Agile transformation and its aberrations

On the web platform Fü, Marcus Raitner has been thinking about agile transformation, focusing on the aberrations that are made in the different areas of agile transformation. In his opinion, so many things are described and named as agile transformation, but in the end it is something completely different. As an example, he cites a myth that is widespread in executive offices, which says that the performance of all employees can be increased many times over by switching to agility. Agility is neither concentrated feed nor a miracle cure. As with all new phenomena, the advocates often exaggerate a little and many executives and company managers dream of a transformation that will miraculously increase their efficiency, based on false promises.
A man reads to a group and points to a blackboard.

Transformation - but fast!

Everything should become agile and as fast as possible. Many executives who prescribe agility have no concrete idea what agility actually means and how agile methods can be used to be truly successful. They simply want to jump on the new bandwagon and not be left behind. It is not uncommon for the existing structures that have always been in place in the company to suddenly become agile. However, without a consistent questioning of these methods, this is not target-oriented. These companies then write the word "agility" in large letters, speak of transformation at every opportunity, but basically just continue what has always been their business model.

Transformation misunderstood

Marcus Raitner points out the many misunderstandings that accompany agile transformation. He wants to explore how it could come about that many responsible people assume that agile transformation will provide them with a sudden and miraculous increase in productivity. In his opinion, books like "Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time" by Jeff Sutherland are also guilty of this myth. Anyone who wants to carry out agile transformation in his company or his team with the sole goal of increasing efficiency will be mistaken from the start. In the eyes of Marcus Raitner, this even devalues agile transformation, because it actually means something completely different. He repeats his thesis that agility is not concentrated feed, just as employees should not be seen as dairy cows. Agility cannot improve the performance of individual employees. However, it can certainly increase the performance of the system itself.

Effectiveness instead of efficiency

Agility is not aimed at increasing efficiency, but rather effectiveness. Efficiency can be increased in other ways. Those who subject their company to agile transformation will make it possible to make the right decisions in a highly complex environment. Agility should enable the customer to be delivered faster. This benefits the customer, but of course also the developers and their processes. Marcus Raitner is convinced that great actionism and the imposition of an agile structure on existing structures only leads to a dead end. Examples like Spotify may sound tempting, but they cannot be easily replicated or imitated.

How do I lead into agile transformation

So it does not make sense to simply choose one of the many agile success stories and use it as a template. That will most likely go wrong. The very approach of prescribing agility from above violates an important principle of agility, namely that self-organization is a central component of agility. Self-responsible action at eye level is not compatible with a top-down approach. It may be difficult for many people, but anyone who wants to make his company agile must virtually shed the role of the boss. Be more like a conductor who leads his orchestra or like a gardener who creates an ideal environment for his plants to thrive in. Your plants are the self-organized teams. They have to grow, but that cannot be prescribed.

A little patience please

Raitner points out that the proverbial swallow does not yet make a summer. It is not enough to buy a few beanbags, hang up kanban boards and build pretty work lounges. Even a few successfully completed agile projects do not change the company structures. Will your decision-making paths remain the same, your committees unchanged, your structures essentially the same? Then you as a company are not agile. Raitner knows how difficult it is to break down traditional hierarchies and bureaucracy. But this is exactly what needs to happen if agility is to be achieved. Question each of your measures to see if they are not just a new coat of old structures, but actually lead in the direction of agility. Goodbye bureaucracy, goodbye calcified decision-making structures. Say goodbye to your comfortable executive chair and get off to an agile start! It takes a lot of courage and a little patience.
Author: IAPM internal

Key words: Agile project management, Agile transformation, Project management, Employee management

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