What's Happening

Mexico Adopts Lean and Agile Thinking

Learning about the Lean and Agile process was awesome! It was great that we were able to see on paper each and every single part of the process. We do these so naturally every day that we don’t even acknowledge them. 

I also found it very interesting identifying the parts of the process that some of us do differently! It was outstanding how our heads were on the same channel and were all bringing ideas together at the same time.

I was incredibly impressed when I got to see clearly on every sticky note and arrow, parts of the process that are simply unnecessary. There is so much we can get into order to adjust the process and provide much more efficient services so everyone on the team does what they have to do.

I know this is just the beginning of a learning and adjustment process but I am confident and pretty enthusiastic that this will work since it involves EVERYONE and everyone’s ideas are able to be shared and listened making each person and important part of the development of a new set of processes.

- Alejandra A

Using Lean and Agile in Germany

The Lean and Agile processes our team has learned can be applied in our decision making, project and process structures, and lead us to results faster. We can get a team together to Brainwrite on different situations to answer any given question by having the group vote on the ideas they feel best answer the question. This process helps us to discover new ways of doing things faster and more efficiently. 

We have used the Lean and Agile approach to develop new teams, who are able to find out what is important for us to function. These team have been able to identify where the red flags are, how our processes be streamlined, and help us reach for higher quality of work and if a specialized, dedicated team is needed for the process. 

All team members are “heard” even the ones who don’t typically speak up in a group which is strengthening our team structure. All colleagues are involved in the change process and thus get empowered to drive decisions. Motivation rises and all colleagues are involved in the process.

Using the Lean and Agile approach is opening our eyes to old structures and leading us to question them. We are finding more efficient and innovative ways of doing things by questioning these structures. The whole process has helped us to move forward as an active and creative team to stay on top of development and be conscious of what will benefit our clients. As a result we are saving time on administrative work, and using it to better service our clients.

- Corinna T

Germany's Service Design with a Sprint

Our team in Germany recently embarked on their first Lean and Agile project. The team was challenged with designing and implementing a dedicated team to manage the delivery of a new service in order to drive efficiencies.  By creating a small but mighty mini-sprint team comprised of just a few individuals (Tilli, Viola, Miriam, Verona), they were able to accomplish the following in just 2 separate 1 hour sessions:

  •  Identify over 50 ideas about benefits, challenges, and questions related to the new V&I team in a 5 minute brain-writing session
  • Layout the current V&I process as it exists today (iteration 1) as well as a first-pass proposal of how the new team will manage files and interact with their DS counterparts (iteration 2)
  • Identify points of redundancy or potential confusion that will need to be addressed in future iterations
  • Create a team spark wall to house new design ideas as they come up

 The team did an amazing job designing a high level MVP which will be layered upon, and were FEARLESS to dive in and put “just enough” information on the wall to get the process going.  Tilly & Viola also did a great job explaining their work to the whole office in the first Show & Tell in Frankfurt.  Up next, the team will redesign their value stream map (iteration 3) and start designing internal communication tools to support the new team and process and get input from other team members as appropriate.  Very impressive work in just 2 hours!  This is the real Dwellworks Experience.

- Max D.


Legal Gets in on the Fun!

The Lean & Agile process is an incredible tool that is being used throughout the entire company – including in the Legal Department! 

The legal team participated in a “Brain Writing” exercise recently, so that we could initiate the creation of a Compliance Roadmap. Using many multi-colored sticky notes, we came up with quite a list of categories and related tasks that will require our attention in the coming year and ultimately allow us to manage risk and continue to comply with client, government and corporate rules, regulations and requirements.

We thought it was great to have all of our thoughts presented in one place. Mapping everything out on the walls and poster boards really helped us identify issues, organize tasks and plan our next steps. It was also helpful to collaborate with members of our leadership team and receive feedback from them on the areas they felt should be prioritized. Overall, this process has gone well and has been a great experience – we look forward to using other Lean & Agile tools in the future!

- Shelley M

Taking the Chill Out of Property Management Winterizations through Lean & Agile

During the colder months, our Property Management team bravely weathers  (pun intended!) a series of winter-related property issues ranging from burst pipes to damaged roofs.  This year, they are utilizing some newly learned Lean and Agile tools to proactively develop a Winterization Strategy to be ahead of the season.

Here’s a quick peek at a tip they successfully used to approach this challenging season:  

  • The team got together to Brain Write everything that comes to mind when working on the issue, including the good, the bad, and the ugly
  • Next, they conducted a dot-vote to determine the most critical issues
  • Then they started building a series of process maps on the wall using the "iterative technique" - where ideas are put up on the wall as quickly as possible, and then those ideas are evolved and approved upon through quick bursts of activity.

With the help of these tools and a collaborative, fantastic group dynamic, the team covered much ground quickly and is armed with a plan and new tools to successfully battle the winter weather this year!

Process Change Flow Wall

One of the great things about the Dwellworks Experience is that we are getting BIG and VISUAL when it comes to thinking about our processes.  One of the tools we are utilizing is our Process Change Flow Wall. This allows the entire team to see new ideas generated through our Spark Walls, review recaps of each submission, monitor what projects are next and see the details of the process enhancement projects that we are currently working. There is also a section to monitor the results of all of our completed projects. We've put this wall in the center of everything so that associates can what we've done, where we're going, and how we're performing. By keeping everyone informed , anyone can give their input. 

 - Rob C.

Putting Concepts into Practice

We are obviously still learning our way when it comes to being a truly agile organization and we are making strides, but I am continuing to be amazed by the “little things” that we are using to help us get more efficient in our daily work lives. We are starting to see a lot more Post it Notes covering the walls of meeting rooms and teams are utilizing the Brain Writing tool to get ideas up on the wall.  This is allowing all voices to be heard and the teams are much more likely to leave that meeting with some solid ideas to start building off of.  I think I even saw a team self-form a project team using our Fab 5 concept.

These are just small examples of the ways we are working to become more efficient, but there are significant in that they provide real life examples to the larger organization of how effective these tools can be.

 - Rob C.

How does a team know what to pick first?

We just wrapped up the second week of Sprint One – and we have finally started to organize around the first few projects to tackle, as well as created a backlog and a road map. The backlog has all the future projects we plan to tackle. We will be sharing more info soon (what the first few projects are, how’s this going to work?, etc.) – but in the meantime, in case you’re wondering how the team chose where to begin, here were a few of the items the team thought would be important to consider….