Organisational Gravity is well-known from the book ‘Succeeding with Agile’ by Mike Cohn and described therein as ‘the forces that pull an organisation back into old habits’ [Coh09].
When an organization makes a transition towards an Agile Organisation and the necessary changes happen at a too slow rate eventually Organisational Gravity will pull the organisation back into where it was before the transition attempt. The well-known property, see e.g. http://mariewiere.com/2012/02/10/avoid-organizational-inertia-dare-to-change/, of an organisation that is associated with how fast the organisation can change on change-triggering events is known as Organisational Inertia. If it is too high it takes a lot of energy to make changes happen and the Organisational Gravity may make it impossible to complete the organisational transition.
Can we use Organisational Inertia as a predictor for how long it will take (on average) for the Agile transition to complete?
Other questions that come to mind are: What is ‘Organisational Inertia’? How do we measure it? What does it tell us? How does it help? Can we change it? And how?
This blog will address the first question: ‘What is it?’.
In next blogs I will focus on how Agile teams affect the organisation's inertia and how to measure it.