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Implementing Agile, or Transforming to Agility?

Implementing Agile practices is easy:

  • (Manager to team): “You have new roles! You’re the ScrumMaster, you’re the Product Owner, and the rest of you are the team.”

  • (Manager in meetings): “And we’ll have these new meetings! You all will get together once a day to talk about your progress, and every two weeks you’ll show the product owner what you’ve done, and she’ll tell you what’s next”

  • (Manager shaking paper): “And I expect status updates via updating the backlog and the Scrum board!”

With those things in place, a team can claim to be “doing Agile” (or, at least, doing Scrum). But our goal is not to be doing Agile, or Scrum. It’s to have agility, to transform our work.

In the book “Managing Transitions“, William Bridges talks about his model of change versus transitions:

The starting point for transition is not the outcome but the ending you’ll have to make to leave the old situation behind

So while it’s easy to implement agile, the transition to agility for a team is hard:

  • (Manager to team): OK, so team, I need you to stop doing things sequentially, and instead work together collaboratively. That means stop with silos, stop doing big design up front, stop doing test last, stop digging in really deep without thinking about what the goal for the next two weeks is, and stop hiding from the team.

  • (Manager to business): I also need you to stop throwing things over the wall and handing over completed specs. We want to collaborate on the solution, so stop wanting absolutely everything as well as waiting until the very end to review.

  • (Manager to managers): And I need you all to stop assigning tasks, doing performance reviews based on individual contribution, siloing teams, and demanding detailed status updates

(And yes, it’s all relative – if the “implementing” part is hard, then transition is exponentially harder)

If transition is what you are looking for, then get in touch today!