- seen as a trivial effort, but does have the focus on the leaders on the team.
The goal of this phase is to provide the necessary support (e.g., coaching and mentoring) to the team deploying Agile, and the validation to ensure that practices have actually been implemented and improved as appropriate. This phase typically lasts about six to nine months. By the end of the Agile Support phase, internal Agile Champions should emerge and the team should be able to operate effectively without the Agile Coach. Tasks to consider during the Agile support phase include:
- Provide continued Coaching and Mentoring
- This involves continued interaction with the team to resolve issues and challenges seen within the project context. This ensures the team knows that you are available to answer questions and assist as needed. It is not uncommon for some folks to want to regress back to a more waterfall or hierarchical approach, so it is particularly valuable to have the Agile Coach remain available to redirect the approach back to Agile.
- Provide In-session Validation of Practices
- This involves occasionally attending Agile related sessions (e.g., Sprint Planning, Daily Stand-ups, End of Sprint Reviews, etc.) to validate the application of the Agile practices within the team. This helps the team understand if they are applying Agile appropriately and can help them hone (e.g., inspect and adapt) as appropriate.
- Provide periodic check-in meetings to monitor direction.
- These are short periodic sessions where the progress of the Agile adoption is discussed. This gets less frequent over time. Agile adoption is a cultural shift which takes time, so these sessions ensure there is still focus on the implementation, and risks and issues continue to be discussed and resolved.
- Provide periodic Agile assessments to gauge adoption level.
- This is where you assess the current state of the software engineering practices being applied as well as the Agile mindset of the team. This provides the team with a new baseline of adoption which can be compared to previous Agile adoption assessments. This allows you to gauge the level of adoption that has occurred and to determine where to target improvements.
- Provide additional focus on tools and automation
- This is where you ascertain if additional tools or automation could help the team. Sometimes when velocity plateaus, this can be the result of a lack of automation. While tools should not be the primary focus of an Agile implementation, tooling and automation can help the team incorporate effective QA and Configuration Management (CM) practices (amongst others) and improve team velocity.
- Groom local Agile Champions
- This is where you continue to work with the Agile ScrumMaster(s), Agile Team, Product Owner(s) to ensure they have the true Agile mindset and are applying Agile effectively. This is where you would identify a person or two who is passionate about Agile and has the experience to help others apply it effectively. The benefit is that once the Agile Coach departs, there is a local Agile Champion that has been groomed to take over and keep the team focused on the Agile approach.
As you embark on adopting Agile, understand that it is really a journey. Because of this, an Agile adoption effort should be thought of as a project so that you can remain on course. Hopefully this article can help the reader with some practical steps in getting Agile up and running successfully. Understanding that it is important to consider the readiness phase prior to deployment will lead to a more robust and less problematic Agile adoption. The journey to Agile is a cultural change with numerous stops along