The Human Side of Agile: Fostering Effective Interactions for Team Alignment
One of the core principles of the Agile Manifesto is People and Interactions over Processes. This is a core principle for a reason. Interactions mentioned here are not casual, but assume that in these interactions people exchange information required for carrying out their work and the process won’t be the impediment for these interactions.
In short, interactions must create team alignment resulting in a higher value add for each stakeholder of an Agile organization. But, we often see that teams struggle to get aligned. From Scrum Masters managing small Agile teams to Engineering Leaders managing several large teams, everyone spends a huge amount of time in creating and managing context that aligns their teams. Without this, teams often lose direction.
So, What do they do to align the teams?
The Tool Trap: A Multitude of Tools, Scattered Information, and the Integration Conundrum
Usually teams seek out a technology solution in the form of a tool. Each team has their own context and they end up finding a tool that solves their problem at least partially. This may seem fine at a team level, but when you see the big picture, the result of this approach is a multitude of tools that narrowly focus on solving specific problems for specific teams. Teams are excited to use these tools as they solve their specific use case effectively.
All seem to work well as they collaborate effectively within their spheres, utilizing a variety of tools to facilitate their tasks. But this introduces a problem when teams have to align and be accountable for achieving overall business goals.
When organizations realize that they need better orchestration to achieve their business goals, they find that the information needed to achieve this is scattered not only across teams but across tools as well. An obvious technology solution for this is integration.
But, integrations fail. Here’s why…
Consider that each tool has its own grammar and is developed by a different organization. The sheer number of tools used itself makes integration prohibitively expensive both financially and temporally. The said orchestration never happens with the help of technology.
So, instead of technology solving the productivity problem, it has become the problem itself. In fact, it has created a smoke mirror that gives the illusion of visibility. The outcome resembles an elusive dissipating smoke screen, where teams mistakenly believe that more work will clear the fog, though this rarely happens.
Many organizations hire people to remove the smoke from the mirrors. At Prakya, we call this work about work.
Here’s what happens when you hire people to create visibility
The Illusion of Visibility: The Twin Hurdles of Contextual and Data Filtering
Experts who we hire clearly understand that the information needed to create end to end visibility is with teams. But to bring it all together they have to first cross the hurdle of filters that too at two levels!.
- Contextual Filtering
- Data Filtering.
Here’s how contextual filtering happens
Let’s first consider this! Information is available within the tools, but the context which created the information and the context in which the information is used is with the team. So, when the team uses the tool there is both context as well as information and alignment is possible.
But, when some other team wants to see this information, their context varies and the information needs to be presented from within their context. The integrations often miss this point. As a result the context gets filtered.
Here’s how data filtering happens
There is another level of filtering that happens within the team. In an attempt to ensure that the team is presented better to the organization, often filtered data that the team wants others to see is presented. Unless someone asks relevant and probing questions, this aspect stays hidden.
How can any expert be expected to create end to end visibility when they have no context and with window dressed information?
And that’s how misalignment is caused, maintained and propagated, almost perpetually.
How do they respond to this situation?
They may want more integration and definitely more collaboration. Again, we seek out tools that integrate and collaborate, adding to the already existing tool box. Using multiple tools that don’t communicate effectively adds to the confusion, making it hard for teams to see the complete picture in the organizational context.
This often makes the situation worse, creating a thicker “smoke mirror.” Further, using multiple tools leads to tool fatigue, increased administrative work, and cognitive burden, making it a root cause of many problems that teams face today.
Prakya – Removing the Smoke from the Mirrors
Prakya firmly believes that visibility is paramount for Agile teams, emphasizing the importance of sharing information among your team. This sharing fosters creativity, confidence, and relationship-building. It prompts us to reflect on whether we’ve achieved the right balance or if our tools have overshadowed the essence of individual interactions.
As said earlier, the fundamental challenge that many organizations face today is the visibility problem, primarily stemming from the extensive use of various tools. While these tools offer advantages, they disperse essential information, ultimately impacting visibility.
Prakya’s Approach to improve visibility
Prakya offers a different approach to the visibility problem.
First, Prakya provides a vertically integrated platform that connects all the dots from strategy to execution. This allows all the information related to your projects and portfolios to be in one place.
Second, Prakya arranges this information based on the context of the user role. For instance, senior management can see the progress of the work done by teams in the context of strategy. Program managers and Release Train Engineers can see the work in the context of their release train and delivery schedules.
So, instead of relying on filters, Prakya provides a framework that helps people find information relevant to their context intuitively. This makes Prakya a single source of truth for teams across an organization.
This kind of access to information eliminates the need for additional work to create visibility, allows teams to be aligned better, reduces or eliminates tool fatigue and ensures that teams are focused on the work they love to do.
Key Benefits of Prakya’s Approach
Empowerment Across All Roles:
Prakya empowers every team member with the necessary visibility and insights, fostering collaboration and efficiency by breaking down silos.
Elimination of “Smoke and Mirrors”:
Prakya eliminates the need for filters and smoke screens, ensuring full visibility for everyone, instilling confidence in the complete picture.
By consolidating information, Prakya facilitates faster, informed decision-making. It enables trend identification, progress tracking, and early issue detection.
Prakya simplifies effective collaboration by providing everyone with access to the same information, ensuring alignment and unity in pursuing common goals.
Overall, Prakya revolutionizes Agile work management by offering transparency and integration. By eradicating smoke screens and centralizing project data, it enhances team efficiency, decision-making, and goal achievement.
Concrete Ways Prakya Addresses Smoke Screens
Unified Data Source:
Prakya establishes a singular source of truth for project data, ensuring uniformity across the team and eradicating discrepancies.
Real-time Progress Tracking:
By providing real-time progress insights, Prakya enables teams to detect and address issues before they escalate.
Granular Data Control:
Prakya gives teams the power to view pertinent information and delve into project intricacies, promoting in-depth comprehension.
Instead of filters, Prakya contextualizes and presents information to the teams so that all the teams have a single source of truth.
“Prakya believes that teams should be looking at the same information, even if that information is wrong.”
The removal of filters is not merely an operational decision; it’s a strategic imperative. It’s a commitment to the principles of Agile and a declaration that your organization is dedicated to achieving true transparency, collaboration, and excellence in project management.
Filters have no place in a modern, dynamic business environment that demands adaptability and agility. It’s time to unveil the truth, eliminate the illusion, and embrace the path to successful work execution: transparency over filters.
By avoiding the pitfalls of excessive filtering, Prakya enables organizations to operate with clarity, encourage collaboration, and make data-driven decisions that ultimately lead to project success and customer satisfaction.
If your goal is to retain information and wield it as a source of power, then project management tools that use filters may be a more suitable option for you.
And by the way, do you know what Prakya means in Sanskrit? It means ‘Visibility.’ And we stand by Our mission, which is to reduce cognitive overload, bring visibility and make teams productive”