February 1, 2022

Start using Start and Stop Using Stop (Agile Transformations)

StartWould you be interested in increasing your chances of success following through on your New Year’s resolutions by 12%? Researchers at Stockholm University and Linköping University in Sweden analyzed resolutions made by 1,066 people and had some fascinating results that might impact not only your New Year’s resolutions but decision-making in general. Simply rephrasing a resolution from “Stop” to “Start” has a 12% higher chance of succeeding. For example turning “I want to stop watching so much TV”, into “I want to start running” has significant impact on the person following through with it.

Considering that Scrum Teams make a ton of decisions every day and also have resolutions (not only once per year though), this could make huge difference when formulating for example working agreements, capturing retrospective results and of course initiate agile transformations.


3 Signs that your Agile Transformation is in Big TroubleBased on the findings in the research, we could argue that at the highest level of a transformation, "Start Agile" is better than "Stop Waterfall" but that does not provide a lot of guidance. Breaking down goals into something small is definitely a good idea, but where to start when you have too many ideas? During my work in agile transformations for more than 15 years in various industries, I found a few signals that indicate that a transformation is going into the wrong direction. The goal setting is one of them because they often end up to be too big.  Those challenges made start looking into better ways of doing things. Early 2019 I made a connection to the world of Kata and created the Agile Transformation Kata. Kata also influenced the latest version of the EBM guide which I believe is a great signal in the our industry that there is real synergy between the Scrum framework and Kata practices.  

The challenge of "Starting" in the Kata world is addressed by using a few short and basic practice routines, called Starter Kata. Starter Kata are, similar to learning how to dance, a few basic step sequences. Those steps need to be fluid before more complex sequences can be learned. Equipped with small goals and Starter Kata routines, starting is not so difficult anymore. And because Kata use empiricism, you have access to an unparalleled power tool for success. See 3 Signs that your Agile Transformation is in Big Trouble in my upcoming webinar? I will give context around the 3 challenges, plus show how the Kata can tackle them in an agile way!