Frameworks and consulting are not enough
Frameworks and consulting engagements offer many good things. Frameworks provide proven practices at a reasonable cost, and consulting engagement offers a personal touch and the ability to tailor for your needs. But they also come at a price. The first is that frameworks provide a not always fit-for-purpose solution and don’t provide any guidance on adapting it for your particular needs. As a result, companies are often left with understanding a framework but haven’t learned much about applying it to their needs. A great consultant can provide you with a fit-for-purpose solution. Still, you will likely be left without complete documentation of the selected approach or a way to continue the improvement. This often leaves you tied to them.
Choose a collaborative engagement
A collaborative engagement takes the best of both while working in a unique manner. Instead of being trained or consulted to, a collaborative engagement:
– has the consultant/trainer work with the client in deciding on what the best set of practices are to be used
– uses a virtual board so people can work together
– documents these decisions on this board including the rationale on which they were chosen
– has the board present a set of proven practices to choose from
– has a method for deciding which of these practices work best for the client being engaged
– shows how to continue making continuous improvement based on the decision framework used above
These collaborative engagements take one of two forms:
1. Working with Al Shalloway in more of a coaching role while using the collaborative approach mentioned above
2. As an alternative to workshops. These are a little more structured and are called Amplios.
Work with Al Shalloway
Al has been in the Agile space for 22 years. He’s been on the leading edge for years, with many of his concepts being adopted by others in the areas of Scrum, SAFe, Kanban, Disciplined Agile, and technical design years later. You can take advantage of what Al is working on today and not have to wait for it. Al uses collaborative engagements with companies that have already adopted some approach and mostly want a tune-up instead of a fully co-created plan for improvement.
Al can particularly help those companies that have Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consutltants apply what they’ve learned.
We call each of Success Engineering’s collaborative engagements “amplios”. Amplio is Latin for “improve”. Amplio means a method for improving where you are and on an ongoing basis. Success Engineering has two families of amplios – one for teams and one for organizations. These are called Amplio@Team and Amplio@Scale. These sub-products enable specialization based on size and if the organization is already following an existing approach.
Each Amplio uses a Miro board to enable virtual collaboration. The boards allow engagements to be spread out over a few days instead of the standard practice of intense engagement where people are overloaded and don’t retain much of what’s learned. During the collaborative engagement, the engagement leader educates and guides the participants through the Amplio Decision Framework (ADF). This process takes advantage of what the participants know about their organization while being guided by someone who has deep experience in what works. This way of working takes general knowledge of practices and tunes them to the specifics of the organization. A tailored working method that includes roles, events, artifacts, and guidance is the result. The Miro board, plus other Miro boards of general applicability, are licenses to the engaged company for use for continuous improvement.
Amplio@Team is designed to help a team, or small group of teams, learn how to be effective in Agile development. Amplio@Team can also be used to tune a team already doing Scrum, Kanban, or another approach.
Amplio@Scale is designed to help small to midsize organizations improve their ability to deliver value to their clients while improving the quality of life of their employees. Two Amplio@Scale workshops are being offered – Amplio@Midscale and Amplio@ForSAFe.
Advantages of the collaborative engagement approach
The collaborative engagement approach represents breakthroughs in both content and delivery mechanisms. These include:
- Learn via collaborative visual boards (Miro) instead of death by PowerPoint. All the while, an expert consultant is guiding the presentation.
- Learn what you need to do and a framework that may or may not work for you. Note: while frameworks promise a quicker start, it is a false promise. The time spent learning a framework could be spent creating a fit-for-purpose approach that is faster for you to adopt.
- Avoid practices that are too heavy and/or prescriptive. Select those that are appropriate for you and your situation.
- Be able to adjust the pace of adoption to meet your culture and context.
Have an opportunity to spread the workshops over a few days so you don’t get overwhelmed with 7-8 hours of training in one day.
- Attend to the entire value creation workflow when starting and not be limited to bottom-up or top-down approaches
- Provide insights to management on how they can be proactive in the change and not merely support requests made to them by the teams. Often, management is left with motherhood and apple pie mantras without anything tangible to guide them in this new way of working.