Developing a shared understanding of core approaches is vital for any organization. To be successful, it’s crucial, for example, to know what the company’s vision & mission are, how strategy and goals are defined, how performance is measured, or how crucial information is documented. At Ladenzeile, one of the core approaches also includes an agile way of working, which means that we emphasize collaboration, adaptability, and delivering value incrementally. However, not everyone may have the same level of experience or familiarity with this approach. So, how can we ensure that everyone is on the same page?
Written by Mario, Head of our Agile Team
As “agile” has become a buzzword over the years with many diverging interpretations of what it actually entails, defining that same page seems particularly challenging. For some, agile means “we need to be adaptable so I can change priorities on a daily basis if I feel like it”. For others, it’s something just relevant to product and tech: “But we don’t do Scrum” is a sentence that I heard all too often in previous companies, whenever I talked to teams outside of that realm.
One approach to overcome this challenge is, of course, to subject everyone to lengthy onboarding and training sessions. However, this is neither cost-effective nor equally relevant for everyone. As an Agile Team, we decided to experiment with a more lightweight format instead: At the beginning of the year, we introduced a series of weekly tips on agile-related topics, accompanied by monthly workshops that focus on a specific theme. Our aim was to introduce agile concepts in a way that is accessible and engaging for everyone, including those with limited experience.
From lengthy sessions to lightweight tooltips and interactive experiences
So, how does this approach come to life in practice? Our weekly newsletters consist of bite-sized tips centered around a theme chosen for the month. So far, we’ve covered diverse topics such as prioritization, decision-making, feedback, and continuous improvement. Each month, the tips delve into theoretical foundations, provide concrete use cases, and offer practical tools for implementation.
However, we recognize that learning goes beyond reading insightful tips alone. That’s why we complement our newsletters with monthly one-hour sessions, designed to provide a deeper dive into each month’s topic. These sessions blend theory with interactive activities, the exchange of experiences, and practical tooltips to foster a rich and engaging learning environment.
As a concrete example, let’s take a closer look at how we approached the topic of prioritization. In our weekly tips, we focused on highlighting the significance of effective prioritization, introducing tools such as the impact vs. effort matrix and user story mapping. Additionally, we emphasized how implementing work-in-progress limits promotes focus and completion, ensuring that we start finishing and stop starting.
During the corresponding monthly session, we built upon the previous week’s tip. We kicked things off with an interactive activity called “The Name Game,” exploring the challenges of multitasking. Next, we introduced the concept of “One Piece Flow,” showcasing the difference between sequential iterations and multiple works in progress. To enhance the learning experience, we asked the group to reflect on questions like: What do you think of the two approaches? What benefits do you see for each? What challenges do you see in implementing a sequential approach? We finished the session with a quick round of feedback to gather valuable insights.
By transforming our learning approach from lengthy sessions to engaging tips and interactive experiences, we are fostering a dynamic and participatory environment that enhances understanding and application of agile principles.
Positive results: high engagement, active participation, and room for improvement
As for the results so far, we’re happy to see that our efforts are paying off! People have shown a high level of interest in the tips we send out, and a significant number have actively participated in the monthly sessions. More importantly, we have also noticed that some of the ideas and tools we’ve shared have found their way into everyday team discussions, which is exciting to see.
That being said, we also learned that providing a new tip each week can be overwhelming for some. Additionally, we recognize the need to provide clearer communication about the content and structure of the monthly sessions so that participants know what to expect.
Overall, we are satisfied with the positive results of this new format so far. It has allowed us to introduce agile concepts and practices in a way that’s accessible, engaging, and fun. By fostering a shared understanding, we are building a more agile and collaborative organization at Ladenzeile.
As Head of Agile, Mario leads our team of Agile Coaches. Together, they support our teams, departments and the organization as a whole on their journey of continuous improvement.
“I’m driven by a simple question: How can we do things in a better way? Together with the team, I strive to add value by leveraging what we have in our agile toolbox.”
– Mario Berger, Head of Agile