Open Your Team’s Communication with Agile Audit
By Toby DeRoche
I spend a lot of time talking to people as they transition from traditional to agile auditing. Usually, we focus on the big improvements that agile auditing brings, like responding to the right risks at the right time and better alignment with senior leadership expectations. One of the secondary benefits that often comes up is improved communication within the audit team.
When I took a step back and looked at how our traditional process worked compared to the agile way of working, I was blown away by how much more interactive we become with agile auditing. I should not have been surprised, since interaction, collaboration, and responsiveness are some of the values that drive agility, but what really got me was how closed off we were with each other before. I want to give two quick examples.
Standup Meetings (or scrum meetings) are quick, 15-minute face-to-face meetings that we hold daily to talk about what you are about to work on and what roadblocks could get in your way. Seems simple enough, but the first few times through this meeting feel awkward. We are so used to sending status update emails or just working through issues on our own that the audit team does not speak to each other very much. When we invite our auditees to these meetings, close up again, and then we have to get used to speaking openly in front of them too. Once we get over ourselves, open communication adds an amazing dynamic to the audit that we have never experienced in our traditional audit world.
Retrospectives are held at the end of every audit. A retrospective gives the team a chance to speak openly together about what went well and what needs improvement. In our old ways, we rarely, if ever, spoke openly about what we could have done better. Instead, most shops create a very formal, stressful, and dreaded review for each team member. These performance reviews are often demotivating, especially when managers have not been trained properly to develop and deliver this type of feedback. Instead, by focusing on continuous improvement as a team, we motivate the team, focus them on making the entire group better, and build a team atmosphere where people free safe and heard.
Just the Tip of the Iceberg
The two examples above are just the start. When we fully embrace the agile mindset, we commit to open communication as a team, and with the people we are auditing. We invite auditees to kick-off meetings, daily standup meetings, weekly sprint reviews, and close-out meetings, but we engage with them as partners in the audit. The risks and controls we are auditing are to help them effectively mitigate the risk, not to perform a gotcha exercise. By reframing what we do and how we do it, we build a collaborative environment where internal audit reaches the coveted role of trusted advisor.
Help Transforming to Agile Auditing
Sometimes it can still be challenging to transform without a little help. You can now receive a free Agile Audit Transformation Blueprint for your organization (valued at $5,000) and a two hour bonus call with Toby DeRoche when you register in the Certified Agile Auditor Professional® (cAAP™) course.
Agile Audit Resources:
Agile Auditing: Lessons Learned for Successful Implementation
Agile Audit: Best Practices for an Easy Transition
Internal Audit Discussions: Making the Shift to Agile Auditing
Agile Auditing - Rethinking the Audit Plan for Financial Services Organizations
Focused Agile Audit Planning Using Analytics
Making the Mindset Shift to Agile Auditing
Certified Agile Auditor Professional® (cAAP™)
Receive a free Agile Audit Transformation Blueprint (valued at $5,000) and a two hour bonus call with Toby DeRoche when you register now in the Certified Agile Auditor Professional® (cAAP™) course.
Agile Audit: Transformation and Beyond
Agile Auditing: Transforming the Internal Audit Process
Agile Auditing: Fundamentals and Applications
Auditing at the Speed of Risk with an Agile, Continuous Audit Plan