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Agile Performance Improvement: The New Synergy of Agile and Human Performance Technology



Agile Performance Improvement demonstrates the mutual benefits that accrue to the worlds of performance consulting and agile software development when the values and principles of both are blended synergistically under the guidance of practitioners skilled in both. The agile performance improvement model blends the principles of human performance technology with the frameworks and practices of Agile. The result is an approach that maximizes the value of interactions among the consultant, the work team, and the customer. Unlike traditional end-to-end waterfall processes, agile performance improvement delivers value continuously and in small increments, relentlessly focusing on outcomes of value to the customer. Building on structures of Agile that are used in software development, such as Scrum, the agile performance improvement model considers the human component of holistic solutions in establishing a continuous stream of value. Bob Winter, a performance consultant, was the product owner for a corporate education scrum when he was thrust into the role of champion of an agile transition initiative for hundreds of engineering teams. From this cross-disciplinary experience, he discovered that the two cultures, two languages, and two methodologies of performance consulting and agile software development are—far from being incongruent, incompatible, or irrelevant to each other—in fact ideally suited to complement and support each other. Being agile improves the effectiveness of the performance consultant, and applying the lessons of human performance technology improves the effectiveness of software development teams.

In Agile Performance Improvement, Winter teaches performance consultants how to apply agile principles, values, and methods usefully to the tasks of optimizing human performance in areas of practice not only adjoining but also well beyond the realm of software and IT engineering, such as corporate learning solutions, human resources systems, and non-software products. Conversely, he shows engineering teams immersed in an agile environment how to boost their performance using the principles and techniques taught and cultivated by performance consultants. The author, who has worked extensively on both sides of the traditional divide, recounts entertainingly but informatively how both sparks and fur can fly when geeks encounter people.

After reading this book, business executives, team members, agile practitioners, and performance consulting practitioners will be able to do the following:

  • Apply agile engineering practices to the design and development of learning solutions and non-software products
  • Apply the analytical techniques of human performance technology to the solution of any business problem involving human capabilities, including software development
  • Leverage the agile performance improvement model to maximize the value of interactions among product owners, work teams, and customers in any product or process area
  • Avoid the common pitfalls faced by teams transitioning from traditional work methods to agile

About the author

Bob Winter is an internal Principal Education Consultant and Practice Lead at CA Technologies, a software company of 13,000 employees. His unique perspective, supporting the enterprise Agile transformation while being the product owner for an education scrum, has provided him with opportunities to infuse education with Agile, while teaching an engineering community the importance of the human component of everything. Winter is the only person to hold both the Certified Performance Technologist and Certified Scrum Professional designations. With 20+ years of experience in large-scale instructional design and program management, he has deep expertise in all disciplines of the learning profession. He is a member of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) and the ScrumAlliance. He is the author of the It Ain't Training blog, and he tweets as @TheBobWinter.

Bob's educational background includes a BA in English from Cornell University and an MA in education from Seton Hall University. In his spare time, Bob likes to sail, run, play the piano, and coach youth sports. 

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