Who is talking to who?

A successful agile project depends upon open channels of communication. Unfortunately this is all too often usually between different parts of the organisation that do not have a track record of talking. Getting a conversation between the business and IT can be a challenge, especially when the two sides don’t really know each other. The trouble is that when we roll up at a client we don’t really know who knows each other – what channels of communication are open and what are closed. what is the reality that the organisational chart doesn’t show (if you can get the org chart – not so long ago I worked with a client whose org chart was inaccessible – it was password protected on their intranet).

Social Network Analysis is a useful technique for identifying and visually representing the way that individuals are connected within a social structure. It can be as simple (does Jack communicate with Sarah) or complicated (is Jack a casual acquaintance of Sarah or a trusted friend). I’ve a feeling that when we first start working with a client who is new to agile, there should be an element of “organisational readiness” that would include SNA to identify the channels of communication. I’ve been playing with Agna as a tool or doing this, and am looking for others to play with.

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