Agile tools and practices such as Scrum, Kanban, Design Thinking,. Sprints, etc. usually are the first things that come to mind when thinking about agility.
7 pages

128 KB – 7 Pages

PAGE – 1 ============
New leadership roles Three leadership roles are becoming increasingly important (e.g. Rutz, 2017; De Smet, 2018; Lawler & Worley, 2015): The advisor has a trust-based relationship with their employees. This role includes providing guidance and assisting in upcoming questions. The advisor should act as an example. Therefore, it is important to know and re˚ect on one™s own values, needs and motives because they are the basis for acting authentically as a role model. Those who know their strengths and weaknesses and thus their own ‚road map™ are capable of meeting others with appre -ciation, openness and respect. They inspire people. The multiplicator: In this role, the leader is responsible for transferring knowledge and experience. By providing platforms and channels to articulate, his/her task is to convey the big picture and ensure transparency. Multiplica -tors break down the strategy into clear and easily remem -bered messages. The coach: The most important role for leaders in agile organizations is to support employees™ individual respon -sibility. Leaders should actively involve employees in deci -sion-making processes. A shift from being a controller to being a supporter and enabler of employees is essential. To do so, coaching and feedback skills are needed. Leaders must build up the people needed and equip them with suit -able skills and management tools (Zerfass et al., 2018). Their task is to evaluate, coach, and develop people Œ but without traditional direct oversight. This includes matching talent to the right roles and value-creation opportuni -ties. Organizations can adopt a set of talent management practices that encourage employees to learn and develop (Kiesenbauer, 2018). Agile tools and practices such as Scrum, Kanban, Design Thinking, Sprints, etc. usually are the ˜rst things that come to mind when thinking about agility. However, from a strategic perspective such methods are for now the least important issue for communi- cation executives. Nevertheless, a sound knowledge in this area is needed. The use of agile tools is most ef˜cient under certain conditions such as initially unknown solutions, modularized work or close collaboration with target groups. Such conditions exist for many product development functions, marketing projects or strate- gic-planning activities. Many companies rely on a mix of expe- rienced and speci˜cally trained staff and external coaches to apply these techniques. Communication leaders should document appropriate approaches in toolboxes (Zerfass et al., 2018) and build in-house competencies. As many are still not familiar with the terms and concepts, a brief overview of the three most commonly applied tools will be given here. Many tools are pretty easy to test out in smaller teams or projects. Still, it remains important to maintain a trial and error attitude, and not to follow the methodology to the letter; each team can adapt it to its needs. Often, teams also mix these tech- niques with non-agile techniques. (Komus & Kuberg, 2017; West & Grant, 2010) » The most important thing when working with others is supporting the colleagues, because there are many people in large companies who do not like to collaborate and do not accept advice or decisions from someone with a lower hierarchical status. Here the superiors are asked to weigh in and support. « Alexander Wilke, Global Head of Communications, thyssenkrupp AG APPLYING AGILE TOOLS AND TECHNOLOGIESSTRUCTURES TECHNOLOGIESTOOLS PEOPLEPROCESSESCULTURE AGILE ORGANIZATIONS 18COMMUNICATION INSIGHTS Œ ISSUE 5

PAGE – 2 ============
Kanban Originally developed at Toyota in the 1950s to steer production, Kanban is used today by project managers in different ˜elds to make projects faster and more ef˜cient. It seeks to reduce lead times, the amount of work in process and to secure a continuous work˚ow. Work items are visualized on a ‚Kanban Board™ to give the team an overview of the progress and process. Work is pulled as capacity permits, rather than work being pushed into the process when requested. The most popular way of doing this is by manually advancing sticky notes in different colors from ‚To-Do™ to ‚Doing™ to ‚Done™ columns on large whiteboards. Today there are also web-based solutions for Kanban Boards, but traditional whiteboards are often preferred in order to visualize the ongoing work˚ow for everyone. The sticky notes symbolize a task that is broken down into a manageable amount of work, mostly between two or three hours. A daily 15-minute stand-up meeting informs every team member about the current status of all tasks and offers an opportunity to talk about it. The level of detail is down to the users, but in general the Kanban Board should not contain too many parallel tasks. This way, it is ensured that tasks ˚ow smoothly and without delay over the board. Kanban™s ˚exibility allows it to be overlaid onto existing work˚ows, systems and processes without disrupting what is already successfully in place. Kanban can be easily implemented in any type of organization. The method is designed to meet minimal resistance and thus encourages small, continuous, and incremental changes to the current process. (Anderson, 2010; Kanbanize, 2018; Sugimori et al., 1977) Given the fact that agility is closely tied to start-up mentality, digitalization, and speed of innovation, becoming more agile was a natural progression for comdirect. The online bank started its business 24 years ago but still retains its disruptive start-up mentality today. Disruption and change are ingrained in its business strategy and looking for structures and concepts that decrease the ‚product-to- market™ time is essential to its success. With this in mind, comdirect started a change program with four pilot units in 2014 in order to become more agile. The change program focuses especially on executives andteams with the aim of developing a different concept of leadership based on coaching and enabling staff. The process was supported by an external coach who introduced the pilot units to agile tools such as Kanban. One of the pilots was corporate communications Œ a team with ten employees. The initial impetus was to become faster and more ef˜cient in dealing with the tasks at hand. The goal was for every colleague within CC to be able to handle every job. The team decided to work in a more topic-related fashion instead of focusing on different channels. Tasks are allocated following the pull instead of push prin- ciple: Self-determined product owners declare themselves responsible for upcoming topics and build their teams. The aim is to initiate more self-organi- zation, transparency, and trust. The team uses a mixture of different Kanban Boards to organize and prioritize its work: an overall board for the whole team, project boards that are linked to the departmental boards, and in some cases personal Kanban boards managed by the team members themselves. The overall Kanban Board is the heart of the team of˜ce and daily stand-up meetings keep everybody informed. The change process was supported by moving into an open-plan of˜ce. WORKING WITH KANBAN AT COMDIRECT 19COMMUNICATION INSIGHTS Œ ISSUE 5

