July 23, 2015

Change is specific to your Organization...let your organization own their change.

Through my years of trial and error,  I have learned there is no one size fits all solution to transitioning organizations to agile...context is king!

Every model is based on different organizational contexts. Each model’s context has its own starting and ending point. There’s no guarantee that your organization is at the same starting point and aiming to end at the same ending point.

Organizations commonly introduce (SAFEe) large agile models. A common misconception is if it’s big and prescriptive, it must be good! One size does not fit all. However, this leads to high disruption to the organization and a steep learning curve. This slows down the people as they must use new, foreign practices. The organization’s rush to become agile overnight by introducing a heavy weight model causes them to   lose sight of the fact that the primary purpose of the organization is deliver products/services, not to be agile. When organizations transition to agile, they need to walk the line between gaining adoption of agile practices and continual delivery of their product/service. They do this by phasing their rollout as a series of experiential learning by groups of people who do the work.

The Composite Model


I have developed a composite model based off the works of Jason Little. This model is separated into small bite sized chunks that can be consumed in any order. You do not need to implement this model linearly.

To achieve agility , you must fully understand the organization’s context. Organizations are built from the efforts of their people. These people can identify the impediments that are prohibiting their  team from delivering product or service to market quickly (i.e. the pain points).  Identifying impediments requires you to visually illustrate where the impediments are and select employees at all levels of the organization who are affected by this change. Involve them with every step of the process.

Once the impediments are identified, organizations should list out some possible solutions and identify success criteria for each impediment. Next, they can run experiments to test each proposed solution and solve them incrementally. The solution to the impediments may not be found from the first experiment. It might require several trials until the desired outcome is found.

This model is fairly generic intentionally. There’s no magic formula to solve how to make your organization agile. Every organization is different and will be facing different impediments. It’s up to you as the change agents to determine what those impediments are by encouraging small, incremental changes and prioritizing the people ahead of the processes and tools.

Organizational Agility is a journey, not a destination.

David Dame

This is the first post in a three part series. Please like, share and comment and I’ll be sure to update you when the next post in the series comes out.