Always ask to see working software. Another project I worked with was in deep trouble, arguing over the features they thought they could not go to market without. Taking the decision makers through the working customer experience as a whole showed them it was near market ready and lifted excitement.
The unimportant features fell away and people focussed on the ones genuinely needed – getting it into the hands of customers sooner. We are visual people - why would words on a page ever give us a true sense of a customer experience unless our teams are full of gifted authors!?
Shut up and listen. Recently we built an experience for our mobile lenders here at ANZ called Your HomeLoan 360°TM. We made a few mobile lenders working with us on the design the kings and queens of the showcase. When I or other folks in the team thought the solution should go in a particular direction it was always able to be tested with the 'users'.
These folks regularly came up with ideas simpler and much more valuable than ours. On launch we achieved rapid take-up amongst the lenders. As leaders the best thing we can do is listen to those kings and queens and let go of our personal views.
Bring work to the people not people to the work. Mobilising teams for projects is incredibly inefficient – most companies spend weeks in work estimation, sourcing allocations from specialist resource pools or protracted contract negotiations with vendors.
At ANZ my job has been to create permanent teams with specific experiences to establish an operating rhythm, build competency, creativity and speed. Not to mention you can be lighter on governance, measuring success with a simple target such as sales growth.
Fundamentally, agile is a culture not a process. A few simple actions from leaders can encourage or discourage agility.
I've learnt I don't need to worry about what process the team use to get the job done but to simply make sure I am tracking output. I've become a better listener, prioritising the contribution of those closest to the customer, and I've learnt the importance of clearing the way for stable teams to be given delivery authority.
These are my six principles for leadership that encourage agility. What else do you think is required?
Claire Rogers is Head of Digital Strategy & Business Performance at ANZ