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BAR : Frequently Asked Questions

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Join our slack channel at #agility4all 

Email us with questions at Agility4All@1smc.com  

 

Recommended reading: 

Agile Manifesto

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BAR Related Questions
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1. What does BAR stand for?

BAR stands for Business Agility Revolution. This is the journey towards business agility

 

2. What benefit is the organization seeking from this effort? 

SMC IT is excited to tie the business agility revolution to its core values of innovation, proactivity, and community thus prioritizing work that provides business value, eliminating silos, encouraging cross-functional and self-organizing teams, and providing a space for failing and learning safely. 

 

3. What am I getting excited for? 

A new way of working and thinking. With increased awareness of the movement towards business agility, we may start to notice some tools or techniques as a simple extension of some very basic ways of working. Like placing people as a priority, understanding customer needs first before proposing a solution, lesser needs of excessive documentation, increased collaboration and transparency, and the ability to actively respond to change as opposed to extreme planning.  

 

4. BAR referred to culture change. What does that mean? 

Imagine starting your day with a passion to create an impact at the workplace and ending the day with renewed energy after a fulfilling day, looking for more opportunities and more days like today. Imagine a culture where everyone feels included, can learn, collaborate, and challenge ideas productively. An agile culture encourages increased transparency thus reducing autocracy, and control; a culture that has values to guide the behavior, beliefs, and attitudes of people who use them. This is a culture we are trying to build here, at SMC IT.  

 

5. Is BAR for IT/Global IT only? 

BAR is an initiative that has been undertaken by Global IT and includes the entire IT team all around the globe. However, one of the important considerations for this initiative is to find better ways to serve the business/customers. Hence, while we are actively and closely working with our IT teams, we definitely plan to loop in our internal partners/businesses in order to find ways to collaborate with them and invite them onto our journey. 

 

6. Why are we moving to Agile? 

Adopting Agile has several benefits - some of them are listed below:

  • Customer or business partners or stakeholder satisfaction (value creation)
  • Employee happiness and satisfaction
  • Being open to failing, failing fast, and learning from failures
  • Improved transparency and communication
  • Create a sustainable culture for everyone to thrive in 
  • Get our products to the market faster with substantial cost savings 

 

7. Who is championing the effort? What are they doing to demonstrate and communicate the organization’s commitment? 

Mike Loggins, along with his leadership team along with the help of agilists are championing the BAR. They will, together, demonstrate these new ways of thinking and working and help bring the entire department with them, along the ride! 

 

8. How are we going to do this? What are the expectations from the teams? 

Let's start by being open to change. The next step would be to ask yourselves some critical and thought-provoking questions. For instance, are there any elements in my current work that I am able to do differently in order to make it simpler? What is it that I need in order to better contribute to my day-to-day work? How can I contribute to this initiative to enhance my learning and experience? Do I see any opportunities for improvements or innovations around me?

Next, reach out to us when you are ready because we can do this only with your help! Refer to Contact Us at the beginning of and towards the end of the page for more information. 

 

9. How much experience do the champions have with this initiative? Do we have the right skills to be successful? 

Our team of agilists is working extremely hard to better assist with the business agility revolution. Our leadership team is committed to not only assisting their teams with this mindset but enhancing their mindsets in the process. With the journey towards business agility, having the right mindset and attitude is equally important as the knowledge of agile tools and techniques.  

 

10. Are we communicating about BAR with our business partners? Is there a standard that is expected across all business units?

 We are absolutely working on communicating about BAR with our business partners. More details to come on those standards. Additionally, refer to #5 above.

 

11. What is our vendor-partner strategy with this new way of working? 

 Collaborating with the vendors is an essential path of this journey. More details to come.  

 

12. Are we prepared for the failure mindset that Agile relies upon? 

 Mike and our leadership team are working diligently to encourage and assist with strategies and communications around fail-fast and learn from its mindset. In other words, inspect and adapt! 

