Agile is hot. Almost every Fortune 500 company is “Doing the Agile Thing”. But with the success also the critics are growing rapidly. The post “Agile is Dead” from Matthew Kern was extremely popular. Many of his arguments are dead right. For example, Agile has become a brand name and a hype and the original Agile Manifesto has lost most of his power and purpose by bad interpretations of it. But there is a lot more to add to this discussion which is often based on misinterpretations what Agile actually means.
In reaction on the Era of Big Transitions we currently live in, many organizations are reinventing themselves as we speak. How can we survive? Or rephrased more positive: How can we turn this threat into a unique chance?
Most organizations start with this journey by redesigning their culture, way of work and organizational structure. But are these building blocks not too rigid and too slow to change?
In my opinion, we should be seeking for smaller building blocks. For example in nature, the smallest building blocks are atoms. Of course, we can’t go back to atoms for redefining the most ideal building blocks for an Agile Organization. But for now, imagine people in organizations are like molecules forming the organization. Small, but not the smallest.
But as we can observe almost every day, people are often not that agile at all. We love what we have and don’t like change. But is this really true? Is this not just our behavior which makes us feel comfortable? Do we unconsciously as human beings, somehow share deeper needs and values and different types of interaction? Referring to nature’s metaphor again: where are our atoms, our smallest building blocks?
This question challenged my mind for quite a while. Until last month. As Agile Coaches we went on a Aikido Ki Workshop to experience the physical and mental side of resistance and cooperation.
In Japanese martial art, this Material Energy or Life Force is called “Ki”. By respecting and connecting with the “Ki” of another person, you will be able to take away the resistance of the opponent. I’ll bet, this all will sound hazy to the most of you, but it’s actually quite easy to experience.
What to do with this almost spiritual blogpost?
As long as we focus primarily on our personal interest, we will never achieve the purest form of Agility and cooperation. We’re on earth as one collective organism, whether we like it or not, all with one goal: making this world a bit better iteratively. By Learning, Inspecting and Adapting. Together. This is where our evolution (read: agile) is all about.
It’s like creating an Internet of People. It all starts with making real connection with the people around us. Somehow that’s where it becomes very hard for most Western minds. On the other hand, it’s so logical for us we should create an Internet of Things as the next big step for our prosperity. Food for Thought. Don’t you think?
The summer holidays are over. Fall is coming. Like the start of every new year, a good moment for new inspiration.
Recently, I went twice to the Boston area for a client of Xebia. I met there (I dislike the word “assessments"..) a number of experienced Scrum teams. They had an excellent understanding of Scrum, but were not able to convert this to an excellent performance. Actually, there were somewhat frustrated and their performance was slightly going down.
So, they were great teams, great team members, their agile processes were running smoothly, but still not a single winning team. Which left in my opinion only one option: a lack of Spirit. Spirit is the fertilizer of Scrum and actually every framework, methodology and innovation. But how to boost the spirit?
This weekend preparing this blogpost, I ran into a brilliant quote from Johan Cruijff. At a conference a few years ago for the Dutch local government, he told a great story about a talented blind golfer, Ronald Boef he played golf with. Despite his handicap, Ronald Boef played his best golf in difficult mental circumstances like playing balls over a big pond or consistent putting. The conclusion of Johan Cruijff: "Ronald doesn’t “see" the problems, he is only focussing on the next target. He thinks from a positive mindset". I couldn’t agree more. In my opinion, this is one of the fundamentals behind eXtreme Manufacturing (XM) and the reason why the Dutch team didn’t made it through the WorldCup finals.
Like many consultants, topsport is an inspiring source for me. Almost every day I show or tell stories from great sport coaches like Marc Lammers or Johan Cruijjff. Like every major sports event, also this WorldCup in Brasil contained some interesting lessons for me I wanted to share with you.
You might have attended this month at our presentation about eXtreme Manufacturing and the keynote of Nalden last week on XebiCon 2014. There are a few epic takeaways and additions I would like to share with you in this blogpost.
Epic TakeAway #1: The Learn, Unlearn and Relearn Cycle Like Nalden expressed in his inspiring keynote, one of the major things for him to be successful is being able to Learn, Unlearn and Relearn every time again. In my opinion, this will be the key ability for every successful company in the near future. In fact, this is how nature evolutes: in the end, only the species who are able to adapt to changing circumstances will survive and evolute. This mechanism makes for example, most of the startups fail, but those who will survive, can be extremely disruptive for non-agile organizations. Best example for this is of course Whatsapp. Beating up the Telco Industry by almost destroying their whole businessmodel in only a few months. Learn more about disruptive innovation from one of my personal heroes, Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen.