How Convercent Stays Agile: Open + Honest Communication

Transparency and openness, in Agile and within Convercent

If you read our recent post about Convercent’s first Hackathon of 2018, you’ve already been introduced to the talented, hardworking, and lively crew in the Engineering department. Today, we’re going to go ‘behind the curtain’ again, to explore Convercent’s core values and how they align with Agile principles.

What is Agile?

Fast, nimble, quick… well, yes, these are all words that come to mind when we hear the word ‘agile,’ but we’re talking about something a little bit different right now.

For software development teams, Agile refers to a set of practices that we use when developing a new piece of software. For our customers, the end result of that development process is seen within all of the Ethics Cloud Platform’s features and functionalities, including every new release.

With Agile practices guiding the process, we have the ability to create and respond to change. Being able to respond quickly and efficiently is important, because we’re creating within an uncertain and turbulent environment (you never know when requirements or priorities will change — it happens!).

In short, we use Agile principles as we work to solve the biggest problems our customers face each and every day. They want to streamline their ethics and compliance programs, and we want to create the tools they need to make it all happen.

Agile is based on the values and principles expressed in the Agile Manifesto:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Working software over comprehensive documentation

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

Responding to change over following a plan

 

Here at Convercent, we believe the 12 Agile Principles are building blocks for a successful, sustainable Agile journey. It’s no coincidence that these principles align with the six core values of Convercent.

Throughout this series, we’ll take a look at each of Convercent’s values and how they relate to the Agile principles and practices. While we’ll be sharing examples of how Agile is used in software development, these principles can also be applied to many aspects of business and everyday living.

Whether you’re managing a project at work, trying to improve the way you communicate with friends and family, or something else entirely, Agile applies to far more than software development and ethics and compliance software.

Open + Honest Communication

At the top of the Convercent values list, we have Open + Honest Communication:

We speak thoughtfully and respectfully. We realize the power of our words—and the power of their omission. We promise only what we’re certain to deliver and address hurdles head-on as they arise.

Transparency is a result of open and honest communication, and it’s something that’s highly valued within Agile. It sounds simple, but ‘business people’ and developers often speak different languages. Sometimes, this makes collaboration difficult and cumbersome (and can even discourage crucial conversations from happening).

Agile is one of the tools we use to cultivate Open and Honest Communication at Convercent, and two specific Agile principles play a big role in promoting more effective communication:

In practice, this means that teams talk to each other daily. These conversations are guided by our intent to stay on the same page, which also ensures we’re having crucial conversations in a timely manner.

Another practice used by Agile teams is the Retrospective, which is a ceremony that’s held at the end of each iteration, or phase of a project. This ceremony creates space for open and honest communication, and these check-ins happen every 2 weeks at Convercent. During Retrospectives, teams reflect on how things are going and discuss what they can do to be more efficient and effective. The conversations are candid, but are not about blame or criticism. Instead, there’s a constant focus on continuous improvement.

Agile practices provide a mirror into what is happening in teams and organizations, and they offer greater visibility into progress and roadblocks so that they can be acknowledged and addressed. These are two ways that Agile supports honest communication, but they aren’t the only!

‘Being Agile’ is a never-ending journey

Change is constant, and we’re always learning and adapting. That means that, while we certainly celebrate our successes, there’s always room for improvement and innovation (especially when you communicate openly and honestly).

Agile provides values to follow, ceremonies to implement, and frameworks to use, but the process of ‘being Agile’ never really ends. As we review the remaining five Convercent values as they relate to Agile, this trend of learning and adapting is something you’ll notice time and time again!