Agility is a mindset
As part of my training as an IT specialist at symmedia, I had the opportunity to complete a two-week internship here with the Agile Coaches. During this time, I was able to intensively deal with the tasks of the coaches and to understand in more detail how the daily work is significantly supported by agile methods. In this blog entry, I would like to share the experiences I gathered during my internship.
Agile methods are project management methods characterized by continuously asking for feedback at an early stage and adapting the development to the new findings. This approach creates a high degree of flexibility in engineering. In classic product engineering, a final product, and the steps to achieve the goal are defined ahead of the project start – this method contrasts drastically with agile methods. As a result, the classic concept tends to be inflexible and static.
“Agility is an ideal method for symmedia: It promotes our values of continuous improvement and supports the implementation of innovations.”
The role of the agile coach
Arguably, the most important role of the Agile Coach is to support the teams and the company in implementing agile methods and integrating them into the daily work routine. The Agile Coach acts more as an advisor/mentor and less with the authority of a project manager. Through regular exchanges with the team, the Agile Coach always has an overview of the team’s emotional state. Thus, the Agile Coach can identify and remove emerging or potential obstacles in a timely manner. Overall, a pleasant and productive workday is created and the team can concentrate on product development without interruption.
“At symmedia, coaches act at every level of the company with continuous exchange, enabling a quick response to challenges and obstacles in order to overcome them efficiently.”
Scrum: Dominant model in the agile environment
One of the best-known agile methods is Scrum – it also represents a success factor at symmedia. Scrum is characterized by short development cycles – these are also referred to as “sprints”. At the beginning of the sprint, the team defines a goal (product increment), which is realized within the sprint. At the end of the sprint, this product increment is presented to the customers or stakeholders, and feedback is obtained. The new findings are then incorporated into further product development in order to define the next sprint. Firmly defined team meetings within a sprint are conducted by the Scrum Master as moderator and problem solver, whereby the role of the Scrum Master reflects only one of the tasks of the Agile Coaches.
“The central element for gathering feedback at symmedia is the review meeting, which drives product development together with the customer and enables flexible adaptation to customer requirements.”
I was particularly impressed by the sphere created by the Agile Coaches for the team, in which teamwork and communication in particular are promoted and harmony, productivity and motivation are created. During my internship, I realized that the coaches are also very committed to this in the background, offer support and are in regular exchange with all levels of the company.
So far, I knew the Agile Coaches mainly as Scrum Masters within the Scrum meetings, but through the internship I became aware that agility is not just a team-internal method, but a way of thinking that affects and advances the company as a whole.