Tailored Agile coaching
To ensure our coaching delivered the greatest possible value for BACP, we began by asking the institution to review a selection of their recent projects looking at what went well, and what could be improved - an activity known as a ‘project retrospective’ in Agile terms. The results of these retrospectives were then reviewed in an initial preparatory session, held between our consultants and the project leads that would be taking part in the course.
This session gave us a more comprehensive understanding of participants’ specific requirements, objectives and pain points; allowing us to tailor our coaching materials accordingly. We could see that not only was there an interest from the team in how Agile could be applied outside of the software development industry to improve core business processes - increasing transparency, control and velocity - but in how the team’s softer skills could be developed through adoption of the approach. Facilitating better communication and collaboration, for example, alongside motivating individuals to ‘go the extra mile’ were seen as key to ensuring that any projects delivered support both the needs of members and, ultimately, the strategic direction of BACP’s digital transformation.
Engaging with the approach
To maximise engagement then, the session combined walkthroughs introducing Agile’s most important principles and techniques with a range of practical, hands-on exercises. This enabled participants to easily grasp the real-world applications and benefits of the approach, such as how developing product visions would enable them to act in a more user-centric way and, ultimately, ensure the projects they deliver are the right ones.
One particular aspect of Agile that participants latched onto was the use of Kanban as a means of visualising - and then controlling - projects in a way that ensured everyone was included and involved. This technique proved so popular, in fact, that when we returned to review the team’s progress a few months later we found their working environment transformed, with a number of Kanban boards - used for tracking tasks - in place around the office.
Spreading the word
More than this, too, we could see how enthused participants now were about projects, as through the introduction of Kanban they could more easily measure progress as tasks were moved through the different stages of the board through to completion. (And if you want to know a bit more about Kanban, be sure to check out our webinar “Embedding an Agile culture”, which explains how the technique can be used to successfully roll the approach out across an organisation.)
Participants therefore began to act as ‘champions’ of Agile, and specifically Kanban - being more than happy to explain what they’d learned, and how it was helping the way they work, to other colleagues within the membership institution. As a result, the initiative started to take on momentum, leading to Box UK’s consultants delivering a further coaching session to help support the adoption of an Agile mindset company-wide.
With the help of these coaching sessions, support for Agile ways of working has grown and grown within BACP - both at a grassroots level and throughout the leadership team that has been supporting the initiative - and continues to do so too. For example, when we employed a “Lean Coffee” format to conduct project retrospectives in one of the sessions, we uncovered a wealth of insight that may have otherwise gone unnoticed and unactioned.
A bright future
For BACP, engaging in Agile coaching has more than met their initial objectives of supporting project delivery and increasing team motivation - it’s also driving cultural changes to ensure a solid, sustainable transformation that can evolve and adapt, in line with the organisation’s requirements, goals and strategy.