Agile Culture and the Agile Enterprise: A Flux7 Case Study

Agile Culture and the Agile Enterprise: A Flux7 Case Study

By Flux7 Labs
October 1, 2019

For many organizations, becoming an Agile Enterprise is a transformative experience and Flux7 is no different. Today we continue our series on the Flux7 journey to become an Agile Enterprise, with a focus on culture. (Don’t miss our earlier articles on the role of OKRs and Flatarchies.) As with other parts of our journey, we have learned many lessons along the way, (and will continue to learn) as we embrace continuous improvement as a core part of our Agile Culture.

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When it comes to building an Agile Culture, our approach is not to reinvent the wheel, but rather to use proven patterns under the Agile umbrella from highly regarded thought leaders in the Agile community. We favor pragmatism over process, with our team members using Flux7’s Agile DNA along with a repeatable, pragmatic approach to produce exceptional results and extremely satisfied customers. While that sounds great, let’s boil it down into tangible elements of how we got here.

We hire for an Agile mindset.

As Agile is primarily about an attitude of embracing change and continuous improvement, if one isn’t open to this perspective, then they are not a good fit for our Agile Culture​. Conversely, those who are open to this approach thrive at Flux7. Our Talent Acquisition Team interviews for this mindset and a match to our core values (more on that in just one minute). As a Flatarchy, candidates are interviewed by peers who also explore cultural fit in their conversations with potential hires. While we understand that not everyone has worked in an Agile Enterprise before, we ask behavioral questions that uncover a candidate’s ability to learn and thrive in an Agile Culture.

Agile supports our core values and vice-versa.

At Flux7, we have three core values: Humbleness, Transparency, and Innovation. These core values and Agile create a virtuous cycle where they feed off each other for positive results. Specifically:

  • Humble:​ Being humble is the recognition that nobody is perfect all the time, neither you nor your peers. At Flux7, we recognize that there is always room for improvement. In fact, we see it as a prerequisite to learning! Our Agile Teams exhibit humility to create a safe, welcoming ecosystem that is the genesis of trust and continuous improvement that allows us to better serve our customers.
  • Innovative:​ At Flux7, we seek to innovate our way through challenges, whether they be technical or non-technical. We value an innovative mindset that continuously asks, “how can I/we do this better?” and then shares those ideas with others. Agile allows us to create innovative solutions. For example, by implementing automation and advanced services with our Enterprise DevOps Framework, we are able to innovate for the benefit of our customers.
  • Transparent:​ At Flux7, the single biggest determinant of individual success is the amount of transparent dialog you have with the rest of the team. Agile offers frequent questioning and course adaptation that relies on transparency, which allows us to ask questions of each other, in turn contributing to a deeper understanding of the “why” behind what we do. The net is greater success for our Customers.

It all starts with onboarding.

While Flux7 has many tools and processes in place to help facilitate an Agile Culture, employees’ first Flux7 experience is with onboarding. We assign new employees a buddy that helps guide them through daily work responsibilities and introduces them to other members of the team. This designated buddy is a member of the same team and is a resource to answer questions and assist the new hire in gaining a deeper understanding of the Flux7 culture.

In addition, we have several sessions with the new teammate their first and second week at Flux7 to explore how Flux7 operates, how to fuse with those values, and how to think Agile. We do this so that team members can step into their role confidently and safely.

Following the onboarding process, employees are paired with an accountability partner, or mentor, for longer-term guidance on reaching goals, growing as an individual and professional, and positively influencing peer groups.

Lead by example.

In audit circles, they talk about the “Tone from the Top” in setting corporate culture. However, as a Flatarchy, we are all responsible for “walking the walk” and for holding ourselves accountable. For example, if you want feedback, you have to give feedback. As a guiding principle, it’s key to lead by example.

So many ways to continuously learn and improve.

People learn in many different ways and at different paces. And, we have a diverse set of employees with some new to Agile and others who have worked with it for years. All of these influences mean that we offer a wide swath of ways to learn more about Agile, incorporating it further into our corporate culture.

  • Agile Certifications – This voluntary class is taught by Flux7’s resident Agilists who break Agile down into four discrete workshop classes. Focused on taking Agile from idea to practice, classes help teammates gain an understanding of Agile to then change their mindset and put that mindset into practice by being Agile. The curriculum of the five classes results in Flux7 Agile Certifications in areas such as the Agile Value Stream and Working with User Stories.
  • The Flux7 Overdrive Library – For those who prefer self-paced, informal learning, Flux7 offers the Overdrive library that is stocked with Agile titles. (For additional background, read our blog, Flux7 Library Drives Culture of Learning, Sharing)
  • Feedback – Another terrific way to learn and improve is from those we work with. As experts in different areas, and with different experiences, we all can offer a lot. At Flux7, we give feedback for the benefit of the receiver aiming to help others grow and receive feedback as a learning opportunity. We strive to create a safe environment for feedback, for it is how we learn and improve.A key way we create that environment is with feedback training that is focused on where, when and how to give feedback, in order to create a safe zone for feedback. The recorded notes for this training are one of our most accessed resources and underscores one of the things we’ve learned along the way: As our company grows, more feedback training is needed to ensure feedback is given gracefully and received as intended. The ultimate goal of feedback is to create a plan for improvement (e.g. next time I’ll try “x” for greater productivity) or ensure that all is well with the employee (e.g. I’m lethargic today because my son was up with an earache all night but I’ll be full-force tomorrow).
  • Individual Coaching – Sometimes nothing can replace a one-on-one session with PeopleOps. In these cases, we gladly schedule a time to help a teammate better understand the Flux7 culture — of which Agile plays a significant role — and ask as many questions as they need.

With a focus on consistent, ongoing learning, each of these vehicles offers yet another opportunity to learn and further embody an Agile Culture.

Corporate culture is comprised of values, behaviors, and practices. At Flux7, these come together to enable us to be more Agile, humble, innovative and transparent for our customers’ benefit. While agility may seem antithetical to stability, an Agile mindset provides a strong foundation to navigate a quickly changing landscape with a feeling of steadiness and ease.

Are you interested in rapid learning and fast decision cycles enabled by being part of an Agile Enterprise?  Join the journey with us:

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Written by Flux7 Labs

Flux7 is the only Sherpa on the DevOps journey that assesses, designs, and teaches while implementing a holistic solution for its enterprise customers, thus giving its clients the skills needed to manage and expand on the technology moving forward. Not a reseller or an MSP, Flux7 recommendations are 100% focused on customer requirements and creating the most efficient infrastructure possible that automates operations, streamlines and enhances development, and supports specific business goals.