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Monday, August 3 • 14:00 - 14:30
Going All In: Lessons Learned in Agile IT at Harvard Business Publishing (Elizabeth Ross) POPULAR

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Harvard Business Publishing is a subsidiary of the Harvard Business School. We spend a lot of time focused on promoting good management, learning best practices, and we're not afraid to undertake experiments and innovative practices to improve an organization. In 2014, the Enterprise Information Technology department went "all in" with agile for the 40+ person organization in a full-scale reorganization. It included everyone from the interns at the help desk to the CIO. The experience report will cover the goals of the change, choosing the best methods for each of the six, new cross-functional teams (both Kanban and Scrum are used), the efforts to train the teams and the stakeholders, the change from line managers to practice leads, and how we went about living into the agile principles. It will focus particularly on the challenges for the senior management team as we are playing too, including adopting a method, organizing a team, holding retrospectives, and doing a daily stand-up at the board.
Focusing on the senior management team is to share the experience that is often overlooked: how change has to happen at the senior management level as well and the best way to do it is to live it, along with everyone else. I will cover:
(1) The challenge of working with Human Resources to adopt new performance management methods (and finding ones that strike the balance between the agile principles of the team collectively and HR's requirement for individual performance).
(2) Learning to identify the real most valuable work for the management team (not just the work that we're comfortable putting on the board) and being open and honest in our report outs to the organization, and
(3) Maneuvering through the political challenges of creating Advisory Groups of internal customers and teaching stakeholders to think in terms of value instead of what's in progress, doing away with the traditional IT PM and replacing them with Product Owner/Business Analysts.
Learning Outcomes:
  • (1) Share the experience of the agile transformation (1 year in) with the focus on what management has to do.
  • (2) Share what we did, what mistakes were made, and how we learned from them.
  • (3) Discuss some of the specific challenging decisions such as: teams picking their own methods within the agile frame work; championing the change throughout the organization and particular struggles in areas around performance management/HR, and resetting expectations with our stakeholders.

avatar for Elizabeth Ross

Elizabeth Ross

Director, IT Business Systems, Harvard Business Publishing

Monday August 3, 2015 14:00 - 14:30 EDT
Potomac 4