In my last post on Timeless Agility, I introduced a simple model that I want to use as a tool in my Foundations for Leading Agile Change course that I’m developing:
Not only do I want to use this model as a learning tool, I want this to be a tool to change the conversation. And what conversation is that?
For the answer, let’s take another look at Allan Kelly’s model of how learning organizations, lean and agile stack up from his book,
Changing Software Development: Learning to Become Agile, with the view of a project manager’s perspective of Scrum in an organization that is adopting Scrum:
Because Scrum is what is observable about agile, it is easy to conclude that Scrum is simply a series of mini-projects, particularly when organizations are just learning about Scrum and agile. It’s an outside-looking-in perspective.
This is perfectly natural. We all tend to be anchored to what we know and have experience with, and when organizations begin using Scrum people will relate it to what they do today. However, adopting Scrum (doing agile) should be considered as the beginning of a journey, a journey where the people and organization will transform to being agile – as Mike Cottmeyer pointed out in his post: Untangling Adoption and Transformation.
Scrum is only the tip of the metaphorical iceberg (pyramid in this case). This is where changing the conversation comes into play, moving away from talking about how agile relates to what individuals and companies to today to what they should be doing tomorrow to improve and remain competitive.
A series of steps must be taken that lead to transformational change, which comes from within and radiates outward. This served as the inspiration for my model, where a common set of values and principles are embraced by individuals, teams and organizations, each supporting and reinforcing each other.
The key is to always being considering what the core values and principles of agile mean to everyday work and how they can be applied to maximizing customer value while minimizing overhead and continually improving as individuals, teams and as an organization. It takes an investment in time, training and coaching to achieve true agility, but a number of benefits that come with being agile are definitely possible.
The bottom line: Agile is more than process improvement. Don’t settle for what you can see and how it relates to what you are doing today, that's too superficial. Take a closer, deeper look! You won’t regret it.