What to refrain from: four pitfalls

So you've considered the change toward agility. You have desire, have some knowledge and have at least made a preliminary assessment of the organisation's stamina for the change. You're eager to get started, which we'll cover in the next chapter. What you don't do next matters even more; and we'll discuss that here.

  • Enacting change via broadcast Kotter's steps for change tell us that the 
    • Action: take a sample opinion survey on the major pain points at the staff level; alternatively, use the retrospective techniques outlined in our last post. Many discoveries of improvements to the organisation can be linked as symptomatic to some root causes that moving toward agility can address.
  • Adding more things to do Spend the excitement & enthusiasm capital that you have when you first announce the change carefully. If you add more processes, measurements, practices etc. on top of your team's current ways of working, you are adding to the 
    • ction: Spend the excitement & enthusiasm capital on reducing the culture around a productivity killer. Some suggestions: Try killing emails with Slack (an agile coach who has some experience with this is recommended). Try finishing all meetings 5 minutes before the end of the hour. Try breaking up meetings longer than 90 minutes with a mandatory 10 minute break time. Try coaching teams to introduce the concept of the 16th minute - a hard stop to long standups. These are tiny cultural changes that will have large impacts.
  • Starting with measurement There are inherent fallacies in creating measurement programs with respect to change. The critique of these I leave to others.
    • Action: Behaviours trump metrics. Allow behaviours to lead the design of metrics; allowing teams the space to define them as the transition toward agility occurs. Common metrics for maturing teams include - cumulative flow, story points, business value points. All of these metrics have something in common - they are created for the team, by the team for their own continuous improvement. They are not comparable across teams; and they are meaningless when 'rolled up' into a overall dashboard. Instead, quantitative escalations of impediments will provide you with actionable insight - and teams will want you to do this!

Join me in the next chapter, where we discuss the first three steps of what to do when enacting a change toward agility!