With your teams already working according to Scrum, becoming Agile should be easy, right? Moreover, the managers in your company are leadership professionals who regularly coach employees on self-leadership and self-reflection. Your company structure is lean and highly flexible. You have everything you need to undergo an agile transformation. Unfortunately, it’s not working. What could be the reason?
When you hear the term transformation, you probably think of a process of substantial change from the current actual state to the desired state. This is often the misconception people have since agile transformation cannot be defined this way. The desired goal of an agile transformation is for a company to reach a state where it can continually redefine itself and adapt flexibly. This is not a fixed state, but a permanently fluid form of business, based on values and principles. This is also where the potential and power of agility lies. Instead of looking at a challenge and solving it from the existing structures, each problem is approached with the optimal solution that continuously adapts along the way based on new knowledge. Thus, following the Lean principle: Plan, Build, Measure. An agile company is agile when it has a culture that enables this type of collaboration.
Agile culture change
When we talk about culture change, the term change management quickly comes up. But just as culture cannot be de-created, culture change cannot be managed. At best, it can be initiated or guided, but it cannot be managed in the sense of planning, organizing and leading to a goal. Management often implies that cultural change can be managed or even organized, and that is precisely the mistake.
The diagram illustrates in a simple way why agile cultural change is not change management or transformation. The loop has an ever-repeating four-step. In other words, it is a cycle that is constantly evolving in an agile iterative manner.
Now, we know that agile transformation is not about getting from point A to point B. It’s about reaching a state where continuous change has become a constant. If you really want to become agile, you need to realize that it is a long-term journey, not a fixed destination that you can achieve today. Proceed in small steps, adapt the framework, and most importantly, have patience. As with any uncertain journey, it’s helpful to have a guide by your side, and that’s exactly what an Agile Coach will help you with. Stay tuned for our next blog, as we will talk about agile transition and how to achieve that agile culture change! In the meantime, read more about how our agile experts can guide you on your journey towards agility.
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This blog is written in collaboration with Dirk Börnert – Agile Coach and Senior Consultant at Conclusion Mediaan.