I am fortunate to be a part of few agile transformations, it has been exciting and challenging to witness successful but also unsuccessful transformations. It creates strong myths and beliefs of agile and acclaims failure for n’ number of reasons. I would like to tease some agile concepts, widely applied in conjunction with many frameworks. Gartner’s research on the agile maturity states, it is subjective how companies respond being asked on their agile maturity, usual answers are ‘we are agile‘ has been found a completely different business benefits and organisational impact, compared to a low-agile-maturity organisation who say ‘we do agile‘.
From the awakening fact of sustainability in ever changing and disruptive world, usually companies steer their strategies to cope the change. And fall into agility for rapid or faster product offerings, with a belief as a lever for acceleration to get an upper edge over competitions and disruptions. It is impactful especially when the big tech giants like Google, Amazon and Apple are diversifying into other businesses rationalising their need of reinventing themselves. All seems the right reasons to invest in a big change and apparently begins the marathon of transformation, attaining their new future, and are inclined towards adapting the most perceived silver bullet, doing all things the agile way!
I guess, believing it is the better way to transform for real, it might as well for some companies. Customer become the focus and therefore begins the most interesting journey of finding renewed ways of working. Lots of interesting, diverse ideas are put thru, newer processes, change implementations, people and structural changes and few experiments if possible!
The well established operational processes start appearing inefficient, time consuming, expensive and wasteful, sometimes this also includes people and their skills.
Viral communications, sometimes theatric, making change visible and audible, hiring consultants and coaches, forming working champion groups, building training modules etc. From then the idea starts taking shape into problem solving, by replacing the old with new!
Consultants and coaches then introduce multiple new frameworks and concepts like Scrum, Kanban, Lean, Systems and Design thinking, human centre design, journey mapping etc. Hence a reason for this blog to express my gentle disappointment.
Although, I do understand there is an immense value in those concepts, however in the tidal wave of changes, not every shiny tool is needed IMO, there will be times and can be more impactful when appropriate, especially when you are dealing with large corporates.
Here is when I think it’s starts slipping off, when some of these concepts does not make a good fit for purpose and attracts criticism, ‘agile is all about BS’.., it only has jargons, not working concepts, and wasteful ceremonies …blah blah..!
1. Being Lean and agile is not the ultimate answer for the organisational transformations. being mindful of the purpose and the problem is key. Validating ideas that are still true and holds value! will it help achieve our goals on the journey, test your hypothesis as often as possible drive by data and metrics.
2. Agility is about responding to change with adequate ability and approach to implement change/s fast enough to fulfil the need. Be creative and stick to your context and own your transformation.
3. It’s not only about processes and tools by falling in the trap of standardisation, develop them to be efficient, end-to-end. for e.g. ‘Customer Support shall use JIRA for tracking customer calls’, why! Let their teams figure out appropriate tooling suitable for their needs. Build a mechanism to provide customer feedback in a meaningful way and address their pain points at earliest, build a backlog for future solutions.
4. agile ceremonies – embrace new values, and principles, practices and benefits . Consider ‘Shu-Ha-Ri‘ the stages of learning, might put things in order. Be Patient, sometimes it will take time to see value coming thru, do not prescribe them!
5. Kata and Kokoroo tools for Innovation, I think it should be treated as a usual business, and lives everywhere, everyone and everyday! creating such environment to embrace it can become the main driver of disruptions over time, and sadly it is seen to be ignored, Isn’t innovation is the heart of agility at the first place!
While I am not saying whether it is right or wrong, I am inclined towards being more pragmatic than purist to make things work effectively in their very context.
I believe at the same time we are fortunate to have such incredible challenging opportunities to create learning organisations and have ability to learn, guide and help them in need. Helping people working for such organisations could be our small contribution towards making this world a better place, isn’t it!
Shri is an pragmatic agilist, working as an agile coach and passionate about bringing people together for a purpose and to work as one unit for their purpose. Focused to deliver customer eccentric business outcomes. Also a critical thinker to tailor solutions within given constraints and context. Sharing the goodies of agile way of doing things learnt from others and experiential learning. Lean thinker. Love the concept of learn fast and move on to working solutions. Also a believer in people being the most essential part of the whole equation involved in building great products.
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