I have seen many leaders using various techniques to increase and accelerate their results and outputs with better quality. But in most cases, they bring only disappointment and frustration to the team. Many leaders use automation, skipping processes and parallel working processes, and many more methods to fasten the result. Even though processes like automating manual work as much as possible bring some results, at times, skipping processes has proved them wrong as in cases it decreased the quality of product and, the parallel process application needs to be done with thorough planning and understanding of each step and the purpose to acquire required results. Various factors get affected while going for the accelerated result technique like team members' mentality, investment in the application of process, and time consumption.
I must say I was lucky to learn the best example for achieving the fastest output with good quality products and minimal investment in the early days of my career in agile. Our team was working on the development of a new technology product that has a precise timeline. Our main concern during that project was the slow time to market. So our agile coach and we all tried to find out the processes that consume most of the time from our previous experiences. Within a day we were able to find out the result that was different from our assumptions. We found that the time consumption was most of due to delays in a decision where we have to wait for approval from others and not on the build-test process as we assumed.
In various cases, everyone working must have seen that whenever testing, component change, or need in communicating with customers, requires approval from other people in the organization was needed. This granting approval from others is a scenario in various projects and organizations. It’s our good luck that we have recently adapted to agile and tried to find a solution with an agile mindset.
By digging further we found that as a team and team members, we for various small issues trying to get the approval from our agile coach or higher authorities. Trying to seek approval for every small change and problem solution we want to make. This makes agile coaches busier in every minute decision making that they are not able to provide time for more important tasks like strategic planning. This makes team members and agile coaches or leaders both waste their time on trivial matters. Even after making a decision, it boomerangs back to them as everyone on the team considers that they have the final say in the matter. Team members ask question to agile coaches like what we should do now? Or what you do if you were in my shoes? This is not a good thing for any project as every team member must be capable to play their role in the project.
In such a situation, it is necessary to measure the team’s empowerment potential. So it is necessary to measure the team’s empowerment latency and make the correct decision based on it. By checking regularly team's decision latency we can decide if the team’s empowerment is upgrading or degrading. To upgrade a team’s decision potential we must start with knowing the reasons why teams are not empowered in particular areas in decision making. Then work out on solving those reasons instead of pouring investment in it even if not required. For example organizations in most cases shifted to the cloud-based testing environment to reduce cost instead of checking that their team members are not releasing the testing environment resulting in spending growing out of control. In such cases, it is better to provide a budget to teams for testing and make the decision impact transparent. By letting them make decisions on their own they will know the best for them increasing transparency and accountability in them that will empower their capabilities.
Making team members take minor decisions will empower the team and the time required for trivial decision making will be reduced. This will also save the time of agile coaches and use that time on important matters. So by taking the responsibility as agile coaches they must also take responsibility to empower their team. As every issue and solution is not possible to mention here but the above idea, it is simply how one can empower their team and provide improved time to market with proper direction of working. Even though it is not possible to change in a day but as saying goes, “Small daily improvements over time lead to stunning results.”
About Advance Agility
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