Agile for Non-Profits

Applying Agile in a non-profit context requires recognition of a near-universal truth: non-profits are notoriously underfunded and understaffed, leaving individuals wearing many hats and mostly in firefighting mode. This leaves very few resources for any type of process improvement, even when individuals and organizations are receptive to a new way of working.

But this means that Agile can have tremendous benefits within the non-profit sector, even if it looks a bit different than the traditional ITAgile models.

Space for Agility

The essence of designing an Agile space is to remember that the foundation of Agile are teams, so spaces are designed around teams. Best practice is to keep team members together in spaces to maximize opportunities for collaboration and real time information exchange.

Remember that the original Agile space principles was “Caves and Commons”. Caves are private spaces for uninterrupted alone time, concentrated work. Commons are group areas for shared working and collaboration. Both are equally important.

From Requirements to a Backlog

Quite often I get the opportunity to review an “Agile project” that isn’t working as well as it is supposed to me, and I start working with the teams to see how I can help.

A recurring issue in these scenario has been the lack of shared understanding about should be a basic Agile/Scrum concept – the backlog. 

In many of the Agile projects – and yes there is considerable debate on what are the minimum Agile values / practices / principles that need to be in place before a project can be considered, but for now I’m referencing any project that is self-identified as Agile – the lack of a viable backlog is the biggest project risk.

Planning for PMO Evolution

Realization of business Agility transforms PMOs from the perception of “auditors” into true strategic partners by delivering organizational mission value. 

The goal of this transformation effort is to fulfill the PMO’s governance mandate by providing a big picture view – the 50,000 foot view across all projects in the enterprise.

Case for Business Agility

The key problem that business agility should address is enabling organizations to cope with the unprecedented rate of change that is the new normal today.

How do organizations respond to the revolutionary rate of change within today’s global marketplace without either slinking into inertia or exhaust itself in a frenzy of action in random directions?

Business Agility can help organizations find a third way to continually reinvent itself so that they discover, embrace and benefit from the opportunities among the chaos.

Value of Visualization

A few years, I was meeting a potential client and describing my recommendations and work processes when they remarked that I seemed to “rely” a lot on visualization.

I got the definite impression that they were not impressed that I relied so much on such a basic concept!

They were right, though. So much of my consulting and coaching work relies on visualization, and as basic as the concept sounds, it is surprisingly powerful.