Blog by Chris McDermott, Agile Coach here at RoS
On 9 May an ad was posted on our intranet asking for volunteers who had “fresh ideas, willing to offer feedback, make suggestions and challenge current practices” that would like to be part of a new mapping group that would be tasked with taking forward the ‘capture once’ principle. Capture once, as a principle, is being adopted across RoS to reduce duplication and encourage the better capture and reuse of digital data. After receiving a great deal of interest 9 people were initially chosen from a cross section of departments including Reports, Plans, Transfer of Parts, Post Registration Enquiries, Registration Practice Team and MapBase Maintenance.
Ways of working
After an initial introductory meeting the group got together on Monday 26 June unsure exactly what lay in store for them. The week started with a dive into the theory behind ways of working, the philosophical thinking behind traditional organisational structures and why these views are no longer fully suitable for modern organisations. Undeterred by references to Plato and Descartes the team then started to explore newer ideas and the reasons why we are looking to change the way we work and adopted new practices. Looking at examples from the airline industry and organisations like Toyota, Pixar, Gore as well as the military, to name but a few, the team began to explore how they could adopt these new approaches here in RoS.
The group also spent time speaking with other teams across RoS to understand how they had put these principles into practice. Speaking to teams in IT development, registration, Transfer of Parts and the Innovation Centre, the team saw real examples of how these ideas could be used, and started to form their own thoughts on how to put them into practice.
Along the way the team were getting know each other better but we also added in some team building exercises to help. A crucial component in working in a more collaborative way is that we strive to build a high trust environment and there is no better way to start this than by first displaying trust in others yourself. To do this the team shared stories of their careers to date adding in personal aspects of their lives along the way.
How could we make it better?
After this the team settled down to begin answering the crucial question… “How could we make it better?” How could the team with the experience and expertise it has find a better way of working guided by the ‘capture once’ principle. Using a retrospective practice commonly seen in the Agile development world the team started thinking:
- what should we stop doing
- what should we start doing
- what could we do more of
- and what should we do less of
- recognising what we do well and should continue to do.
After almost 2 days of intense and focused discussion the team came up with 23 experiments to run as we bid to further the ‘capture once’ principle.
One key aspect of an experimentation based approach that the team focused on was the need to be data driven, to use data to validate our hypothesis. We believe that it’s this data that will guide us to improve in the most effective manner.
The team are now settling down to the hard part: running the experiments and finding out how we can do it better.
As an Agile coach I often get the chance to bring together groups of people to form new teams and teach them about new ways of working. However rarely have I seen a group take to these ideas with such gusto and when asked how to improve things approach the challenge with such passion and energy. Hats off to the team, I’m sure they’ll produce many great things and learn tons more along the way.