I believe, at the end of the day, agile is a moral imperative.
You get people wrapped around the axle that if you’re not agile, then you’re not cool. And we’re going to have our agile transformation … Why?
Well, you have to be more agile. Why? The more you dig deeper into this you find that it’s a belief system. What we’re talking about here are three key components. I’m going to share with you three things, three things that people talk about, and it’s going to help you understand where all of this passion and all of this energy and all of these dogmatic fights come from, and the first one is ultimately, at the end of the day, when we talk about agile, it’s deliver early, deliver often. Deliver early, and deliver often. That’s the point.
The point is to get more value into the system. Unfortunately, that’s really hard to do, so we need to empower self-organizing teams, tap into the talent, harness unleveraged, unutilized, awesomeness. By delegating more and giving your people more support to get the jobs done. Unfortunately, they’re not ready. They are not ready for new degrees of discretion and new degrees of initiative and control, and so you’ve got to start with where you are, with what you’ve got, and just inspect and adapt and get better.
That’s how I like to articulate the three key pillars of what this agile thing is. But when you take a second pass through, it starts to take a different color when you think about deeper principles. So when we talk about deliver early and often, delivering early and often is about getting people what they paid for. It’s overcoming that contract negotiation to customer collaboration and getting value out the door in today’s modern competitive world where things can’t wait.
And so you hear a lot of businesses talk about business agility. This is what they’re talking about. They’re talking about getting what they paid for. And empowering teams, this is another depending on who you ask, agile’s all about teams. Why? Because empowering self-organizing teams is about treating our people with respect. You know, in order to work here, you’ve got to have a masters degree, 5 industry certifications, 10 years of experience, pass a gauntlet of 10 interviews, be the best out of 100 person… so it makes sense that as soon as you get here, we’re going to give you a babysitter micromanaging your every move?
This is about respect, and that is a moral mandate. And unfortunately, people, they’re just not ready for all of the sudden being treated like adults. Or all of the sudden, being given more initiative and control over the work they’re doing, so you’re just going to have to start where you are and inspect and adapt. You’re never done growing and getting better. You know, if you’ve ever read The Innovator’s Dilemma, it’s a fantastic book. Here’s the dilemma. Well, everything that we believe to be good management and good management practices fundamentally gets in the way of those good companies surviving disruption.
So whatever you think you’re good at today, it’s not good enough for tomorrow. Inspect and adapt and get better. And so, you start to see this, this isn’t about a methodology, about you know, sprints and back velocity. It’s not about a mindset of being growth-oriented. No! This is about morals. This is a moral imperative, and that’s why you see a lot of people getting passionate about it. That’s why I’ve chosen it to be my career, is helping people achieve what they paid for, respect and autonomy at the workplace so you can be fulfilled in what you do, and to fulfill your ultimate potential by inspecting and adapting and getting better.
So hopefully that was interesting to you. Hopefully that helps you give you some talking points and you can articulate this agile business out in the workplace. Agile is not a mindset. It’s certainly not a methodology, nor a specific method. It is a moral imperative.