You will find the Agile community is a very sharing one, it’s very giving of it’s time and advice. Sometimes I wish it wasn’t. Sometimes I feel like if Agile consultancy was a MS licensed term then large enterprise IT departments would have shelled out for it already and the constant debate over whether Agile can work or not would not need to be had.
At my current company we partner with ThoughtWorks. I use the term partner lightly as I’m sure they would consider me and my department very small fry for the amount of money we have spent with them, but I have to give them credit there have been plenty of freebies and extras. It’s my experience that the individuals who work there give of their free time as well as the organisation as a whole.
I’ve included free consultancy as a topic in my Agile Australia 2011 series because I think it’s a really important tip that anyone embarking on an agile journey, big or small, begins to tap into the agile community, the earlier the better. It was easy for me as an ex-Thoughtworker to know what might be out there in terms of training exposure and services, but there are numerous local interest groups, internet interest groups and even groups on professional platforms such as linked in that can be a good source of information to the newcomer.
If you chose wisely to attend Agile Australia 2011 you will know that the place is lousy with agile consultants and they are all desperate to have a chat with you. This is a unique opportunity to mull over your real problems and obstacles with them, all for the price of a stimulating conversation.
And when you are ready to embark, on your first agile pilot project for example, you can get loads of value out of even short stints in coaching quite cheaply considering the difference they can make to moving you along the agile maturity path. Moreover it will put you in touch with a whole network of experts and information that could benefit you.
Another benefit of getting consultancy exposure whether free or paid? Your people get to interact with bright vibrant people who are brimming with new ideas.