Changing the Agile Conversation

June 5, 2013

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.

5 comments

Dana said...

So very true! People do not easily give up personal values and habits of behavior without personal commitment. Change has to take place in invisible places and be reinforces across the environment (Team and Organizational) to make change happen.

June 7, 2013 at 6:24 AM
Dave Moran said...

@Dana,

Thanks! More to come in future weeks...

June 7, 2013 at 5:18 PM
Abihu joe said...

Agile has its own concept and the world follows it that is fine enough according to what i have experienced, business agility needs to be according to that one thing which have a beautifully running way of something,

June 19, 2014 at 7:46 AM
Eun Jung said...

Thanks for sharing, nice post!
Giải mã giấc mơ thấy rắn - Nằm mơ thấy rắn là điềm gì sẽ giúp các bạn giải đáp các thắc mắc về nằm mơ thấy rắn hay cách làm gà chiên giòn cực ngon hay loai ran doc nhat the gioi hay cách làm mồi câu cá rô phi đơn giản và hiệu quả hay CMNR là gì và nguồn gốc của nó hay bà bầu có nên ăn ốc không.

July 30, 2015 at 1:08 PM

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