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Understanding needs for building digital / agile capability

I do a fair bit of training with organisations who want to become more agile. The conversation often starts with “can you give agile training to our staff?”. This is a starting point for a conversation but needs a bit more digging before I can understand what the real need is and what outcome we should be aiming for.

People who are in teams delivering digital services have a very different need to those that are supporting agile teams at more of a distance or those that are just interested in learning more and may just need an overview.

I’ve found it useful to break the users down into different types to help the conversation about their needs. Those types are:

  • Doers: People in teams that are making digital services right now
  • Collaborators: People in teams that work close to digital teams
  • Supporters: Stakeholders that want to understand what to expect from and how to support digital teams
  • Aspirers: People who want to work in digital teams
  • Interested people: Other interested people within the Defra group

(Collaborators and Supporters can also map to the Agile Team Onion)

In organisations that are new to agile, those people who are Doers are often the primary focus, in order to deliver great services then they need to be equipped with skills and support. Within Doers, each role will have specific needs. This should be paired with collaborators and supporters, who will sit in the wider organisation and will be essential for things to go live.

Once the organisation is more mature, those Doers can help to build the capability of the Collaborators, Aspirers, Supporters and interested people. It’s always good to have people living the organisational culture to be involved in helping others understand how agile works in context.

The user types are just the start of the conversation and once I understand this breakdown, then I can start to understand more specific needs within any organisation.

 

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