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Scrum and Kanban

Agile Organisations: Scrum and Kanban

What is an agile organisation?

A company that has fast responses to changes in the marketplace and workplace trends is called an agile organisation. These companies are already aware that changes are inevitable, and constantly examine their regulations, practices and processes to ensure that they can attain and maintain optimal employee engagement, morale and performance. An agile organisation is able to react quickly and successfully to new competitors, to be an agile organisation is to be innovative and to constantly challenge themselves to advance, respond and adjust.

Examples of successful agile organisations

In 2012, a senior VP of Adobe felt that the annual performance review was bureaucratic, paperwork-heavy, and unnecessarily complicated while taking up too much management hours. She also noticed it created barriers to teamwork, innovation and creativity. In the end, the Adobe team ditched annual performance appraisals and started regular, on-going performance discussions between managers and employees using a system called “Check-In”. This decreased voluntary departures by 30%, and increased involuntary departures by 50%, meaning poor hires were weeded out quicker. This shift in the company’s performance management saved Adobe a total of 80,000 management hours annually.

Another great example is the great performance management shift of Cargill Inc. In 2012, Cargill noticed employee engagement and motivation was failing and thus they made the decision to venture into agile organisation territory, focusing on four principles: - Feedback needs to be continuous, rather than document-heavy and sporadic. - Daily activities and practices are predictors of performance management quality. - The relationship between employee and manager is of paramount importance. - Above all else, the system needs to remain flexible and agile to meet business needs.

Since this transition, 69% of employees claimed they received feedback useful for their professional development, 70% of employees claimed they felt more valued, and from a performance standpoint, managers found that employees were spending more time on tasks that actually mattered instead of wasting time filling out paperwork. As you are beginning to see being agile is not only powerful, but nearly necessary in social innovation. In order to start you on your journey towards an agile organisation we wanted to highlight two popular tools you can utilize, Kanban and Scrum.

What is Kanban?

“Kanban” in Japanese means “visual signal”. It is considered to be a powerful project management tool. A Kanban board is a visual method for managing the creation of products through a series of fixed steps. It emphasizes continuous flow and is displayed as a list of stages in columns on a board. Each task or part of the project is represented on a card, and the card’s current stage must be completed in order to advance to the next.

Overall, Kanban offers a simple visual way of monitoring progress, sharing responsibility, and mitigating bottlenecks in a project. Kanban Boards can be as detailed as you need. Here we see a team has not only divided their board to have the continuous flow of stages, but has also utilized a color-coded system and further broken down each card into informational sections.

What is Scrum?

Scrum is an agile project management methodology or framework used primarily for software development projects. It addresses complexity in work by making information transparent, so that people can inspect and adapt based on current conditions, rather than predicted conditions. Transparency of common terms, standards and expectations are required in Scrum development to ensure that what is being delivered is what was expected.

Frequent inspection ensures progress and detects variances early on so that adjustments can be made quickly. Scrum typically involves daily stand-up meetings and sprints with sprint planning, sprint reviews, and retrospectives. The objective of all these activities and of Scrum in general is to create a shippable product after every sprint which lasts around 2-4 weeks.

Which is better for your team/company?

Well, this is a hard question to answer, but software development teams typically use Scrum because it has been found to be highly useful in the software lifecycle process. Kanban on the other hand, is a bit more straightforward and used by all kinds of teams, including marketing, IT, healthcare, manufacturing, etc.

Reflective Question:

Which do you think you will use for your company/team? In your opinion, which do you think will be the best fit for your organisation/team and why? Share your opinion with your fellow learners.

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This article is from the free online course:

Social Innovation: Global Solutions for a Sustainable Future

Living in Minca