Effective Solutions Through Partnership

Category Archives: Healthcare

5 Steps to Building a Successful Agile Development Culture

Agile, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Corporate Training, Healthcare, KAIP Academy, Learning, Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Sacramento, Scrum, Training, Waterfall, Workforce Development

By David Kendall

Software, and for that matter, product development of any kind, has historically been described as a conflict between three primary constraints: Time, cost, and quality.

The missing component to this description is the labor, i.e. the people involved throughout the product development lifecycle: There is a business need identified by the customer, an analysis is required to be completed by an analyst to convert the business need into a product solution, an engineer needs to convert that conceptual solution into some type of prototype which is then tested by another engineer or analyst, and finally an implementation specialist needs to ensure that risk has been mitigated to an acceptable level to present to the customer. Oh, and let’s not forget the customer needs—to experience business value once that product begins production—especially when evaluating the cycle success criteria.

All steps towards building a successful Agile development culture, including those outlined below, require that people be involved, engaged, transparent in communications, and aligned in their expectations.

The irony is that the conflict between time, cost, and quality cannot be optimized unless the culture that the people involved are working in empowers each of them to do their best work, to be accountable for their actions, and to do it in a timeframe that delivers business value throughout the product development lifecycle.

Rigorous application of the Agile principles and values through culture development is a powerful approach to empowering your workforce to do their absolute best work. Below are some of my tips to building a successful Agile development culture in your organization:

Step 1: Decide why (and when) you need Agile Methodology. The “why” part is straightforward: Agile will help you deliver your organization’s highest priorities faster—and more efficiently—than the conventional waterfall methodology. The overall Agile approach eliminates the need for finishing a project or product completely before moving on to the next iteration or dependent deliverable, allowing you to be more flexible with your input and output processes, and facilitating activities in shorter time frames that are much better suited to anticipating and mitigating changes along the way.

Agile methods work best when you are looking to break development down into small increments to shorten or skip up-front planning and design review processes. These small increments or sprints, as they are known in Agile circles, are typically set in one to four-week periods.

Step 2: Set goals for your organization that are compatible with Agile Methodology. If you don’t need the project or product urgently, then Agile methods should not be necessary. Of course, defining what is urgent isn’t always easy—especially when mission-critical operations or contractual obligations are factored into the schedule. Regardless, goal-setting can only be successful with disciplined and prescriptive analysis in hand. And ranking the highest priorities for your organization requires real-world experience as well as well-trained support staff.

Step 3: Equip and empower your Agile Methodology team. Once you have decided that you are going to use Agile Methodology and set the goals that it will help you achieve, you need to equip and empower your staff with the training and tools necessary for them to be successful. For example, investing in Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM) training for the members of your project management and product development teams ensures a common understanding and the practical application of a rapid-process development cycle, which will pay dividends in the form of production efficiency and time-savings.

Remember, KAIP Academy offers Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM) training courses! For more information or to register your team and take them to the next level, click here.

Step 4: Establish performance metrics and review your Agile Methodology practice continuously. Agile Methodology is designed to drive processes efficiently. Sprints are designed to help teams work collaboratively. Scrum teams are designed to create learning opportunities for individuals to prepare them to adapt to change—quickly. All outcomes from the Agile activities should be measured to ensure that the organization is optimizing the investment of training and tool sets on a continuous basis.

Step 5: Promote Agile Methodology with your staff, clients, and within your vendor community regularly. With purposeful planning, policies, procedures, and processes, Agile Methodology will become an integral part of your organization. By adding thoughtful and regular communication—promoting and reinforcing of the rapid-process development cycle principles and benefits—to both internal and external stakeholders, Agile Methodology will also become a pillar of your resource planning, new business strategy, and partnership programming. In short, it will become an integral part of your culture.

For more information on putting Agile Methodology to work for you, check out the following links:

Values and the 12 Principles of Agile
Agile Model & Methodology: Guide for Developers and Testers

When not to use Agile

About the Author: David Kendall is the President and Managing Director of KAI Partners, Inc. A Senior Information Systems professional with 30 years of experience leading Information Technology (IT) program and project teams focused on enterprise-wide solutions, Mr. Kendall began his career as a member of the United States Air Force working in Electronic Warfare. With an honorable discharge and a degree from the University of Maryland in Information Systems Management, Mr. Kendall moved into the Health and Human Services sector performing roles with increasing responsibility and complexity within the health care field. Mr. Kendall’s current work includes advising one of California’s health care agencies as a Senior Project Manager and Program Integration Manager.

