Tag Archives: agility

Being Agile: On the Path to Organizational Agility | #orgdna on the #futureofwork (discussed 6/11/18)

Like so many buzz words in the corporate lexicon, notions of agility get dropped often in work settings. Who doesn’t want to get the important things done faster? Even moreso, the Agile methodology, born and bred in the world of software development, introduces a welcome path to help get there.

Easy enough?

Well, no. Actually, it’s as difficult as can be. Because changing how we think, how we work together, and how we attack problems is painful, and sometimes slow. Agile champions and enthusiasts may beat the drum of change, but their energy doesn’t always sink in, or sustain.

If Agile is a path to organizational and corporate agility, it’s going to be more of a journey.

Agile is as much a mindset as a methodology. It’s not just the steps and the formats. It’s a social paradigm shift. Consider.  How and when should we engage others? How do we get comfortable with ceding control? Are we able to develop a bias for trust?

No small challenge, agility, but I think it’s the essential path. The 21st century marketplace demands a quickened pace. The nimble will survive.

So let’s get to it.

In our 6/11/18 #orgdna chat, let’s discuss a few of the critical elements that are key initial conditions on the path to agility:

  • Q1. Quickened Pace. Can you and your team(s) pick up the pace of decision-making, even to the extent of a sprint?
  • Q2. Flexibility. Will your and your team(s) be willing to shift direction midstream?
  • Q3. Cross-Functional Engagement. What level of cooperation can you achieve?
  • Q4. Commitment. Are stakeholders truly empowered to own solutions and take risks (vs. lip service)?
  • Q5. Permission for Transparency. Is everyone (including/especially those “up the chain”) ready for honest appraisals of gaps?
  • Q6. Flow of Work. Agility is fueled by an organic, opportunistic flow of work, not what we are used to: structure and control. Are you and your team(s) ready?

Lots to talk about, all of it foundational to becoming agile.  Let’s discuss, and put some stakes in the ground.

The mission? We’re continuing to unpack the #futureofwork through the lens of social complexity, and I hope you’ll join us.  We meet monthy, mostly on 3rd or 4th Mondays, from 9-11pm. For June, we’re holiday hopping, and it’s a 2nd Monday.

See? We’re being agile already. Hold on for the ride.

Chris Jones, aka @sourcepov, Charlotte NC

 

How does a Twitter Chat work? We recommend a streaming app like TweetDeck. Just append #orgdna to your tweets adding #orgdev #agile #agility and/or #futureofwork to specific tweets, as relevant, to expand the thread. Sometimes we’ll chat in the #orgdna stream in real-time, like a flash mob, with insights just popping up.  But for the in-depth discussion, join us at the appointed hour on Twitter. It’s always lively, and we hope you’ll join us! 

 


Agile Personas: A Step Toward More Dynamic Teams? | #orgdna on the #futureofwork (discussed 4/23/18)

In our 2018 #orgdna conversations to date, we’ve been discussing the specific roles in organizations that are essential for new thinking. On the short list from our latest transcript, consider the value of team members like these:

  • Connector – linking concepts across domains, silos, or functions
  • Catalyst – sparking or challenging new thinking, helping others break from norms
  • Designer – envisioning alternate end states (what is possible?)
  • Aggregator – focused on semantics, solution elements and actionable takeaways
  • Practitioner/SME – subject matter expert on problems at hand

These roles are laser-focused on problem-solving skills. They may be less common on traditional org charts, but they are essential to high-functioning teams.

You’ll note classic titles like “VP” and “Director” are missing from the list. Titles assigned by H/R are important, but so often hardwire us to limited task assignments and accountabilities. They don’t speak to thinking skills or problem-solving skills – key qualifications for fluid organizations who need to change how they operate.

Perhaps we need something in the middle?

Enter Agile, a methodology for solution design that aligns well with the more dynamic models we’ve been discussing. It emerged from IT, but brings with it flexible charters, movable scope boundaries, and fluid participation. That sounds a lot like the future of work we’ve imagined. And Agile offers faster results than traditional “waterfall” models, dated approaches that deliver answers in annual increments, often after requirements have changed.

Who doesn’t need to move faster in today’s demanding business environements?

Agile uses the notion of Personas, generalized actors in an organization, to define problem/solution stakeholders. Personas are really archetypes, representative roles that help design teams explain how things need to work. Some examples:

  • Leader/Executive – ultimate owner/customer
  • Planner – surveying options, constraints, barriers, and optimal scenarios
  • Line Manager – ensuring resources and productivity, while removing barriers
  • Analyst/SME – subject matter experts, working out specifics

While personas like these seem more familiar than our skill-specific, hypothetical #orgdna roles, they are still generalized. This feels like a step in the right direction. And there are definitely overlaps.

I’ve updated the #orgdna #futureofwork Coggle to show this.

In our Monday 4/23 #orgdna chat, from 9-11pm ET, we’ll unpack how roles become personas in the Agile context, and how this opens up new thinking. Here are a few specific framing Q’s:

  • Q1. On Agile Personas. How might generalizing roles into Agile Personas make team and/or process design more fluid?
  • Q2. Focus on OD Mindset. For team builders, do Personas offer a useful conceptual middle ground between current state hierarchy/specialists and skill-based Roles we’ve been discussing?
  • Q3. Changing OD Mindsets on Key Roles. In practice, how might team builders leverage the power of conceptual Agile Personas and/or our skill-based Roles?
  • Q4. Titles. Are they still important?
  • Q5. Can Generalists take Action? Or do team members without task-specific accountabilities or authority face challenges?

Much to discuss here, as unpack our conception of roles in the organization, with a social complexity overlay. I hope you’ll join us.

Chris Jones aka @sourcepov | Charlotte NC US


ABOUT #ORGDNA.  If you’ve been following along, you’ll know our #orgdna conversation on Twitter is gaining momentum. What will the future of work look like? How can we get there?  See our new #orgdna META page for a little more background on our approach and objectives.  And, as always, we’ll see you online.