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.

Dr. Marcus Raitner

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Lan­guage is some­times reveal­ing. Tra­di­tion­al hier­ar­chi­cal orga­ni­za­tions con­sist of func­tion­al divi­sions that areas of respon­si­bil­i­ty, divide pow­er in terms of bud­get and head­count, and sub­di­vide val­ue cre­ation. Divide et impera, divide and rule, is a time-test­ed max­im since the Roman Empire, the core of which is to encour­age “divi­sions among the sub­jects to pre­vent alliances that could chal­lenge the sov­er­eign” ( Wikipedia). The result is silos whose walls become thick­er and thick­er every year due to eval­u­a­tion and incen­tive sys­tems that are based on this maxim.

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.

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Dr. Marcus Raitner

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