October 31, 2019

Agile Transformation Kata with Organizational Change Patterns

Katas and patterns go hand in hand and so does the Agile Transformation Kata (ATK) harmonize very well with the organizational change patterns published for example by Mary Lynn Manns and Linda Rising in their book  More Fearless Change.

The goal of this blog post is to show real-world connections between the Agile Transformation Kata and the organizational change patterns and how the patterns can help coaches implement ideas. if you haven't had a chance to read through white paper yet, take a look at it first. We are about to build on those ideas. We also released a short video to introduce the Kata.

The book More Fearless Change has a subtitle Strategies for Making Your Ideas Happen with an emphasis on Happen. That subtitle is very important in the application with the ATK as we are aiming to introduce change toward more agility and need a mechanism to make sure that change actually happened.

The power of these organizational change patterns are, similar to the Kata itself, that they provide micro-level tactics that can be used stand-alone, or strategies when applied together. Here is an example:

I am sure you have heard of a moment called "Wake-Up Call". A moment when we realize that we have to act, with full force and urgency. Many organizations that start an agile transformation have such an A-ha! moment one way or the other. Not only does the pattern describe a "Wake-Up Call" as a pattern, it also outlines what is important in a moment like this. Only because a single person or small group have had a "Wake-Up Call", does not mean that the whole organization feels that exact same way. Some employees might be just ok with a status quo and don't see any urgency for change. 

Each pattern recommends actions and provides advice when implementing. For example in "Wake-Up Call" we should let numbers talk when making a case. The ATK on the other hand answers this by using Evidence-Based Management. "Wake-Up Call" recommends to check your facts and understanding your pinpoints and the ATK tackles this by connecting the improvement to the Agile Manifesto. "Wake-Up Call" recommends to make sure there is something in for others and to use corridor politics and the ATK delivers that by using Open Space meeting format.

The beauty of these patterns is that they can be easily combined and that they influence each other. For example, "Wake-Up Call" may lead to "Make Concrete Action Plan" which might then lead to "Small Success". Small Success on the other hand might cause another "Wake-Up Call" or changes to "Make Concrete Action Plans". Many know what "Wake-Up Call" is may cause to organizations when Professional Scrum is introduced to a team as one of the "Concrete Action Plan" items. The combinations are endless, but the pattern catalog is like recipe book for an Agile Transformation Coach to become a more effective as a change agent.

Learn more about how the pattern catalog connects with the ATK and how they influence each other bi-directionally.