Definition of agility for an enterprise social network

Last post 08:14 am March 28, 2022
by Steven Maché
5 replies
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11:17 am March 23, 2022

Hello,

I passed PSM2 and PSPO2 and though it would be a good occasion to publish these on the company social network, and communicate on agility.

For the context, my current client is a small (60 persons) start up. R&D is about 20-30% of the employees. Management style is between 1.0 and 2.0

With this short message to all employees, I am trying to be as short, simple, general & impactful as possible.

Also, I am not a native english, the message was originally written in French.

I would really appreciate your feedbacks (and validation ^^, I feel very far from being an expert on agility).

Many thanks in advance !

 

What is agility?

This word has become "hype" and all companies are or try to be agile. This now affects all departments and all industries, not just IT.

So, is it a bit of a silver bullet?

Well actually, no! Agility is most useful in a specific situation:

A collective of motivated people (us), have set themselves the mission of accomplishing difficult and quite fantastic things (our products and services), in a complex (regulations/competition/ technological evolution…) and unpredictable (you know... covid, war in Ukraine, climate change, …) environment.

 

This collective will have a better chance of succeeding if it can meet these favorable conditions:

  • there is a strong climate of trust
  • people continually learn about the different aspects of their "specific situation"
  • they pool their discoveries, humble and brilliant, to act for the best and as soon as possible
  • the usefulness experienced, at this moment, by those who use the solutions of this collective is the materialization of their mission
  • they frequently adapt during the progress of their mission

Scrum, and other agile approaches, help these collectives accomplish their mission by guiding them to meet and maintain these favorable conditions.

What do you think ? Share in the comments or invite me for a video-coffee

07:07 pm March 23, 2022

I am trying to be as short, simple, general & impactful as possible.

Then don't send it. Get senior leadership to send it, or something like it, and to reinforce a sense of urgency for agile practice in their own company. If you can't secure their buy-in, find out why not.

09:25 pm March 23, 2022

Firmly agree with @Ian.  In order for an entire organization to think and act more agile, it is best for the very top most individuals to lead that by example.  They need to create the culture for agility that can be adopted and followed by the rest of the organization.  The reason that most organizations fail in their agile goals is because management is not willing to change their own behavior in a manner that will allow the rest of the organization to be successful. 

You indicate that this is a "client" which to me implies that you are not an employee of the company but are considered an "expert" since they are paying you to help them.  If I were you in this situation, I'd focus most of my efforts on the Executive levels until they feel comfortable with how to lead the organization instead of managing it.  You have the EBM certification, so teach the Executives how Evidence Based Management will help them be more successful.  Then help them to educate the rest of their organization. 

11:11 pm March 25, 2022

Not the answers I was expecting. But you are right on spot. Thanks for your clarity, this is appreciated!

 

For more context:

I am not a Scrum Master but a PO on discovery and strategy, I help the Scrum team (which include a PO) on the delivery. I am working on their main product for about 6 months. I was before the PO of a company they bought. My manager is now the CTO, but he is not on the direction board.

The company is the leader of a fast-growing market and was for many years the only player. For the last 2-3 years, the company strategy was to put their main product in maintenance mode and diversify. Competitors got access to important funding 3 years ago and this information, as competition in general, was mostly overlooked from what I understand.

Today the company is losing deals over its competitors. The main strategic goal of the company is to maintain its leadership on its main product. I set up a competitive analysis group few months ago, which is in my mind, all about measuring KVAs and guiding to EBM. The group is composed so far of key business expert and directors.

The first discussions point out that there is no defined metrics accompanying this strategic goal. Some think that we had lost our leadership before the company goal was settled; their voices were obviously not heard at this time.

The CV is decreasing as the competitors arise and transform what was valuable innovation into commodity. The UV rise on our side as we are now late on crucial functionality offered by our competitors.

I tried to estimate a comparative innovation capacity (in quantity). The results are concerning as the R&D size of our competitors is now multiple time ours, they are more structured, and people making the product have significantly more experience. Although output estimate from R&D does not translate for certain into outcome for clients, the gap is wide enough to be a clear sign, at least in the near future. I discovered that our team is surprisingly very young. The vast majority are in their 1st job experience or have less than 2-3 years in total. It sounds to me like a high turn-over on a low budget. Collaboration is difficult in the scrum team. I am continuing from scratch with inner innovation capacity, employee experience, revenue/employee, customer satisfaction, and so on... And of course, try to make a clear product vision emerge.

The A2I will not be high for certain. T2M is long.

 

Everyone in this "EBM" group is very enthousiast about  the work, the data we are gathering, the vision that slowly emerge. But I am really the only active member, it is really difficult to get them around a table, even more to produce anything.

I involved my manager as soon as possible in the study and the first insights about 5-4 months ago. Although he finds the work and insights relevant, this did not have any impact on him. My impression is that he is focused on immediate budget, keeping deadlines while dealing with all the emergencies. No space to take a step back.

I shared with my "N+1", who is part of this “EBM” group, what kind of information I am gathering, why & the initial insights about 3-4 months ago. I proposed him some time to discuss about it. He was interested but never came back to me.

I sent a message to my "N+2" (the CEO) about 1-2 months ago. I did not receive any answer to my message.

---

This feels strange. I really see this company as a big group of 60 persons where we should be able to talk to each other with ease and often. But the boundaries of departments and levels of hierarchies seem to form an impenetrable matrix.

I took pleasure in crafting this message about agility, but it does sound a little desperate after summing up the situation. It would be much better if a board member or the CEO send it out of conviction. It could still possibly change everything for this company! But is it possible?

I find it difficult in this small appealing group of people, with a fast and versatile context, to know if I have done too much or too little. A decisive change of direction always seems to be 1 or 2 good conversations away.

03:30 pm March 26, 2022

A decisive change of direction always seems to be 1 or 2 good conversations away.

A decisive change of direction is 1 or 2 conversations away in the Kremlin but it hasn't happened. Company leaders can be Zelensky or they can be Putin.

08:14 am March 28, 2022

Yeah... Note for my future me : secure a good talk with CEO/Board member within the 1st couple of weeks, and evaluate the organisation ability to change (which could probably be a KVA on its own right, isn't it?) Also:

"lessons from “Tortoise & Hare” are not faster turtles, but that the rabbits should not be complacent", Elon Musk

Thanks for your replies,

Steven