Something I have learned over the years that I have been practicing Agile, is the importance of installing/building a continuous improvement mindset. People and organizations willing to try new things learn by experimenting and take actions to improve.

Why even consider it, and under which circumstances?

Today’s world is faster than ever, markets are volatile and conditions are changing constantly. In such a context, people and businesses might need to learn different ways to keep changing, adapting, and living in a continuous improvement mindset that enables them to thrive.

How do you do that?

#1 Assess the current situation

I invite Scrum Masters to take time to observe everything within their system and in relation to it. I mean: team members, stakeholders, managers and organizational stuff that might be part of the system in order to keep it working.

In addition, I ask them to pick their favorite tool to assess where the team are in their journey. To be honest, it doesn’t matter which tool they pick, what matters is the conversation that will arise from it and how the team will turn the outcome of those conversations into action.

It also serves as a starting point for the team and helps the Scrum Master build a continuous improvement plan to support their journey based on what they need.

I strongly suggest validating with management first. What are they expecting the team to be in the near future (it could be within 3, 6 or 12 months)? Make sure that those expectations are shared, discussed and negotiated with the team before launching any assessment.

#2 Share insights with all parties

I like to make my own assessment of the team’s state and then share my views with all the parties involved. The intention behind this is to invite people to see other perspectives that could create space to discuss potential areas of improvement.

#3 Reflect and learn from it

Once 1 and 2 have been completed, I invite teams and all involved parties to reflect on what would be an ideal future for the team, within the context, that would make sense to achieve together. From there, I help them define a target condition that would be achievable within three months, iteration by iteration, one change at a time.

I also take time to learn from the experience by asking to get feedback about my interventions during the whole process and how it helped the team, or not, to keep moving along toward the objectives.

Trans-forming thought of the week

As you might see, changing takes time, clarity, engagement and trust. What would it take to help your teams understand that improvement happens over time? What would you do to create that momentum and be patient enough to let things flow naturally?

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Agile Know-How Magazine - Volume 3, Fall 2018

Jesus Mendez

I am Jesus Mendez and I help people collaborate with heart. I consider myself as an inspiring learner who nurtures from people's interactions and is extremely passionate about helping leaders survive and thrive. I offer you tools and techniques to help you inspire those around you by sharing what I've tried and experienced. I wish we can connect and make a better world, one conversation at a time!

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