AutoVIN’s Agility Transformation Journey

On November 28th, 2012, Freddie LoweHarish PaiJeremy DibbleJohnathan WatkinsJulius HamelbergKirsten ErwinMark NoyceRick Fouts, and Sherry Westfield shared AutoVIN’s Agility Transformation Journey (as a Planbox hosted webinar). See AutoVIN’s Transformation Journey: Integrating the Spirit of Agility and the Letter of Agile and AutoVIN’s Agile Transformation Case Study: Questions & Answers for more!

AutoVIN, The Automated Vehicle Information Network, a subsidiary of ADESA, provides professional field information services, including vehicle condition reporting, inventory verification auditing, program compliance auditing and facility inspections using advanced computer technology to process data accurately and deliver actionable results in a timely manner.

To further fuel its success, AutoVIN ventured into an agility transformation focused on honing its product discovery & delivery capabilities and achieving greater agility, which involves every facet of product & project management, product engineering, user experience, architecture, etc. The webinar showcased the transformation journey from the various perspectives and offered specific actionable lessons learned that you can leverage in your own transformation.

The journey was fostered by a crucial executive team (John BartleyGary Watkins, and Joshua Greig) and involved coaching from Si Alhir (@SAlhir). The artwork presented is by Brad Barton (@Brad_Barton).

— The whole webinar hosted by Planbox is available here (with the Q&A) or you can view snippets below. —

Who is AutoVIN?

The participants introduce AutoVIN…

01-20121128AutoVIN-Who(click figure to enlarge)

Why Agility?

The participants describe AutoVIN’s motivations…

02-20121128AutoVIN-Why(click figure to enlarge)

The team emphasizes that Agility is more than mere techniques (User Stories, Time-boxing, Stand-ups, etc.); even when not everyone shares your same sense of “urgency” (regarding Agility), you can still be Agile; and even with the additional nuance of “major change”, the belief in “what’s possible” can ignite a transformation journey.

With the objectives of maximizing what’s possible, capitalizing on one another’s contributions, and further integrating the Is into a We, AutoVIN ventured on a transformation journey towards greater Agility (a value system that emphasizes people, results, collaboration, and responsiveness)!

The Journey

The coach describes the transformation approach…

03-20121128AutoVIN-Approach(click figure to enlarge)

Value is always about Results in Context. How do we discover what is of Value (given the Context)? And how do we delivery that Value (as a Result in that Context)?

The Journey: Discovery

The coaches describes Discovery…

04-20121128AutoVIN-Approach-Dis(click figure to enlarge)

In discovering Value… What is the Vision? What is the Roadmap? What is the Justification? Is it Viable? Do we have the Vitality?

The participants share their experiences and recommendations concerning Discovery…

05-20121128AutoVIN-Disc(click figure to enlarge)

The team explores how crucial it is to decompose the notion of Value, organize the work around Value, incrementally approach delivering Value, and even after-committing you may discover you need to further decompose.

The team explores experiencing “fear” (as we make “commitments”) to confirm that we are being “liberated” and that missed commitments must be handled in a positive manner so as to not create hesitance in future commitments.

The team then explores the importance of swarming to foster focus and confidence to “deliver faster”!

Discovery involves Business and Technology aligning and appreciating one another, being ware (perhaps even “afraid” but “committing” and experiencing fundamental human dynamics to foster “ownership”), and gaining the confidence to struggle together.

The Journey: Delivery

The coaches describes Delivery…

06-20121128AutoVIN-Approach-Del(click figure to enlarge)

In delivering Value… We prepare, execute, and implement! We define, co-create, and confirme Value!

The participants share their experiences and recommendations concerning Delivery…

07-20121128AutoVIN-Del(click figure to enlarge)

The team explores how “agile is not just software development, it’s a whole culture shift” (for the team and organization)!

The team explores the power of collaboration: “it’s not about ‘are we done yet’ but ‘how much work can we get done'”; “agile is about collaboration” and “it is hard work” but a “worthwhile endeavor”; “it is through that collaboration that we can stop doing ‘defect tracking’ and ‘resolve issues’ and reduce ‘rework'”; “trust everyone on the team more than I ever trusted before”; etc.

The team explores how “we were moving at a much quicker pace than others using traditional methodologies” and the importance of “grooming” and adapting as we progress.

Delivery involves Business and Technology achieving clarity regarding Value, collaborating with confidence and trust (to confront the struggle and change perspectives) while being considerate of one another, and balancing the tensions between Business and Technology around Value.

The Journey in Summary

The participants share their overall experiences and recommendations…

08-20121128AutoVIN-DisDel(click figure to enlarge)

The team explores how “business is influenced by economic conditions … but sitting above all of that is culture”!

The team explores the impact of Agility: “This was my first agile project, when I started the journey, I thought this is just another way of developing software, but now I think it is much more than that”; “change can propagate to multiple layers”; “management has to let control go … development team has to take ownership … and the feedback mechanism is very important”; “we had to struggle for the reward; we are moving faster and get to see the results of it too”; “the functionality we collaborated most on was most successful … and complete”; etc.

Transformation is a journey towards greater ownership fostered by questioning everything! Transformation involves death and re-birth!


What makes this journey unique? AutoVIN’s journey integrates the letter of Agile with the spirit of Agility!

What makes AutoVIN unique? AutoVIN is very much the goose that laid the golden egg (see Wikipedia for more)! And to such a goose (that is stressed to lay the golden egg), attention is the most basic form of love!


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