PAGE – 3 ============
What was your motivation to start the agile journey with your team at comdirect? As a direct bank we are especially hit by the digital transformation. The speed of innovation in the ˚eld of direct/online banking is extreme. The same holds true for the communication department. The speed of communication and the number of channels are increasing every year. It was obvious that we had to collaborate more ef˚ciently and effectively. We are a small team. Therefore, ˜exibility in terms of tasks and topics is very important for us. So, I would say it was initially both a top-down initiated process and a bottom-up process. What were your biggest challenges along the way? The process towards more agility has its ups and downs. While in the beginning people are motivated and exited, this usually declines when they understand that agility has its downsides, too. Working with Kanban and Scrum techniques means that employees have to have more self-initiative and have to work more transpar- ently and collaboratively. Not everyone is cut out for that. Some people need more convincing than others. Here, executives need patience but should stay determined about their course. Most prob- lems work themselves out when establishing a culture of feedback, failure tolerance, and trust. What tips can you give your colleagues that have just started this journey? First of all, just do it! It is easier when you start small. Although ‚islands of agility™ have their drawbacks, too, for us it worked. Communication has the general advantage that it is often relatively independent from other functions and units. Important is that your people understand your goal and share your sense of urgency. You have to explain why this approach is superior to others. Annette Siragusano is Head of Corporate Communi -cations at comdirect bank AG, one of the leading direct banks in Germany (net income of • 71.544 million in 2017 | 1,450 employees). Since three years, Siragu -sano and her team have been working with Kanban. Comdirect has invested heavily in digital technologies, publishing the ˚rst online banking app and launching a fistart-up garagefl for ˚nancial technology start-ups. »Stop starting Œ start finishing! « FURTHER READINGSAnderson, D. (2010). Kanban: Successful evolutionary change for your technology business. Seattle, WA: Blue Hole Press. Kanbanize (2018). Kanban explained for beginners. 20COMMUNICATION INSIGHTS Œ ISSUE 5

PAGE – 4 ============
ScrumScrum is a tool originally used in software development as a creative way to get products or results both effectively and ef˜ciently. It emphasizes creative and adaptive teamwork to solve complex problems and reveals where a team performs well and where more coordination is needed. The method is designed for teams of three to nine members. Work packages are created that can be completed within timeboxed iterations, called sprints (30 days or less, most commonly two weeks). The daily progress is tracked and re-planned in daily 15-minute stand-up meetings, called scrums. There are always two pre-de˜ned roles in the team: 1 The Product Owner prepares a prioritized list of tasks Œ the product or sprint backlog Œ and is responsible for the success of the project. A team takes over the tasks from the backlog during the sprint planning and completes them in a pre-de˜ned period (sprint). In the end, the results are presented to the customer in a sprint review. Within a sprint, a team creates real results rather than rough sketches. In the process the team is completely free and decides on its own how to proceed. 2 The Scrum Master makes sure that the team can work without interruption. He/she ensures that everyone under -stands and follows the process. (Maximini, 2015; Schwaber & Sutherland, 2017; Takeuchi & Nonaka, 1986; Van Ruler, 2014) Scrum MasterProduct OwnerProduct BacklogSprint Backlog Product IncrementSprint Planning Team Sprint 24hDaily ScrumMeetingScrum process FURTHER READINGSMaximini, D. (2015). The scrum culture. Introducing agile methods in organizations. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. Schwaber, K., & Sutherland, J. (2017). The scrum guide: Rules of the game. Van Ruler, B. (2014). Re˚ective communication scrum. Recipe for accountability. The Hague, Netherlands: Eleven International. A typical Scrum process (Source: Gollmer, 2018) 21COMMUNICATION INSIGHTS Œ ISSUE 5

