Reinventing Organizations for Agility

Reinventing Organizations for Agility

Excited to share slides describing the latest evolution of my story (at the Toronto Agile Conference). I talk about how we may dare to create environments where Agile may flourish so we have Organizational Agility. This requires reinventing organizations. My message is really simple: If you want Breakthrough Results Cultivate Culture to Create Places People Love to Work Start with Yourself. Visually … Slides for Reinventing Organizations for Agility Reinventing Organizations for Agility from Michael Sahota...
Structure of Kanban, Energy of Scrum

Structure of Kanban, Energy of Scrum

One of my clients was struggling with Kanban vs. Scrum as a starting place. They really like the energy of Scrum: teams, collaboration, learning but from a workflow perspective needed the adaptability of Kanban: urgent requests, different ticket types, able to change direction quickly. This happens when the management and culture is there but there are too many short-term needs and/or external dependencies. This is not new for me. I have been helping clients with this situation for the last few years – finding a comfortable hybrid between Scrum and Kanban. What is new, is that I finally made a drawing that summarizes what the flow looks like. Hope you enjoy it. Planning The left side of the diagram illustrates what typically happens with most Agile teams I work with. It doesn’t matter whether you are using Scrum or Kanban, teams usually benefit from: Sense of purpose (vision) Inception Deck – this will save hours or days if you have a month long project. Skip at your peril. Stories (or tickets) Effort estimates (Story Points or S, M, L) Rough plan (backlog) – here it is depicted with a form that matches the structure of the work – by feature area what we do now, later and even later. Ability to make forecasts on work In the diagram, artifacts are in dark green and activities are in light green. Doing This diagram shows a physical board that helps teams collaborate to get work done. It is essentially a Scrum Board that where the team uses a single story pull model instead of a sprint batch model. One big difference is that...
Agile 2015 Video Interview

Agile 2015 Video Interview

Olaf Lewitz and I were interviewed at Agile 2015 on coaching and helping organizations become more adaptable (anti-fragile) through safety – leadership – trust. I am really happy how well it turned out....
My Journey: Agile, Culture & Transformation

My Journey: Agile, Culture & Transformation

It has been 3 years since I wrote “An Agile Adoption & Transformation Survival Guide: Working with Culture” to help the Agile community increase success in spreading Agile. In this video, I share the highlights of what I have learned. Some of it is around thinking tools such as the Laloux Culture Model and some of it is around my inner journey to reach a place where I can really help people and organizations. My goal is for you to take away some practical tools as well as inspiration for your own...
People Over Process

People Over Process

Here is the latest version of my “People over Process” slides that are about coming back to the heart of Agile: People – to unleash astonishing results. It covers: Intro – People over Process. Agile = Culture. Whole Agile. Focus on People: Vulnerability, Authentic Connection, Safety & Trust (VAST) People-centric organizations (Laloux Culture Model) People-centric Change People over Process (Agile & Beyond) from Michael Sahota You can also see earlier version of slides and video summary....
Manager’s Journey: Awareness, Epiphany, & Choice

Manager’s Journey: Awareness, Epiphany, & Choice

Delighted to share the slides from my and Soo Kim’s presentation at Spark The Change. Summary An insider’s account of a manager’s journey of cultural transformation. How our beliefs and assumptions radically shifted. How we found the courage to fully see what is there and accept it.  Being vulnerable enough to speak our truth to allow new options to emerge. Developing the boldness to choose them. The Journey Slides Manager's journey from Michael...
Enterprise Agile or Agile Enterprise?

Enterprise Agile or Agile Enterprise?

