Join Doug Rose for an in-depth discussion in this video Establishing the groundwork, part of Enterprise Agile: Changing Your Culture.
- After college, one of my first jobs was with Northwestern University's Academic Computer Lab. Each morning I used to walk through Chicago's North Side neighborhoods to the Red Line train that went downtown. On my way to work I'd pass by one house with a small wood fence. Behind the fence there was a dog who would scratch and claw and bark at me each day as I made my way to the train. It was our daily routine, something that the dog and I shared. I would walk by the front of the house, and then the dog would scratch and claw and bark.
On some days, I'd even see its glossy brown head pop over the side of the fence. One morning the dog was unusually motivated, so much so that the gray fence planks rumbled like a concert speaker with the dog struggling to get through. This time it actually managed to get one of its front legs over the fence. It then used that leg to leverage on its back and then flip over to the other side. After it recovered, it stood up and seemed surprised by its own strength. It looked back at the fence with just a hint of regret.
Then it looked at me. Our eyes locked and in that instant we realized that something had changed, and neither of us knew what to do next. I think about this story when I see organizations transitioning to Enterprise Agile. Often all the passion goes into getting everyone to follow agile team practices. They set practical goals and outline key agile objectives. They feel if they can scratch and claw their way through these key practices, then they're sure to become a more agile enterprise.
But Enterprise Agile is not about getting everyone doing the same thing. The way you should think about Enterprise Agile is that it's many teams working together to apply an agile mindset to their enterprise products. In a sense, it's about having many agile teams work on one big effort. It's a way to integrate agile into how an enterprise typically delivers their products. The key thing you should think about here is the term mindset. Key agile practices are only a vehicle to get teams to think with an agile mindset.
The practices themselves are not that important. It's almost as if you're trying to get everyone in your organization into better physical shape. Some of the teams might lift weights, some might try swimming, while others might try running. How each team practices isn't as important as the overall mindset, in this case it's your organization thinking about physical fitness. It's the same with Enterprise Agile. One team might use planning poker, and another team might have estimation software.
You might even have one team using scrum and another team using extreme programming. That's okay with Enterprise Agile, because all these teams should share the same mindset. That's why it's essential for you to start your Enterprise Agile transformation by talking about how your team should think about delivering products. When you're talking about how teams should think or about an organization's mindset, what you're really talking about is your organizational culture. Each organization has its own culture.
This is the way that things are done in your organization. It's how your organization thinks when you're delivering products. That's why in the beginning it's important to focus on an effective way for you to take the agile mindset and mesh it with your organization's culture, rather than worrying about individual agile team practices. If you spend all your time scratching and clawing and focused on the practices, then you won't get the mindset you need to take advantage of being agile.
Even if you're able to hop over the fence, it won't be clear what to do when you get there. That's why most of what you'll see here at the beginning will be about identifying your organization's culture. Then you'll see how to get everyone thinking about agile. In Enterprise Agile, it's much more important for all your teams to have a shared understanding of agile than it is for them to have shared practices. A shared understanding of agile must be part of your organizational culture. That's the best way for your organization to get real benefits from your Enterprise Agile transformation.
That's why this course is the first in a four-part series on enterprise agile. In this course, Doug Rose helps you lay the groundwork you'll need to make this radical organizational change. First, learn how to identify your organization's culture. There are many different types of organizational cultures, and each one presents its own set of challenges. Then, see different approaches to making a widespread organizational change. Finally, learn about the common challenges that almost all organizations face when starting enterprise agile.
- Establishing the groundwork
- Understanding the change
- Reviewing organizational culture
- Identifying your organizational culture
- Trying the Kotter approach
- Being fearless
- Evangelizing change
- Changing myths
- Focusing on culture
- Dealing with common challenges