Choose Your Own Agile Adventure: A Holistic Vision of Business Agility
Having led or assisted on multiple whole-organization Agile Transformations, I know it can be a difficult road to navigate. There are many flavors of Agile, each with their own dictionaries of common Agile terms, often in conflict with each other. Agile coaches can give you widely different advice. And on top of this there are different levels of experience throughout the organization, so some employees are overwhelmed while others are bored.
Are you struggling with your Agile Transformation? Have you ever rolled out a new technology or a new practice that worked great for one team but fell flat with another? Do you have some teams that just aren’t getting any better? You’re not alone.
The reason is psychology. Some organizations and some teams aren’t ready. Others, like Icarus, fly too high, too fast, and crash and burn. In my practice I started noticing an overlap, between the Agile landscape and a 40-year study on human social evolution I had been exploring. Now, several transformations later, I can show you how to spot the patterns, and engineer your own Agile Transformation.
In this workshop we’ll walk through and self-assess your organization across 4 levels: Team Value Delivery, End-to-End Team Alignment, Data-Driven Market Analysis, and Culture/Mission. We’ll use a simplified form of an assessment tool called the Agile Transformation Roadmap that you can take with you as a way to plan your own Agile Transformation adventure.
Outline/Structure of the Workshop/Game
NOTE: Significantly updated 8/16/2019.
Example slides and video were from an early, information-oriented session.
- Slide show of the background research and 4 main areas of focus.
- Printed 1-page Agile Transformation Roadmap assessment tool for participants to fill out, and a spider-graph-style visulatization radar of the current state of their organizations, highlighting key areas of potential growth and focus.
The Problem (5 minutes)
After outlining the problem with a few quick interactive, electronic polls, we acknowledge together that the Agile landscape is vast and complicated.
The Research (5 minutes)
To frame the discussion, I’ll introduce a concept that almost everyone is familiar with, but they don’t know how it applies - Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. We walk through the research behind the Hierarchy and expore the theory of Spiral Dynamics. (For those who want to learn more, I refer them to the easier-to-understand book “Reinventing Organizations” by Frederick Laloux.) In the rest of the session we use this framework to explore “spaces of awareness”.
Team Value Space (5 minutes)
We’ll walk through a series of questions in six categories: Design, Planning, Development, Testing, Operations, and People. The goal is to assess team empowerment, possessiveness, and fighting to be seen can stand in the way of team performance. Some teams are so overwhelmed that they can’t see beyond their own backlog. They’re focused on proving themselves and getting recognition. They need to be empowered so that they can let go of the fear of not feeling valued, and begin to see the larger picture.
End-to-End Alignment Space (5 minutes)
Here we walk through the same six categories, but focused around collaboration between team members. We will assess how well teams are able to look beyond their own team and align to organizational goals. Being able to participate in a hierarchy and in collaboration with others, while sometimes having to set aside their team needs to help another team, is a vital skill in the social growth of human beings and Agile transformations.
Data-Driven Market Analysis Space (5 minutes)
Then we’ll look through the lens of the third sphere of awareness and challenge our beliefs. We may all be aligned and in agreement, we may not actually all be right. We can build a fantastic delivery pipeline, but if nobody uses what we deliver, our organization will grind to a halt. As with human evolution, scienfitic enlightenment is a critical next step in organizational growth.
People, Culture, & Mission Space (5 minutes)
Lastly we’ll look at the six cateogries with a stronger people focus. Teams with the ability to self-challenge their own assumptions start to awaken to the effects of psychology, culture-building, and emotional awareness. Through objective reflection, teams are able to implement effective, long-lasting culture programs, usually by joining a world-wide cultural movement.
Spider-Graph Radar (5 minutes)
After assessing the 4 levels, we’ll do a little math and map out the six categories within each of the 4 levels on 4 spider graphs to form an Agile team health radar.
Choose Your Own Adventure (10 minutes)
We’ll then physically move within the room and divide up into four spaces for brainstorming: Team Space, Alignment Space, MarketData Space, and MissionCulture Space. Participants will choose their area of most-needed attention and spend 10 minutes at flip charts brainstorming different techniques to raise their scores in one or more of the six categories.
...comprehend why teams might be struggling
...design an agile tranformation action plans
...map multiple possible techniques teams can try
...outline techniques teams may or may not be ready to use
...plan out their next step towards deploying a practical Agile Transformation
Executives, managers, internal coaches, PMOs, and HR managers
Prerequisites for Attendees
Familiarity with the Agile landscape, and the many flavors of Agile, though you definitely do not need to be an expert in them all.