top of page

Q&A with Agnieszka Cieslawska

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Agnieszka Cieslawska, Agile Coach

How could you describe your career path in a few words?

Determination has driven me in my journey to become an agile coach. When I began working, I didn't have a clear career path, so I took on any opportunity that came my way. This allowed me to gain experience in various areas, helping me develop my skills and knowledge. Eventually, I found my way to the role of an agile coach.

My career has been a mix of different experiences, such as sales, office management, and corporate projects. These experiences provided me with a variety of tools, insights, and skills. In sales, I learned to anticipate customer needs and adjust my approach accordingly. I also learned how to build a strong team from seemingly competitive individuals. Working on corporate projects, including an IPO, taught me that no task is impossible. With hard work and dedication, you can overcome any challenge.

Collaborating with c-suite leaders gave me a deep understanding of organizational dynamics and how systems work together. A pivotal moment in my career was a conversation with a visionary business owner who encouraged me to explore agile methodologies. Taking the Scrum course marked a turning point, leading me to a deeper understanding of efficiency, effectiveness, and predictability.

My approach is based on the PDCA cycle: observe and plan, execute, check, and iterate based on feedback. I am committed to helping organizations adapt to the changing world of business.

How do you think agile practices have transformed companies over the past two years?

Over the last two years, the world faced many challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, a chip shortage, extreme weather, policy changes, and new technologies. These events showed how important it is for businesses to be adaptable, customer-focused, and innovative to stay strong.

Adaptability: Quickly responding to change is crucial for a business to survive. It means always trying new things and making improvements, following the PDCA cycle for smart decisions. Many companies are using this approach to handle uncertain times.

Customer-Centricity: It's vital to understand and meet changing customer needs. By focusing on customer satisfaction and using Christensen's Jobs-to-be-Done theory, companies can create solutions that really solve customer problems. They are increasingly seeking and using customer feedback in their strategies.

Innovation and Creativity: Agile principles encourage innovation through trying new things and making changes. Continuous learning and a commitment to getting better help organizations create unique products and services. Companies are fostering a culture of creativity and innovation to stay competitive.

Clear Goals: Having clear goals is like a guiding light during crises. Following goals and using Lean principles for efficient delivery and validation makes a business stronger and ensures lasting growth. Companies recognize the importance of setting clear goals to steer their operations during tough times.

The past two years brought big changes to global business. By embracingadaptability, customer-centricity, innovation, and clear goals, organizations can successfully navigate and thrive in the ever-evolving business landscape.

What successful cases of agile transformations have you had the opportunity to observe that have particularly stood out to you?

The transformations that hold a special place in my heart are those in which I had a hands-on role, witnessing the untold stories of passionate individuals and their ingenious approaches to work. Transformation, for me, is an ongoing journey of striving for excellence. The real magic lies in those small steps that, when combined, make a significant impact.

I vividly recall my first encounter with Agile at a company where our goal was clear: launch that website. Facing product obstacles, pressing deadlines, and a small team, we had to pivot and adopt a fresh strategy. We stepped back, aligned our assumptions, and crafted a plan for daily experiments. Visualizing our work on boards and screens helped us stay organized. Daily meetings kept everyone in the loop, promoting teamwork and allowing us to tackle issues right away.

Another memorable experience was introducing Agile, specifically Kanban, to a non-tech team—fashion designers. We sparked their curiosity and, working closely with their leader, found ways to organize their daily tasks. The pizza Kanban game was a fun way to introduce workflow management, keeping everyone motivated and on track.

In my experience, making lasting changes isn't about orders from the top; it's about creating urgency and ownership among individuals. As Kotter rightly said, "Change requires a burning platform," a dissatisfaction with the status quo that drives people to find better solutions. By enabling teams to drive their transformation, Agile has unleashed its transformative potential, propelling organizations to success.

Will agile practices continue to generate interest? What challenges do you see in the context of deploying these practices?

As we aim to improve our companies and products, everyone's talking about "agile," but sometimes it's a bit confusing. I believe that if we stop using fancy words and start doing things, people will stay interested in agile practices.

Let's keep it simple – why do we need agile? It's like finding our way through a complex world using practices that are still important: adaptability, customer-centricity, and delivering solutions to customers.

However, I see some challenges.

  • Applying the basic values of the agile manifesto and its 12 principles is a true challenge, as many of us haven't had a chance to understand them deeply.

  • Overcoming resistance to change is another hurdle – some people are used to doing things the old way, and without showing them the urgency, they won't be following new ideas.

  • It seems like the agile community is buzzing with new interpretations of how it's best to work with Agile2, FAST agile, and scaling methods. These could be adopted to solve not the real issues and might, in effect, do more harm.

  • The biggest challenge is using agile wisely to truly benefit our teams and customers, not just throwing the word around without understanding it.

  • We also need to address challenges like integrating agile with existing processes and adapting our skills to this new approach.

So, let's keep things simple, understand the basics, and make sure our journey of improvement is successful. By navigating the complexities of our world with agility, we can make meaningful progress.

174 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
Subscribe for us to keep you updated with our latest articles

Thanks for subscribing to our newsletter !

© 2021 Trusted Magazine (by Trusted Advisors Group)

Subscribe to our newsletter

bottom of page