Bonus Track (K) 2015
Bonus Track (K)

Session type: Bonus
Session level: Suitable for all

Belinda Waldock – Being Agile in Business – Live Blog 2015

Belinda Waldock is an Agile coach and business mentor based in Cornwall. Belinda has worked with a broad range of high growth businesses to adopt agile practices to leverage their growth aspirations You can catch up with Belinda at her website and on Twitter.

There is a mindset and cultural shift needed for businesses to become Agile. It’s much more than a collection of processes and tools.

Agile on the beach is in its 5 years, starting out as EU funded project. Belinda’s goal when staring with the organisation was to get the event fully self sufficient. This came to fruition last year for the first time. Agile processes have been applied to the event from top to bottom.

Software Cornwall is a linked organisation that uses agile heavily. As example a speaker was crowd funded for last years event rather than selling tickets after booking. Software Cornwall ethos is that we are greater together. They help students to be ready for the working world be helping them gain the skills that local businesses want.

Belinda goes on to talk about her book, ‘Being Agile in Business‘. She encourage the publisher to take an agile approach. She used sprint with a review at the end of each, working closely with her editor. At the proposal stage the only change the publisher committee made was to change the title back to its original. The first sprint helped to set the town of the book, including the removal of its Cornishness.

Using an agile process the entire book was written in 16 weeks. It was on time, on budget and on point. This is unusual for books. Some elements of the original plan had to be left out to keep under the word count. Perhaps this is material for the next book.

Since writing the book Pearson, the publisher, has adopted an agile process.

Belinda goes on to discus a case study for a mining search company. They had hit capacity within their team, leaving no time to change and improve. This was the first area to tackle, starting with the low hanging fruit. Using the Kanban board helped the MD to discuss ideas rather than stoping the team from working on their current item.

Belinda helped the team to identify, using Agile games, which processes were putting the wing in their sails of anchoring then down. It was a sailing boat based game. A memorable moment is when the intern realised that he was valued after the team had rated him highly. Similarly, the board helped the team realise the value of the tech support guy.

A few weeks later the company started to look at developing new markets and upgraded the boat. It seems to be a private ship ready to invade England. This is the magic of Agile, when businesses take on the theory and making it their own.

A core feature of Agile is the ability to adapt to change. Following a tweet a company, Glitterati, completely pivoted to become a subscription based gift box service. Belinda helped to identify the areas of waste and hidden value. This led to a contract with John Lewis. The previous scaling from 0 to 150 subscribers ensured she was ready to scale up again.

Isn’t it throwing the plan out the window? No, its about having a plan that is ready for change at all times. More often than not well laid out plans never happen as intended.

For Agile to be successful, you must listen to the writing on the wall. A organisation that had a huge number of waiting items required that they change their process to allow for the two week cycle. In another organisation the agile board helped bosses to realise that highly paid developed were spending too long on providing technical support. It wasn’t until it was visualised that the reality became apparent.

It all comes back to the Agile manifesto.