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20 Nov 2016

Agile is in everything

by Melanie Franklin

Strange experience for me this week, as I have really struggled to pull together a high profile presentation to explain Agile. I am a regular public speaker so designing presentations is usually very easy.

My big realisation is that it’s difficult because it’s being managed in a waterfall way. Those who have asked me to present keep coming up with more and more requirements. The requirements are getting ever more specific, there is no prioritisation of these requirements and they must all be included.

There is a desire to anticipate everything that the audience might possible want/need to know. The problem is, that puts me in the role of fortune teller, with a high probability of failure. How can I possibly guess what my audience need to know, and more importantly why should I spend effort trying to guess when only some of my ideas will be right? Isn’t this the perfect example of inefficient working?

My difficulty with designing my presentation stems from my belief that I am following the wrong approach. What I want to do is present some of the core concepts and then engage with my audience and ask them what they want to discuss next.

This highlights several Agile concepts :

1.      Willingness to involve my audience/customers as collaborative partners, on the basis that we both want to achieve the same objective of an informative and relevant presentation.

2.      Willingness to change direction in response to feedback to meet customer need. If I design an entire presentation up front and deliver it irrespective of how the audience reacts I will not meet their needs.

3.      Confidence in my ability to cover any aspect of Agile working, which demonstrates how those working in Agile need expertise and confidence in their subject so that they can create the right solution, not a solution limited but their limited knowledge.

So what did I do? I told this story to illustrate how it feels to work in a more Agile way.

I want my audience to realise that Agile starts with how we convey what we want – setting the outcome but not setting out how exactly that will be delivered.

If you want to get to know more about Agile, join the Change Management Institute on 7th December to debate how Agile impacts change initiatives:

Or join me on 29th November to get your AgilePM Practitioner qualification:

Melanie Franklin
20th November 2016