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The Target Dojo Experience

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 Travis Klinker, Target

At the EBA Summit this past September, Travis shared that starting an agile journey was not easy and they certainly had to practice patience. When starting Agile at Target not everyone was ready for the change. With a larger organization, it’s hard to change the mindset. The video recording of Travis’s presentation and slides can be found here.

Background & Challenges 

  • Teams of coaches supporting the entire organization
  • Traditional command & control style of work, organized & operated in silos
  • Teams would be pulled together for a project & then dispense
  • Teams rarely interacted with the real customer
  • Heavily depended on contractors
  • Dependencies across departments
  • Zombie projects within a complex ecosystem

Actions Taken

  • Dojo = result of 1 leader who wanted to improve
  • Goals (very simple) = customer value & group learning
  • Pulled representatives from each team to map out the process & identify improvements…together
  • Created scrum teams who could learn skills from each other
  • Focused & made room for personal learning
  • Provided the tools needed

Learnings & Results

  • New ways of thinking & working based off the mindset of product, lean, agile & DevOps
  • Net promoter score = % promoters – % detractors
  • A true learning culture
  • Improvements with diversity and inclusivity
  • Improved recruiting habits and hiring those with a PLAID mindset
  • A changed annual funding model – based on OKR’s and 6-month check-in
  • Quarterly planning process
  • Whole company demo day
  • Embedded in how they operate

Travis concluded by sharing that the journey did not happen overnight & encouraged patience, empowerment, persistence & finding leaders who can lead by example, nurture & support the change. Don’t worry yourself with the long-term plans, just do it!

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