Practical Advice for The OpenAgile Framework

The following is the final piece in our Agile guest series from Paul Heidema, Partner & Vice President of Training and Development at Berteig Consulting.

OpenAgile is one of the newest Agile frameworks, much younger than Scrum. And it is one of the Agile methods that is most applicable to many industries and environments outside of IT. It has been used in mining, sales, training, non-profits, and even information technology. Even though OpenAgile is simple in its framework, it is difficult to do well. Here is practical advice to take your OpenAgile transformation to the next level.

The OpenAgile Institute wrote the OpenAgile Primer. I will add some comments and tips to the introduction section.

“OpenAgile is an approach to doing work that is both practical and principled.”

It is practical in that it has: a single role (team member); and two powerful meetings (engagement meeting that gets the team to reflect, learn and plan on a cycle; and the progress meeting that helps to create unity of vision and action each day). OpenAgile is also principled in that it is based on three foundations (truthfulness, consultative decision-making, and systematic learning), which keep the framework grounded.

  • Practical advice: look at using OpenAgile as a learning framework that accelerates the team's ability to learn, adjust and improve upon itself, each and every week. Connect the day-to-day activities to the three foundations. For example, while accomplishing a simple task ask yourself or your team members “Are we being truthful to each other about the challenges that this tasks represents?”

“Anyone doing work that needs to be organized, effective, and quality conscious can use OpenAgile.”

OpenAgile can be easily applied to almost any kind of work. I have even seen it being used to complete a turkey dinner for a family.

  • Practical advice: Consider using OpenAgile as a way to organize vacations plans and other types of work that you need to get visibility, unity of vision, and collective action. Since OpenAgile only has a single role (the team member) it is very easy for people to join in on the work with little to no overhead. When using OpenAgile, think of each person as having that allows the team to accomplish its goals regardless of their individual years of experience in a particular field.

“OpenAgile enhances the ability of individuals, teams, and organizations to deliver value to their stakeholders by developing human capacity, improving processes, and, most importantly, encouraging rapid and deep learning.”

The focus of OpenAgile is deliver value to whoever cares about the team's work (the stakeholders). This focus is also supported by building up the skills and capacities of the team members.

  • Practical advice: add learning in at the start of each team meeting. Ask a question such as “What new skill, process or capacity have we adopted in the last few weeks?” Look for and encourage all opportunities to share understanding and ability with your fellow team members. It is also beneficial to ask those that are asking for the valuable work to list what they have learned with the team. This will help to keep learning and improvement as a critical endeavour for the team and the organization, which directly improves quality and customer satisfaction.

“We hope that you will find OpenAgile a useful, exciting, and revolutionary approach to working.”

Individuals that take on using the OpenAgile framework see learning, collaboration and visibility as quick wins.

  • Practical advice: use OpenAgile as a lightweight method. If it becomes heavy or challenging, you may be doing it wrong or getting too deep into details. Help your team members to take on some of the responsibility of advancing the process and the value delivered.

OpenAgile is lightweight, simple, and effective. It has the three foundations (or principles) deeply embedded in it to keep the team and organization focused on noble goals. Many organizations have seen great value in using OpenAgile such as Suncor, Equitable Life, and Myplanet Digital. Connect with these organizations to learn how they are learning and improving. Good luck!

Many thanks to Paul Heidema of Berteig Consulting for writing this fantastic series for us!





Written by

Steph Brown

Steph Brown

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