There is a huge world of difference between Enterprise Agile and Agile Enterprise. They are both valuable and accomplish very different things. Enterprise Agile Enterprise Agile addresses the question – “How can we use elements of Agile to improve typical corporate environments while staying within the existing paradigm of traditional (Tayloristic) management. This is Orange level in Laloux Culture model. In the diagram we see that traditional management practices are in part replace by Agile ones. In this case we are adopting Agile practices and may well have small pockets of Agile culture as well. SAFe is a good example of practice adoption. We typically see a very structured approach to orchestrate activities that are all about top-down steering and control. Scaling Agile The industry term Scaling Agile is about how can we scale Agile practices to support the Enterprise. It is essentially Enterprise Agile that is focused on adoption in large-scale environments. In contrast, Agile as a mindset or culture is about a way of being and does not require specific practices to scale. Agile Enterprise With the Agile Enterprise the we are evolving an organization that is very adaptable and resilient to change. Anti-fragile is a good description for this type of organization. In the Laxoux Culture model this would be represented by Green or perhaps even Teal levels. In an Agile enterprise, there is leadership at all levels. The people who are closest to the work are the ones driving decisions. Here we replace top-down control with a clear organizational purpose, shared values, visibility and trust. Since everyone is contributing to the shape and direction, the results are emergent....
Agile Culture –> Self-Managing People

Agile Culture –> Self-Managing People

Four years ago, I argued that Agile is a Culture System focussed on Collaboration and Cultivation. We may build on and refine this understand to see that Agile points towards a higher level of organizational consciousness and the benefits that come with it. In particular, Agile is about valuing people and setting them free to deliver. The Agile Manifesto & Principles Let’s use the Laloux Culture Model as a lens for understanding the Agile Manifesto. If you haven’t read about this yet, it is fantastic – go read it now – otherwise this post will not make much sense. When we colour code each of the manifesto statements to match various stages of consciousness we get: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools (Green) Working software over comprehensive documentation (Orange) Customer collaboration over contract negotiation (Green) Responding to change over following a plan (Teal) We see that the Agile manifesto is a mix of ideas from different levels. Agile Principles Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. (Green) Welcome changing requirements, even late in  development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage. (Teal) Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale. (Orange) Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. (Green) Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done. (Green) The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation. (Green) Working software is...
Culture is the Core of Your Organization

Culture is the Core of Your Organization

Culture is at the core of your organization. Everything in your organization informs culture. And vice-versa: culture informs everything in your organization. Here is an illustration: Culture is at the Core Culture = “How we do things around here to succeed” Each element is the above diagram intimately tied to your organizational culture. Let’s consider each in turn: Leadership: Who is allowed to lead change in your organization? Is it just managers or is anyone allowed to initiate a change program? Management: What are managers expected to do? How are they expected to behave? Are they elected by staff? Org Structure: Is there a hierarchy that shows importance and power? Roles: Do people have clearly defined roles that limit how they can contribute? Can people easily create new roles to meet new business needs? Systems: Are these chosen to serve business needs or to reduce costs and standardize? How do they enforce or limit behaviours? Policies: What rules do we have for people? How much do we trust them to make good decisions on their own? Processes: Are our processes designed to support the needs of customers and staff? How much process (rules) do we need? In what areas? Unwritten rules & norms: What are the sacred cows and taboo subjects? What is acceptable behaviour? Identity: How do we see ourselves in relation to the organization’s purpose? Values: What are the stated values? How well does this reflect what actually happens? Behaviour: What we say and do is the most concrete manifestation of culture. How we think about ourselves and our organizations will show up in every single meeting. Not only in how...
Culture Change: Reinventing Organizations

Culture Change: Reinventing Organizations

The following infographic adapted from Frederic Laloux’s Reinventing Organizations shows: A path for reinventing your organization. The reason why management and workers need to care. Culture Change Model   The infographic shows that greater trust and consciousness leads to higher engagement and better results. Better results is proven out by case study after case study. As organizations develop from one stage to the next, they develop a more human approach that leads to greater trust. The Teal stage is shown as separate since it yields dramatic benefits and represents a paradigm shift from conventional management thinking. Please see: Laloux Culture Model for a description of each of the stages of development. The Reinvention Path Increased success requires that we focus our efforts on developing organizational trust and consciousness to foster engagement. We may consider how our existing processes, structures, and behaviours support or reduce engagement.  We may measure engagement scores to see if we are on the right track. A good place to start is by understanding where we are today: is the way our organization functions mainly Orange stage, Green stage or somewhere in between? When we inventory different areas of functioning (See P. 237) , what stage are we at? It helps to do this without judgement. Where we are is where we are. It’s a fact. Not good, not bad. We may read through case studies in books or other business literature to inspire us to desire a different future and give us ideas of what experiments we wish to run to move us in that direction. My suggestion here is to start with small experiments. We need to take small steps so we may...
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