How to be agile: 5 key takeaways from the Mode 2 event

Blog by Laura Brown, Social Media Manager at Registers of Scotland.

What is Agile… and how can you implement it in your organisation? These were just a few of the questions raised at the latest Mode2 Meetup, hosted at the Registers of Scotland’s (RoS) Edinburgh offices at Meadowbank House.

Mode2 Meetups are monthly discussions in central Scotland which focus on IT innovation within large companies. There’s a friendly, relaxed atmosphere in which attendees discuss technological changes, organisation and creativity.

Jamie Stewart, systems developer at Standard Life, did a quick introduction for the 55 attendees before, Scott McLear, senior digital manager at RoS, opened the event. ‘Tonight marks the fifth Mode 2 Meetup and we’re proud to be able to host it here at Meadowbank House.’


The two speakers for this session were Tom Meade, digital director at RoS and Greg Urquhart, founder of Agile 4-12. Both focused on Agile methodologies, how to implement them in an organisation and how productivity can be increased by altering processes.

Here are five of the key takeaways from the evening.

  1. Understand Agile before you implement it. ‘People will tell you their framework is Agile when it really isn’t,’ Greg says. ‘You have to understand what Agile means for you and your company’ before you set the processes in motion.
  2. Is your team too busy? Then think about introducing Agile. ‘If your guys are run off their feet, you’re never going to get anywhere,’ Tom explained. So, he ditched the best practice approach the team were using and switched things up with Agile.
  3. Simplify your organisation. It’s time to consider splitting your organisation or teams into smaller chunks, and disregard the idea of the traditional hierarchy. ‘If you stop thinking about your company as a hierarchy and start seeing it as a graph, you’ll understand where teams are dependent,’ Greg explains. This means that, by identifying the dependencies, they can be reduced or removed which allows teams to move towards being more fully Agile.
  4. The Kanban can. Tom Meade, digital director at RoS, came against some resistance when he first introduced Kanban boards to his team. ‘But what started to happen is that we slowed things down and got more done. We finished work. And we could do a lot more with the same number of people.’ This manifestation of tasks on physical tickets is used in teams across RoS, allowing them to visualise their workload and see how it’s progressing.
  5. Make your team multi-skilled. There’s no point trying to make your organisation Agile if the people aren’t. ‘Your team should be polyglots over specialists,’ Greg says. This will give your organisation the flexibility to respond to a variety of tasks with autonomy.

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