VersionOne & Collaborative Leadership Team Partnership Accelerates Agile Adoption

VersionOne & Collaborative Leadership Team Accelerate Agile Adoption


  • Strong partnership gets agile teams up and running four months ahead of schedule
  • Deep knowledge to help people at all levels adopt agile and lean practices
  • Extensive functionality to ensure business alignment and team collaboration


As part of a large agile transformation initiative, one of the largest agribusiness and food companies in the U.S., needed an experienced consulting team and an agile ALM platform that could help them reach their goal of getting more than 25 agile teams, across several delivery groups, up and running over a 12-month period.

The company needed assistance with constructing a plan, and coaching the teams while working with executives through the process change. Since the company was using disparate systems, they also needed one platform that could help them manage initiatives across the organization, break the work down across multiple teams and programs, while ensuring alignment with business goals. At the same time, they needed a way to foster better collaboration across the teams with different agile work styles.


The company engaged with trusted partner, Collaborative Leadership Team to evaluate how VersionOne Lifecycle could support the overall rollout plan at all levels. After an evaluation of many agile ALM vendors, the company selected VersionOne for the team’s responsiveness, as well as the extensive platform functionality that would help their teams easily adopt and scale agile across the organization.


The partners quickly engaged with the customer’s delivery teams and groups to implement the joint solution and get the company’s agile transformation started. The Collaborative Leadership Team had deep knowledge of how to apply agile principles and how to support people in adopting agile and lean practices.  And with VersionOne Lifecycle, the company gained the ability to successfully plan, track, collaborate, and report within the platform, so that everyone could have visibility into the work being delivered. In fact, one of the managers said, “The TeamRoom just blows the socks off of navigating in Rally. We needed an easy way for teams to get the information they needed.”

Working together, Collaborative Leadership Team and VersionOne were able to get all of the teams and delivery groups to a stable and productive state four months ahead of schedule.  It was fantastic to see how the consultants became trusted and well respected advisors throughout the organization, while allowing the teams the ability to be self-reliant and to continuously improve on their own.  At the same, it was great to see how people at all levels in the organization were able to start using the VersionOne and start seeing the results of a successful implementation right away.


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Connect with VersionOne at Agile2016

Connect with VersionOne at Agile2016







Dates: July 25 – 29
Location: Hyatt Regency, Atlanta, GA
Event URL:

VersionOne is proud to be a title sponsor of Agile2016. The annual Agile Conference is always exciting for us, but this year we are especially excited because Agile2016 is being held in our hometown, Atlanta!

The VersionOne Diner

If you’re planning to attend the 2016 Agile Show in Atlanta, be sure to stop by the VersionOne Diner—our booth—and get All You Can Eat Strategy, Development and Delivery. This is a great opportunity to learn about the VersionOne Enterprise Agile Platform and how VersionOne has been serving up 100% genuine agile since 2002. Also stop by the VersionOne booth to register for our daily raffle. There will be a new winner each day.

VersionOne Speakers

Be sure to check out these presentations from VersionOne team members:

Career Growth, Recognition, and Continuous Learning for

Software Craftspeople
Steve Ropa
Tuesday, July 26 – 10:45 am – 12:00 pm

In this presentation Steve Ropa will share a Software Craftsman approach, based on his experience of many years and many development organizations, to help further the learning and career development for your team. 

Intentional Learning – Map a Successful Strategy
Claire Moss
Wednesday, July 27 – 2:00 pm – 3: 15 pm

In this workshop inspired by Dan North and Chris Matt’s work in skills mapping, you will chart your own learning adventure based on where you are now, and where you want to be in the future.

A Hands-On Introduction to Exploratory Testing
Claire Moss
Thursday, July 28 – 9:00 am – 10:15 am

In this hands-on introduction to Exploratory Testing, attendees will bring a laptop, pair with a buddy, hear a little theory on test design, open a real application, and get to testing.

Purpose Driven Teams
Matt Badgley
Thursday, July 28 – 3:45 pm – 5:00 pm

This session will explore the science and power of purpose—how purpose enables engagement, improves team morale, and can improve performance. Matt Badgley will share some simple techniques that leaders and team members can use to help clarify their purpose.

Agile2016 Overview

Hosted by the Agile Alliance, the Agile2016 conference is one of the best opportunities to meet fellow agile practitioners, from all disciplines, sharing their knowledge, experience, and passion about agile. More than 2,500 agile practitioners from 40 countries are expected to attend this year’s conference which includes over 200 sessions on agile related topics spanning 18 tracks including: Leadership, DevOps, Enterprise Agile, Government, and more.

Agile2016 attendees will walk away with practical and pragmatic strategies and tactics for furthering agile in their teams and organizations.

Connect with VersionOne at Agile2016

We look forward to welcoming you to our hometown, Atlanta!

