The Agile Transformation: Think Big, Start Small, Learn Fast

For your agile transformation you have to think big to break up silos, but at the same time start small to learn together.

Think Big

With­out tack­ling this struc­ture and the under­ly­ing max­im, agili­ty will silt up with­in these silos. The small agile project with­in a divi­sion will hard­ly make a big dif­fer­ence, because the divi­sion itself is only a tiny part of the val­ue chain and there­fore the feed­back on the work of the divi­sion, which is so impor­tant for agili­ty, is only avail­able at the end of a long series of handovers.

Source: Geek & Poke

Start Small

There are no blue­prints for an agile orga­ni­za­tion and no mas­ter plan for trans­for­ma­tion, no mat­ter how con­vinc­ing the promis­es of the respec­tive con­sul­tants sound. The attempt to impose panaceas and seem­ing­ly proven mod­els on one’s own orga­ni­za­tion leads straight to car­go cult hell. Not because the blue­prints and mod­els are fun­da­men­tal­ly wrong or bad, but because they are not the result of shared expe­ri­ences. Agile trans­for­ma­tion is and remains a joint learn­ing jour­ney.

A jour­ney of a thou­sand miles begins with a sin­gle step.

Laozi (Chap­ter 64 of the Dao De Jing)

Every orga­ni­za­tion must devel­op a suit­able mod­el step by step in the course of the agile trans­for­ma­tion. An agile trans­for­ma­tion can­not be con­ceived on the draw­ing board and then exe­cut­ed by legions of change man­agers. Instead, it devel­ops itself in an agile man­ner from an ini­tial Min­i­mum Viable Prod­uct (MVP) through numer­ous inter­me­di­ate stages, the val­ue of which can ide­al­ly be proven with suit­able key per­for­mance indi­ca­tors.

Source: Henrik Kniberg

Learn Fast

If you want to spare your agile trans­for­ma­tion this dead end, you are well advised to hang the role of the chess mas­ter on the hook and act more like a gar­den­er. The goal must be to cre­ate a set­ting in which a suit­able agile orga­ni­za­tion­al mod­el grad­u­al­ly emerges from the coop­er­a­tion of self-orga­nized teams. This joint learn­ing process can­not be short­ened by blue­prints.

Peo­ple don’t resist change — they resist being changed.

Peter Sen­ge

How­ev­er, learn­ing can be accel­er­at­ed through shar­ing and net­work­ing. Read­i­ly shar­ing expe­ri­ences and knowl­edge, espe­cial­ly out­side your own silo, is cru­cial. A pro­gram like Work­ing Out Loud can help here, but the role mod­el of lead­ers is cru­cial. As long as every man­ag­er con­tin­ues to put his or her own busi­ness in order, there will be no fruit­ful exchange of ideas and infor­ma­tion hid­ing and cov­er your ass will remain the norm.

Agile by nature | Rebel without a pause | Working out loud | Author of

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