How could we possibly fail again? Where did we take the wrong turn on agile?
It looks like nowadays a lot of people have lost hope when it comes to agile. Any attempt for agile transformation is felt as heteronomous and is spat back with contempt. Only claqueurs seem to go with the flow.
How could this ever happen?
Haven’t we tried everything? I thought we were the good guys!
The answers are of course many-fold and non-trivial. Also, some of the aspects have always been there. But this time something’s different and it is not explicable with pandemic arguments alone. We have seen a lot of innovation in the attempt of evading pandemic problems. A high level of energy and community felt drive that was unseen before can be noticed in these sad times and in the end a friend in need is a friend indeed – or are we?
So what’s different?
We can identify mainly two patterns
- The Cry Wolf Syndrome: “Transformation? We’ve been reorganized uncountable times in the last 30 years already, how is this going to be any different?”
- The Gaslighting Loopback: The good people doing the dirty work did have all the ideas of effective work and collaboration in the first place and a long time ago. Developers, engineers, but also non-IT related: farmers, masons, you name it. No-one wanted to take over their ideas until all was transformed in to a machinery that produces alleged utilization without real knowledge, or to name it: big time consulting companies. Explaining it back with a hidden agenda to the originators.
Ok, bad. How do we get out of this?
- Become human: Management by personality is the opposite of micro-management. Talking to people and taking them for serious is more important than stone-carved extrinsic rules from frameworks or scaling theories.
- Deep dive into technicalities: Teams normally know how to work on their subject. Better than out-of-context servant leaders. A pure administrative lead only annoys people. Technical excellence is not optional, not even for coaching positions.
- Everything looks good on paper: But motivated people don’t feel like getting advice from inexperienced, certified agile coaches – au contraire, it’s a buzzkill. No true knowledge is ever achieved through 2-day-trainings and certification, let alone mastery.
- Be inventive: Copying patterns from successful agile companies only makes you late. Useful innovation bases on understanding – and real understanding is only reached after confrontation. Preaching about practices that might have worked in totally different environments wears people off. Confrontation and innovation are inspiring.
Consultant: Danilo Biella