The Road to Sprint 0 – The Journey to Agility

Jun 6, 2021 | Agile, Praxis

Agile is a Journey

Every journey is an individual endeavor. This is also true of the journey to agility, though it never quite ends. Even companies that have successfully completed the agile transformation and embedded the agile mindset are allowed to challenge your agile status quo continuously and – if necessary – make course adjustments. The journey to agile is as short or long as the business and employees need to adopt this new way of working – it can be a few days to a few weeks & months. No matter what speed the company sets out to achieve, the basic steps leading to Sprint 0 follow a precise sequence: • Understand the motivation of the business and develop the agile vision. • Project Discovery – uncover pilot project • Conduct training on the agile framework • Define and train agile role owners • Determine pilot project content – create a backlog • Start Sprint 0

Understand Business Motivation and Co-Develop Agile Vision

Every journey starts in mind. That’s why we put much emphasis on understanding the client’s motivation for agile. A clear vision is essential before the journey starts. After all, agility means change at all levels – but especially in thinking.  Understanding agility is an essential first step. However, internalizing agility only comes with hands-on experience.

Project Discovery – Uncovering the Pilot Project

When traveling into the new, it is best to start with a discovery journey. Therefore, as a second step, we recommend an agile discovery journey as a pilot project to lead the agile transformation and uncover challenges. Before starting the pilot project, the project vision should be defined, frameworks developed and a common understanding created in the project team.  

Conduct Training on the Agile Framework

Once the goal of the discovery journey is set, the pioneers of the organization and the project team are prepared for it. This is achieved with training sessions on the chosen agile framework, in which we convey the understanding of agility and lay the foundation for agility in the company. In this step, the project participants learn methodological knowledge about your chosen framework and develop a common understanding of it. We apply numerous agile frameworks – for example, Scrum, Kanban, SAFe, Nexus – in practice to accompany companies on their way.

Define and Train Agile Role Owners

For the discovery journey to be successful, an effective division of roles and assignment of responsibilities is necessary. Therefore, the fourth step is to define the role holders according to the chosen agile framework. At this point, individual personal skills and characteristics are essential. Because these enable the future role holders to perform their function in the best possible way, we support the organizations through our Agile coaches to identify the role holders. Once the role holders are identified, they are trained to execute the role through interactive training to provide them with the crucial methodological knowledge in a targeted manner.

Determine Pilot Project Content – Create Backlog

Once the goal of the journey is set, responsibilities are divided, and the pioneers are mentally and practically prepared for the journey, we move into the detailed planning of the discovery journey. The project team defines the next steps, prioritizes the activities and fills the backlog of the pilot project with epics and first user stories.  

Starting the Sprint 0

Now we are almost ready to launch and get our agile project flying. The last tasks before starting in Sprint 0 are mainly organizational – create meeting schedule, organize kick-off and clarify last ambiguities with project team and stakeholders. When everything is settled, your agile travel bag is packed, and from now on, it’s “just do it”! 3…, 2…, 1… GO!

Written by:

Nicolai Illing

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