Recently, Agile Consultant, Enterprise Agile Coach, and Transformation Lead, Jon Ward announced the new Agile framework for non-software teams: Agile Lineout. The framework functions as an alternative to Scrum and is designed for business teams managing transformations, marketing initiatives or corporate change, and mergers or acquisitions.
While Agile Lineout is designed to operate for non-software teams, the framework was developed with the help of novice development teams. According to Ward, the idea behind Agile Lineout came from projects he ran with these development teams using tools from W. Edwards Deming’s book, “The System of Profound Knowledge,” in combination with systems theory. After seeing the progress these teams made when employing these strategies, Ward started to consider how this method could work for non-software teams as well. Ward explained, “As a coach I constantly get asked questions like: ‘I work in marketing, I don’t do software but could Agile help me?’… And so we’ve started to use it in a non-software way and it really works.”
According to Ward, he combined knowledge from his experience with development teams and Scrum Masters to then build out the Agile Lineout framework around non-software teams. “What I’ve done is try to learn from the software teams and then mirrored that,” he explained.
Agile Lineout helps non-software teams take three elements into consideration: defining and producing the outcome required, deciding how best to produce that outcome, and organizing so that they can work effectively as a team. It does this by taking tools from Agile’s software development team framework and pairing them with relevant management theory to help non-software teams better understand what they need to do.
Agile Lineout is designed in a way that makes it adaptable for several different non-software teams. Since it is rare for these kinds of initiatives to be identical, Agile Lineout operates contextually. This method enables teams to make informed decisions regarding what they need to do or change for each iteration. As the team continues, they build off of feedback from shareholders and the project adapts and transforms through the learning process.
Agile Lineout encourages teams to explore and evaluate what they must do to improve effectiveness by explaining the theories being applied to the project. This allows a team to experiment and continuously learn new things.