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Intrapreneur Academy: Agile Quarter Recap

Last week’s workshop on What Our Customers Need and Want wrapped up the Agile quarter for the inaugural Intrapreneur Academy cohort. Following the workshop, the cohort had a lunch and learn session with Collective Data, a company working on their own Agile transformation, and held a group retro over the entire quarter.

What Our Customers Need and Want — Nate Adams

The morning’s workshop on addressing customer needs was facilitated by NewBoCo’s Agile Coach, Nate Adams. During the workshop, teams worked through exercises designed to help them communicate more effectively and efficiently with their customers.

Learning objectives:

  • How do we know what our customers actually want?
  • How can we ensure that what we’re making meets our customers’ expectations?
  • How do we work with our customers to prioritize our work?

Frustration between businesses and customers or partners often comes from a misunderstanding about priorities. Agile methodologies emphasize ruthless prioritization, but in order for this prioritization to work, every one needs to be on the same page about what the priorities are. The exercises in this workshop helped teams learn how to communicate these priorities more clearly and effectively.

Lunch and Learn — Collective Data’s Agile Journey

Over lunch, the leadership team at Collective Data, a data management company located in NewBo, joined the Intrapreneur Academy cohort for a panel discussion on their company’s Agile journey. Collective Data partnered with NewBoCo’s Agile team a year ago to transform how their company worked. Since then, they’ve adopted a variety of Agile methodologies throughout their company and work with NewBoCo’s Agile team on a regular and ongoing basis to ensure that they’re continuously improving their products and workflow. After a brief introduction to the Collective Data leadership team, the cohort asked numerous questions about the successes and struggles Collective Data has faced on their Agile journey.

The Quarter in Review — An Introduction to Retros
After their lunch session with Collective Data, Nate Adams facilitated a retrospective meeting (retro), for the cohort over the entire Agile quarter. While this may have been new to some in the room, this is standard procedure at NewBoCo. One of the ways many Agile methodologies ensure that teams receive the feedback they need to adapt as necessary is by holding regular retros. In a retro, the team has a very candid discussion about what went well, what went poorly, and what can be done now to change course for the upcoming sprint. The cohort gave feedback about the different workshops, tours, and additional opportunities that NewBoCo will use to improve Intrapreneur Academy in the future.

While a majority of the workshops during the Agile quarter focused on changing each team’s mindset, teams also came away with practical changes to the way they work that are already making a difference. For example, most of the companies are meeting more regularly, with more “wins” and more trust amongst their team members. They’ve also made their work more visible to increase transparency and communication.

The teams also went on an immersive tour of Geonetric, another company using Agile methodologies in Cedar Rapids, and attended EntreFEST, a two-day conference celebrating the Midwest’s entrepreneurial and innovation communities.

Next quarter, the cohort will focus on Methods, or how to take their new Agile mindset and put it in action. Teams will have more hands-on workshops with Mandy Webber, NewBoCo’s Director of Innovation, David Tominsky, Managing Director of the Iowa Startup Accelerator, and Luke Hohmann, CEO of Innovation Games. They’ll also go on more immersive tours at local innovative businesses, and work as a group to make progress on their innovation journeys.

Due to the amount of interest in Intrapreneur Academy, we’ll launch a second cohort in October. If you think your company could benefit from this year-long, in-depth training program, please contact us at Spots are filling up quickly!

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