The ‘sushi train’ approach to Agile

Exciting things are happening at Uniting where Agile has become the new buzzword and sushi is a popular dish!


At Uniting, we provide services in aged care and disability, community services, and chaplaincy and we get involved in social justice and advocacy issues that impact the people we serve. We are 8,000 people driven to be there for others, who use our skills so that together we can confront society’s most complex problems in new and creative ways.

The pace of change in our sector is rapid and we need to hold true to our foundation and our strengths while being open to embracing and driving change, innovation and growth with conviction and compassion. We are a person-centred organisation and we believe that change can happen over a cup of tea and a chat, as well as in the halls of government.

So we’re embarking on our agile journey, one conversation at a time. It starts by sharing our Agile Playbook, which explains the agile mindset, sources of inspiration and our ‘sushi train’ approach to agile adoption. We help people identify what they’re already doing that supports agile values and explore if they’d like to shift the dial a bit further. So the conversation turns to current challenges and agile practices that might help. In this way, our service delivery streams are starting to use visual management boards, time-boxed meetings and regular workshops to bring more focus and collaboration to their work.


Erica, a manager in Home and Community Care had so many meetings, her teams couldn’t get to her and even getting to the bathroom was difficult!  She created a wall and started morning power meetings for each team.  The outcome? Engaged and energised teams that collaborate daily and often fine tune their approach in the spirit of continuous improvement.

Our IT projects are now planned based on scrum principles, so we’re forming cross-functional teams and breaking down our work based on business priorities, using JIRA to manage our work.

Even our IT Service Desk is embracing agile practices. Our field technicians dial in weekly to share updates, team priorities and upcoming work, which is now managed in JIRA.  Blockages are more visible and dealt with faster and the technicians feel more team spirit. Annette, our Service Delivery Manager encourages others to have an open mind about agile; “just get started and you will quickly see the benefits”.

You see, transforming into an agile workplace is not like choosing dishes from an a la carte menu. The meal is not planned in advance, then cooked and delivered piece-by-piece. Rather, it is a sushi-train… The conveyer belt of agile practices are selected based on our interest and appetite at the time. And things are already starting to look and feel different. It’s truly an exciting place to work where everyone’s contribution matters!

This guest post was written by Cherie Mylordis from Uniting. To learn more about Agile, visit the AgileAus hub.

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