“My organization is super Agile!
We usually hear that Agile transformations take years –first you crawl, then you walk, later you run, and eventually you can fly.
Well, we were hungry! We were driven! We did it all in 9 months 🙂 We set a record!
The secret was dreaming big and hitting hard from the beginning.
We didn’t focus on improving processes, enhancing technology, or building an outstanding culture. Those things are secondary and they will come over time.
We hired a large consulting, adopted a well-known framework, and scaled from day one. We are awesome!”
“We are a 48-people software development shop -we build tailored software for other companies.
A few years ago, our CEO said that we should transition to an Agile style. We attended some fancy workshops to learn Scrum and Kanban. Some of us even got certifications.
One year later, we all were confused, our processes were a mix of different types of stuff, and everyone seemed to have a different point of view. We hated that Agile stuff.
Then, the CEO decided to hire a consulting company to help us. From the beginning, the consultants made some suggestions which did not make much sense to us. However, those suggestions were mandatory because that was ‘what the consultant told us to do.’
Now we had two bosses -the CEO and the consultants- and much more work to be done. In fact, learning all the tools the consultant brought was a pain in the neck. We went through that nightmare for almost 18 months.
During the Christmas party, the CEO announced a different ‘solution’: finishing the contract with the consulting company and hiring two Agile coaches. That would be ‘the Christmas present’ for all of us.
Almost from day one, the coaches pointed out why we were doing things the wrong way –and taught us what we had to do in order to be truly Agile. More meetings, more charts, more sticky notes, more mottos, more team names, and more mantras such as ‘we are awesome! we are the best!’
We are still confused though. We think that even the coaches might be confused: one of them talks all the time about scaling frameworks, while the other talks about small technical practices. One wants to send us constantly to external classes and workshops, while the other one wants us to experiment by ourselves. That tension is overwhelming for us.
As a group, it feels as if we have failed several times through four years. Are we faster? Most likely not. Are we confused? A lot. Are we tired? Yes.
However, our CEO constantly tells his friends and clients that ‘now we are an Agile software development boutique.’ Most likely that was his original goal.
In any case, if he is happy, we should be happy, too. I mean, at least we feel safe at work.”
“In successful companies, culture goes beyond free yoga classes, gourmet meals, and other perks. It’s about creating a work environment based on shared values and principles –ideas so deeply embedded in the organization’s DNA that they become intrinsic to daily decisions.
It’s about building a business where people can collectively thrive and grow.
It’s about an environment where people are driven to do good work –better work– that translates into higher customer satisfaction and better performance.
As with most things in a business, it starts at the top.”
“It is the tendency to underestimate the duration it takes to traverse often-travelled routes.”
The effect is caused by the way we allocate our attention.
The 1970s saw many inventions grow into their full disruptive force. These included the microprocessor, spreadsheets and Silicon Valley-style venture capital firms –the Valley’s top two firms, Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, were started in 1972.
The Internet, which first appeared as Arpanet under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Defense in 1969, moved to university labs, where initial problems were solved.
At the fabled Xerox Palo Alto Research Center scientists sat on beanbag chairs and dreamed up inventions like the graphical user interface for small computers and the PostScript language for printers, as well as ways to link computers within an office.
Sadly for Xerox, other more nimble companies brought these great ideas to market –the Apple Macintosh, Adobe type fonts, Canon laser printers and 3Com-style local area networks, all of which would appear in the 1980s.
(The Internet: 50+ years)
Most of the time, starting with ‘trying’ eases the way to failure.
It automatically gives us leeway or freedom to escape. It sets the stage to build an excuse in case things go wrong or to excuse ourselves in case we don’t try hard enough.
Either you make it happen or you don’t. Either you do it or you don’t.
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