How Agile Increases Trust in an Organization

How Agile Increases Trust in an Organization

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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Trust is a concept that goes beyond the details of process improvement. However, organizations that faithfully follow the detailed steps of methodologies such as Lean, Six Sigma and Agile may find trust is a product of their effort.

The idea of trust is inherent in the original Manifesto for Agile Software Development. That document called for stronger interactions, collaboration and responsiveness rather than following a rigid plan. Agile teams are meant to self-organize and self-manage.

Tenets of Lean and Six Sigma similarly call for small teams of motivated employees to identify and eliminate areas of waste and defects in operations.

All the above relies on trust.

There are two primary areas of trust. One is between the people within an organization. The other is between those who deliver products and those who receive them, Process improvement methodologies such as Agile, Lean and Six Sigma can support creation of both.

How Agile Organizations Build Trust

In writing for the “Achieving Greater Agility” thought-leadership report from the Project Management Institute (PMI) and KPMG, consultant Dr. Rita McGrath said trust is one of the most important issues associated with process improvement methodologies such as Agile.

She called it “the biggest change from a traditionally run organization to an agile one.”

McGrath, who consults with CEOs and senior executives at companies around the world on business strategy, said trust leads to psychology safety. That, in turn, leads to faster and better decision making as well as more accurate information.

How can a process improvement model lead to more trust on a team or throughout an organization? According to McGrath, Agile provides for:

  • Making trust explicit in the team charter
  • Clearly laying out each person’s role
  • Clearly laying out what behaviors are desired and which ones are not
  • Allowing people from disparate areas of an organization to work on projects together to build confidence in each other
  • Quickly addressing any violations of the “trust norms”
  • Assessing team effectiveness with a diagnostic or survey to determine areas where work is needed

The Value of Trust in an Organization

Trust within an organization is needed between members of a team and between the team and management. This requires buy-in from people throughout the organization into the value of process improvement.

Putting the tools and techniques of process improvement into place can lead to creating a culture where trust is the norm. People aren’t afraid to take initiative. People know and meet their deadlines. Segments of a project are delivered as requested. Less time is spent in meetings.

According to the PMI and KPMG report, there are roadblocks to building trust. They can include the following:

  • Management that does not completely support Agile processes, leading to a lack of trust and commitment from employees
  • Individual team members more interested in showcasing their own work than working as a team
  • Team members withholding information
  • Managers of individual team members – who often comes from different areas of an organization – might give preference to their own employee rather than their contribution to the cross-functional team

Clearly, any of the above should come with a neon sign that warns: “This is a trust destroyer.”

Trust Between Deliverers and Receivers

The primary goal of a process improvement methodology is ensuring that every action taken benefits the customer. The final product or service for customers must be the best possible and made in the most efficient way. For any company in a competitive market, this means quickly adapting to changes and giving people the product(s) they want.

This involves trust between clients and contractors. The effect has even been researched. In a study published in PMI, researchers looked at two real-world cases that involved similar projects with very different outcomes.

Both were handled by the same project manager. Both involved delivering a product to a client located in another city. Both projects involved software. Both also were very advanced projects from clients who knew little about software and were unsure exactly what they wanted.

One project was 200% over budget and 200% delayed. The other was delivered on budget and on time. The difference? Researchers found that interaction between the project team and the client built trust on many levels – between individuals on the team, between the team and the client and between the client and the organization.

This emphasis on personal interaction and the focus on the customer – areas noted in Agile and Lean Six Sigma – created an environment of communication and collaboration that led to trust.

The same issue has been noted in public agencies. By consistently implementing process improvement, government agencies deliver services more efficiently and earn trust from taxpayers, according to GovInsider, which looked at process improvement in public agencies in Singapore.

Trust can prove to be a tricky thing to build. However, learning and consistently implementing process improvement tools and techniques can, by their very nature, gradually build a culture of trust between team members and between organizations and their clients.

The post How Agile Increases Trust in an Organization appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.

By: admin
Posted: December 28, 2018, 11:00 am

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