Best of the Best Practices: Round 2

Best Practices, Communications, General Life/Work, Healthcare, Human Resources, Information Security, Onboarding, Technology, Training

Best of the Best

By Sarah Walsh

It’s that time again! We’re sharing with you the best of the best practices that we’ve found around the Internet recently. Get up to speed on some of these newest trends to make sure you are continuously improving.

3 Training and Onboarding Best Practices from Bloomfire
The process of onboarding can always be improved—these best practices are worth trying out the next time you have employees to onboard.

Nine best practices in healthcare IT governance from Modern Medicine Network
The latest and greatest tips on ensuring your healthcare operation’s “leadership, organizational structures and processes to ensure that the organization’s IT sustains and extends the organization’s strategies and objectives” are up-to-date.

Internal Communications Best Practices [INFOGRAPHIC] from KAI Partners, Inc.
A shameless plug, sure, but these basic, yet necessary communications tools are good reminders the next time you communicate with a supervisor, colleague, or employee (so, within the next 5 minutes?)

Best Practices for Securing Your Organizations from Internal Data Breaches from WinMagic
Protecting your business against data breaches is a must. Start with these quick tips and then remember, KAI Partners can help you build an information security plan. Just contact us at info@kaipartners.com.

15 Ways to Stay Productive Over the Summer from Grammarly
As summer nears its end (say it isn’t so!) these best practices can help you stay on track to make sure you continue to be productive these last weeks of summer.

What are some of your best favorite practices? Share them with us in the comments!

About the Author: Sarah Walsh has nearly a decade of communications experience, including public sector roles in the California State Senate and State Assembly, as well as private sector roles for a sovereign Native American tribe and a global pharmaceutical company. In addition to communications work, Sarah and her husband are team captains and fundraisers for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s annual Walk MS event. When she’s not writing, editing, or soliciting her friends and family for MS Walk donations, she loves performing improv, hanging out with her husband and 5-year-old daughter, and cooking. Follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahsykeswalsh.

Top 10 Healthcare Industry Influencers to Follow on Twitter

Communications, Healthcare, Twitter


By Stephen Alfano

The healthcare industry is pervasive. In fact, few sectors in the world have as much of an impact on our everyday life as the business of monitoring and mending health and well-being. Not surprisingly, this all-encompassing economic endeavor spurs billions of stories, sound bites, and stats on social media each day. So, who has the patience to sift through this vast, never-ending stream of tips and intelligence? No one does; which is why I humbly offer this shortlist—10 of the most influential healthcare industry “Tweeps” to follow, to help you stay on top of healthcare industry trends and talking points.

@CarlaKJohnson – “Journalist covering health care and medical research for The Associated Press.”

@scotthensley – “Writer and editor for Shots, NPR’s health blog.”

@medicalaxioms – “… an academic hospitalist who shares medical axioms, aphorisms, & wisdom …”

@RichDuszak – “Seeking better ways to put the care back in healthcare.”

@WTBunting – “Advocate for improving #healthcare w/#bigdata #mHealth #digitalhealth #pophealth.”

@mithackmed – “Our mission? Hack healthcare. Break it down, build it up, make it better.”

@JosephFitchett  – “doctor and Knox fellow @Harvard – cofounder @GHFilm – previously @LSHTM_TB – reflections on tech, infectious disease, epidemiology, & antimicrobial resistance”

@jvolmink – “Helping to make our world a happier and healthier place. My motto: There’s no them, only us.”

@WhoseShoes  – “Catalyst for change in health & social care. Creator of Whose Shoes? Coproduction tool helping people work together to improve lives.”

@helenbevan – “Chief Transformation Officer NHS Horizons Group”

About the Author: Stephen Alfano is a Organization Development Consultant and Communications Expert. He has over 20 years experience in leading and managing internal and external marketing initiatives for both private and government sector clients. His résumé includes providing both new business and business process improvement services to Apple, American Express, AT&T, California Department of Transportation, Chevron, Entergy, Levi Strauss & Co., Louisiana Office of Tourism, Mattel, Microsoft, Novell, SONY, Sutter Health, and Wells Fargo. Stephen currently works as an Executive Consultant with KAI Partners, Inc., providing change management and communications expertise and support services to California State Departments.