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What is Agile Leadership?

What is agile leadership?Have you ever faced one of the following challenges with your agile adoption?

  • Executive teams who want you to be agile, but still require all the traditional metrics and reporting
  • Middle managers who feel threatened by agile and seem to be working against you
  • An organizational culture that seems to run counter to an agile way of working

If you are experiencing any of the issues above you are not alone. After working with hundreds of organizations and thousands of people these are the most common themes that have emerged. Rather than giving up on your agile adoption, it’s time to bring agility to your organization’s leadership team. You need agile leadership. Let’s examine why…

In any business there are two main roles; people working “in” the business and people working “on” the business. Agile methods, like Scrum, do a great job of addressing the roles and responsibilities of people “working in the business”. For example, Scrum says that we need a product owner; someone responsible for guiding the team to build the right product to meet the needs of the stakeholders. Most agile methods however, do not address the roles and responsibilities of those “working on the business” – AKA “management”.

Some agile experts have taken a stand and said that we don’t need “management”, that we should fire anyone with a leadership title. That is one view, albeit an unfortunate one. Another view is that we need people who are fully dedicated to; planning and setting a vision, building an agile culture, and supporting those doing the work.

My colleague Pete Behrens says that “agile leadership” is the glass ceiling that prevents our organizations from becoming agile. We need to break through this ceiling if we are to build truly agile organizations.

Now that we have examined why we need agile leadership, let’s define what it is…

To come up with a definition, I first looked at the values of the Agile Manifesto ( In order to be an agile leader we need to:

  • Remember that it’s all about the people (individuals and interactions)
  • Focus our efforts on delivering business value (working product)
  • Form and respect the partnership with our clients (customer collaboration)
  • Plan and be willing to react in the moment (responding to change)

I also examined some of the fundamental principles of agility:

  • Transparency – When I graduated from college I worked for a small startup. One day they called us into the conference room to let us know the company was in dire financial trouble. At this point we were so far into the red that people had to be impacted. The owners of the company felt like they were protecting us from this knowledge. Because we didn’t know the company’s financial situation, we couldn’t do anything to help them. Agile leaders work hard to be open and honest with their communication. They make sure that all needed information is out in the open and easily accessible.
  • Continual feedback – Agile leaders abhor practices like the annual performance review. Instead of bottling up feedback and delivering it all in one fell swoop. Agile leaders provide feedback in the moment where it can add the most value.
  • Inspect and adapt – Agile leaders use retrospectives to frequently pause and examine the output of the team and the way that the team works together. These retrospectives allow for everyone to get better at a more expedient pace.
  • Embrace failure – By running short low risk experiments and “failing” we learn rapidly. An agile leader sees failure as an opportunity for their teams to grow, not something that should be prevented at all costs.

Finally, there are few practices I have learned:

  • Be a servant leader – Key tenants of servant leadership include; taking care of needs not wants, building and using influence rather than abusing power, and leading by example.
  • Focus on strengths – Agile leaders get to know their team members on a deeply personal level, which allows them to know a team members strengths and weaknesses. Rather than focus on the losing battle of shoring up weaknesses, agile leaders focus on building strengths instead.
  • Be vulnerable – I used to think that emotional intelligence meant stopping our bodies natural reactions to stimuli and choosing to react in an “appropriate” way. Now, I know that stopping and bottling up emotions only leads to health problems. Agile leaders are comfortable with expressing their emotions in front of their team. They realize that “being real” leads to strong relationships and greater team intimacy.

Combining what the Agile Manifesto, Agile Principles, and my own experience; I came up with the following definition of an agile leader…

“Agile leaders are inclusive, democratic, and exhibit a greater openness to ideas and innovations. With a passion for learning, a focus on developing people, and a strong ability to define and communicate a desired vision, they possess all of the tools necessary to successfully inspire others and become an agent for change within any organization.” – Center For Agile Leadership

Would you like to meet a real life agile leader? I would like to introduce you to Joe Kirk (, CIO at the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Joe has built a truly agile organization. A few of his major accomplishments include:

  • Shifted his departments culture from one where everyone couldn’t wait to retire, to one where everyone can’t wait to complete their next sprint
  • Built out co-working spaces so that his teams can collaborate
  • Recently hosted an innovation day that produced several promising product ideas

Wondering how you can become an agile leader yourself? Or perhaps you know a leader who wishes they could be more agile?

There are a number of new offerings coming onto the market today, such as our Certified Agile Leader® program. Also, in April 2016 the Scrum Alliance announced their new Certified Agile Leadership program, which follows a similar pattern to our program. We hope that there will soon be a convergence of the two programs, since they have the same goal in mind. To learn more about becoming an agile leader please visit http://www.centerforagileleadership

Posted in Agile Leadership, agile practices | 2 Comments