A Week With Global Agile Thought Leader: Barbara Roberts

Insights | 29 August 2016

We are honoured to have recently hosted a week of curated sessions with global agile pioneer, Barbara Roberts. Barbara flew out from the UK to work with us on a number of sessions with customers that ranged from 1:1 meetings, through to auditorium-styled forums with up to 150 people in full-capacity attendance.

Barbara brought with her over 25 years of knowledge, having worked across complex agile-orientated transformations in both the public and private sectors; including some of the world’s largest organisations such as AXA and Rolls-Royce. Known for her pivotal role in co-developing the globally used agile methodology DSDM®, Barbara was also instrumental in the creation of the iconic Agile Manifesto.

We made the most of our week with Barbara, and the feedback from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive. In turn, we are pleased to be able to share with you key insights that emanated out of an immensely successful week.

DSDM’s History

Developed as a collective two decades ago, DSDM® was the first agile project management framework to emerge and has since evolved with customer requirements continuously at its forefront. With a focus on defining the customer’s true needs, DSDM® is collaboration-focussed, not-for-profit, and renowned for intersecting effectively with other approaches, ensuring a diverse number of business environments who may use a blend of agile and traditional approaches can adopt and adapt the framework accordingly.

Scaling For Enterprise Agility And Alignment

Specifically, DSDM® has been designed to scale up at the business enterprise level. The week of discussions looked at the limitations of other available frameworks (despite their specific benefits) when scaling and driving agile portfolios for both the IT and business environments. In turn, we gained further knowledge of ways in which DSDM® is designed to address both business and IT when implemented and driven properly. This topic was a recurring one throughout the week, with organisations across various sectors facing ambiguity and difficulty when scaling agile for enterprise agility.

That said, across the various sectors there were slight variances in primary pain points. The public sector, for example, faces challenges with incremental funding and governance models, financial services strives to scale at the enterprise level, and private companies are subject to left-field, guru-lead agile ‘chaos’ that often falls down at execution.

Discussions were largely reinforced by the across-the-board objective to align with business strategy, regardless of sector. Further, there was a big focus on highlighting the value in building and advocating a proven model for defined agile roles across business, solution/technical, management and process.

Agile DSDM® Way Of Thinking

Built to endure change, and largely value-driven, Barbara delved into the DSDM® way of thinking that fosters the concept of purposefully ‘going off track’ to ultimately reach a desired endpoint. Designed to harness accelerated delivery, ‘agile’ is derived from the notion of ‘agility’ after all, with an emphasis on consciously ‘flexing’ in order to achieve rapid outcomes.

Barbara also spoke passionately about the power of creating appropriate frameworks to enable day-to-day decision making from the bottom up – allowing for vast productivity and an embedded sense of empowerment within team dynamics.

In the case of the agile world, conversations throughout the week often centred on debunking commonly affiliated misconceptions, such as the myth that agile approaches offer an absence of complexity and governance, or the pervasive misbelief that DSDM® equates to a drastically speedy process. Rather, DSDM® is a framework that harnesses incremental progress and subsequent de-risking for better investment.

The DSDM® philosophy is one that pushes environments to foster visibility, not only for the broader business, but for the customer, allowing regular engagement in progress while simultaneously forging stronger relationships.

In short, DSDM® is underpinned by the benchmark of “how can we give the customer value sooner?”

An approach that is always collaborative, Agile DSDM® has customer involvement at its heart. In the spirit of such, we are thrilled to have had this unique opportunity and would like to thank everyone who engaged in meetings and presentations, and Barbara for an eventful and highly insightful week of thought leadership.

For more information on scaling agile for business agility, general advice on agile adoption, or more information on our agile coaching and/or certified workshops, phone us today on
1300 70 13 14.

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