 

13. How will we measure progress? How will we know if we are moving in the right direction?

 Your feedback will help measure progress on how we are doing and help us determine if we are moving in the right direction. Are we providing business value, are we creating a culture for everyone to thrive in, are our teams and customers happy are some of the important measurements in addition to our productivity and quality-based measurements. More details to follow. 

 

14. How do we get started? What's the start point?

 We have already started - by talking about it! Please refer to #8 above. 

 

15. When do we know if we are “done”? How will we know when BAR is complete? How are we going to get there? 

 Agile is an ongoing journey to get better at being the best. Continuous improvements are a key to creating and sustaining a culture change. The journey towards business agility is an ever-evolving journey and for these reasons, we are never going to be "done". 

 

16. Will there be offers in the local language?

 Respecting diversity is very important to us, here at SMC. We can definitely consider partnering with an agile coach who speaks the local language or developing training materials translated depending on the requirements of the regions.  

 

17. What are the next steps? 

 The agilists are constantly working on designing training sessions/workshops to support this initiative. These are specifically around the agile mindset, values, principles, and benefits. Hence, there will be various different workshops not just around basic Agile methodologies but also related to several important concepts like psychological safety, giving and receiving feedback, tangible ways to improve transparency and communication, etc. In addition, as soon as your region gets ready to move forward, our team of coaches will be working very closely with you to build a strategy specifically around the requirements of your region/teams. 

 

18. How often will we meet and practice? 

 As often as you would like. The agilists are here to work with you, depending on the needs of your team, and to offer any assistance/guidance towards individual growth as an agilist.

 

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Agile-Related Questions
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19. What is the difference between agile and business agility? 

Being agile is being able to respond to change. Agile is not a prescription that we can take every single day. It is a mindset; Agile only shows us what the underlying problems are, and we have got to solve those ourselves. 

 

Business Agility is the inherent ability of an organization to respond to change. Agile is a bunch of tools and techniques that help us move towards and achieve business agility.  

 

20. What is a cross-functional team? 

A cross-functional team is a group of people or teams with different skillsets and responsibilities – all coming together, working collaboratively towards delivering a specific chunk of work. This mindset helps eliminate silos and improves transparency.  

 

21. What is a self-organizing team? 

The ability of a team to set their direction, with minimum supervision, that aligns with the organizational goals is called self-organizing. The basic mindset behind a self-organizing team is increased trust among peers and between the teams and the management. 

 

22. What is an agile coach? 

 Think about your favorite team (be it a sports team, or a robotics team at your kid’s school). Every high-performing team has a, needs a coach. Coaching is often “behind the scenes” and hence is not completely visible until it leads a team to be high performing, happy, collaborative team. Agile coaches can be your coach, mentor, teacher, facilitator, or simply your sounding board – whatever you want them to be.  

 

23. What are the roles in Agile? 

 While there may be additional roles in different frameworks within Agile methodology, there are 3 basic roles on an agile team:

  • Team Members: are the do-ers. They may have varied skills and are together responsible for getting the work done that is of excellent quality. They focus on delivering the product owner's vision constantly working towards being a self-managing team. 
  • Product Owner: has a clear vision for the product that aligns with the department's (and thus the organization's) vision. They own the backlog and ensure that it is prioritized at all times. They work very closely with the stakeholders at all times. 
  • Scrum Master: are the shield for the team so that they can get their work done without any outside distractions. They ensure that the team stays accountable to each other and can be a mentor, a coach, and a trainer as and when the team needs them. 

24. Is there documentation we can read? Could we get info material/videos for our teams? Any suggested reading we can read about Agile outside of these sessions?

 Agility can be best achieved when practiced together. As we progress on our training workshops via Agile Teach-n-Learn, we will start sharing related materials. Listed below are some links for light-reading and videos that will help increase your awareness around Agile:

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Contact Us
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How can I stay in touch with the agilists 

The agilists, along with the leadership team, are going to be assisting with this effort, every step of the way. Additionally, we have several channels set up for this undertaking: 

Look out for ongoing communications regarding how we are progressing on our journey towards business agility and let us know how we can help with your journey. 

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