PAGE – 5 ============
Design Thinking Design Thinking is an agile tool developed in the 1990s in Silicon Valley. What was originally intended as a method to create inno- vative products and services, has advanced to a comprehen- sive methodology of creative teamwork that brings unexpected solutions, changes in work culture, and improvements in team performance. Design Thinking focuses on both stakeholder and human needs, empathy, and values different points of view. It is about not looking for the perfect solution to a problem, but trying to quickly produce various innovative solutions by creating prototypes and then concentrating on the idea with the greatest potential. It is a method that fosters creative con˜dence and encourages thinking across boundaries. It is not only a process but also a mindset. The success of Design Thinking is based on three key factors (HPI, 2018a; HPI, 2018b; Plattner et al., 2016): People: The team is formed in a multi-disciplinary way that fosters ideas that go beyond disciplinary borders. Diversity is one of the key principles to overcome the internal barriers of silo-thinking. Place: Creative workspaces invite the team to visualize their thoughts and share results. A free and ˚exible working envi- ronment enhances idea generation. Such a workspace should contain, for example, whiteboards, movable furniture, and material for prototyping like LEGO bricks. The room has to be adapted to the needs of each project. Process: The process is divided into ˜ve iterative loops (see graphic below) and visualized as a circle, but the steps can be performed in various orders. A culture open to errors and iterations are central to Design Thinking. Iterations occur during the whole process multiple times, but also on a smaller scale within each of the individual steps. Design Thinking EmpathizeDe˜neIdeatePrototype Test ImplementYou must gain empathy for the stakeholder by observing, engaging with and listening to who they are and what is important to them. Discovering real needs, inferr ing insights and creating a persona are the ˜rst steps. Based on what you have learned about the stakeholder, you have to de˜ne the challenge you are taking on. The goal is an explicit expression of the problem, the so-called point-of-vie w. Although it may seem counterintuitive, a more narrowly focused problem statement tends to result in a greater quantity of higher quality solutions when generating ideas. Here you focus on generating solutions to address the challenge. It is not about coming up with the right idea, but generating a broad range of possible solutions, e.g. through brainstorming. Three ideas that receive the most votes (choosing your own criteria, e.g. the rational choice, the most unexpected) are carried for ward into prototyping. A prototype is an artifact that is quick and cheap to make, and something that the stakeholder can interact with, for instance a role-playing activity or a gadget that has been put together. Prototype and test are intertwined because you have to consider what and how you are trying to test before creating a prototype. Through testing Š ideally within the real context of your stakeholder ™s life Š you get feedback, learn about your solution and your stakeholder. It is the chance to re˜ne prototypes and solutions that makes them better. The best idea, process or project is turned into a concrete, fully conceived action plan. 543216Own ˜gure based on Knüpffer, 2018 FURTHER READINGSPlattner, H., Meinel, C., & Leifer, L. (Eds.) (2018). Design thinking research: Making distinctions: collaboration versus cooperation. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. Website fiopenHPIfl of the Hasso Plattner Institute ( offering free online classes and tutorials on IT and Design Thinking topics. Design Thinking process 22COMMUNICATION INSIGHTS Œ ISSUE 5

PAGE – 6 ============
Burndown charts visualize and monitor the progress of work. It is a graphical representation of work left to do versus time. The horizontal axis of the burndown chart shows the time (for example in days) and the vertical axis shows the amount of work remaining (backlog). It helps to clearly see what is happening and how progress is being made. This is why it can be applied to any project containing measurable progress over time. The aim of retrospectives is to learn from the past and thus improve processes. All team members evaluate what went well and what did not. Retrospectives make an important contribution to the continuous improvement of the process including ˜nding the most ef˜cient way to deploy and improve agile practices. In a stand-up meeting all team members report what they have done the day before, where problems might have occurred and what they have planned for the current day. A stand-up meeting should not last more than 15 minutes. The purpose is to keep all team members aware of the project status and give an overall picture of the project. An iteration or sprint is a ˜xed period of time within which a team or person works towards the completion of a goal. At the beginning of each iteration the team holds a planning meeting to break down each of the goals sched -uled for the sprint into speci˜c tasks. After the sprint, work should stop and the results and team process are reviewed for better results in the next iteration. Usually, a project consists of a sequence of iterations and one itera -tion lasts from one day to four weeks. A user story is a brief statement that identi˜es the stake -holder and their needs or goals. The user story is written in everyday language and from the stakeholder™s point of view. There is usually one user story per person (stake -holder). It outlines the role, the action or capability, and the bene˜t of the project to the user. In comparison to case studies, user stories are short-lived and only survive one iteration while case studies are more extensive and long-lasting. (Dinwiddie, 2009; Hanschke, 2017; Van Ruler, 2015) Common agile techniquesEven without fully implementing agile tools, communication departments can introduce aspects such as stand-up meetings or retrospectives to help improve project management. The most commonly used agile techniques are brie˚y introduced here: Agile techniquesretrospective stand-upmeetingiterations/ sprintsburndown chartuser stories23COMMUNICATION INSIGHTS Œ ISSUE 5

128 KB – 7 Pages