My first experience with the international meetup on “Agility”

This was my first “Meetup” event which was organized by an Agile Coach who travels around the world promoting agility. It took place in his home office and also virtually in a video conference.

Meetup is usually a physical meeting but, in this case, in addition to the physical meeting, several people from international locations joined virtually. This included participants from his contact list from Mexico, Russia, Spain and some countries in the Middle East. I was astonished by how well the meetup actually worked. The combination of a physical meeting with the virtual one was more effective and efficient than I expected. The virtual meeting gave a great opportunity for participants from several international locations to take part and contribute equally as those of the physical participants. It addressed one of the biggest drawbacks of working and collaborating internationally; providing a platform for participants to take part equally, wherever they are located. Honestly, it felt like everyone was present in the same room.

Overcoming obstacles in agility and agile working environments through a collaborative approach

The meeting started with a question from the organizer – “What’s your version of agile?”, taking into consideration various faces of agility.

Even though the meeting started with the agenda of different faces of agility, in this case it was driving towards a conclusion that agility has to do mostly with the (right) “mindset” of the people. In my opinion this somehow contradicted the first statement where he talked about the different “faces” of agility.

But anyhow there is more than just mindset when it comes to agility. Creating an agile working environment is inclusive of various factors and key areas that address the problem with the traditional approach. In my opinion, agility needs a defined room where it can grow. Mindset is of course very important, but for sure not the sole factor. Agility also needs structures, like frameworks, basic principles, game rules or common culture.

 I identify agility from 5 perspectives:

  • Mindset
    • Of course, it is important to be very supportive, constructive and enabling as well as to share agile values
  • Organization
    • A specific framework and structure are important factors to work in an agile environment. Working in teams is essential but it is not helpful to integrate these teams in a hierarchical structure if they shall work agile
  • Processes
    • The agile environment does make use of structured processes as well. They are developed further in the direction of services rather than end to end processes as in a traditional organization
    • Think about how agile teams develop their tasks. It starts with putting the task on the card and moving it across the KanBan board from column to column until it is done: very structured and disciplined
    • Another good example here would be a meeting routine consisting of well-defined rows of meetings as agile iterations to get the communication organised in a structured manner
  • Information
    • Transparency is key when it comes to agile. The information has to be clear, structured, transparent and well delivered. This is an essential prerequisite for team members to take responsibility. This is also essential to get rid of hierarchically acting managers often working as “dealers” of information between the teams
    • This points to the need of having a good “Info-structure”
  • Tools
    • Tools bridge the gap between concept and execution. So, tools are required to digitalize this way of collaboration.
    • Tools should be tuned for agility with all their features and configured or enhanced in a way that it brakes fixed mindsets over time. Even Atlassian Jira (as an example) being an agile tool need to be used with further agile plugins like integrated meeting board1) (to foster communication) or built-in topic-centered chat messaging2) (as an “E-Mail eliminator”) for efficient cross-team collaboration

It was a very good experience to participate in this Meetup Event. This platform provides a great opportunity to learn, explore and to meet people around the world, who are interested in a similar topic irrespective of their locations. I think these extraordinary factors make this kind of a format of meeting up with people unique. But in this case, the host was just giving information on one side and basically trying to say about himself and not giving a chance for the participants to share or discuss their opinions. It unfortunately deviated from the original topic.

Well, at least I feel that the meetings should be structured with clear objectives and agenda so that we stay on topic and everyone participating has the opportunity to contribute equally. We make sure that in our new meetup group – “Scaling Digital Innovation’’ we avoid such issues and glitches. We will try to hold the meetings in such a way that it is inclusive, participative and innovative. Everyone’s opinion should be heard and contemplated. We believe that this will help us all develop innovative solutions and do so efficiently and effectively.

Join our Scaling Digital Innovation Meetup groups in Frankfurt, Berlin and Munich for interesting events.

Mike Mejstrik

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