile software-development approach that agility-seeking CEO’s will appreciate:

  • harnessing change for competitive advantage
  • building projects around self-organizing teams and trust
  • face-to-face conversation as the most effective method of delivering information
  • delivering what’s most valuable first and not delivering anything that doesn’t have value
  • products that work as the  primary measure of progress

Yesterday, we got to try out the Agile methodology in a wonderfully staged simulation constructed and lead by Boardroom Metrics Accomplished Executive and super-experienced Agile-coach, Dave Marsh.

Here’s what I learned:

  • People are people. In the 5-minute sprints we made simple, costly mistakes as a result of not thinking or planning that ensured (in one instance) that we delivered nothing of value.
  • We learned fast and we gained momentum quickly. By the 3rd sprint we made another common mistake – underestimating what we would accomplish. And lacking a stretch goal, we wasted resources
  • We recovered from mistakes quickly. The nature of Agile – short, frequent sprints had us self-analyzing what we’d done wrong – and right – and vowing to either never do it again – or always!
  • We learned to collaborate. That included making key decisions, working on tasks and figuring out we’d learned. Working as a team drove better decisions and way better delivery of effort.
  • It was fun. Our goals were clear and time frames short – but being in it together meant there was lots of communication both serious and not so serious.
  • What we’d experienced was a very close simulation of what real Agile teams experience according to David. We made a lot happen in a short time but we had to think, learn and work hard to get there.

Until now, my exposure to Agile has been purely theoretical. And, while this exercise didn’t have us coding the latest Martian Rover (more like blowing up balloons and making paper airplanes) I came away more convinced than ever it is a hugely practical management strategy for breaking down silos, reducing waste, increasing accountability and driving results.

Finally, the group yesterday included ex-CEO’s, retailers, accountants and even a large-project IT person.  Every one of them got it! Agile is more than a methodology. It is a mindset that everyone striving for success in today’s high-change world has to adopt in order to succeed.

This executive Agile Presentation contains information for those interested in understanding Agile better.  If you are interested in learning more about how the Agile simulation works contact Boardroom Metrics by email ([email protected]) or phone 905-709-4031.