10 Comments
Aug 30, 2023Liked by Maarten Dalmijn

"Instead of making a team-level framework that focuses on how the team should work together, why not make an organization-level framework that focuses on the conditions necessary for empowered teams?"

And now you have arrived at what Agile 2 attempts to talk about, with respect to product development!

Agility is NOT about what happens in a team. Teams are relatively easy - they are "table stakes". Agility is about the organization - the ecosystem.

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Aug 30, 2023Liked by Maarten Dalmijn

Yeah, some good thoughts in that. Let me share another one: What if Scrum itself was adopted in way too many environments. Some, perhaps even most, of which are a bad fit: Iterating on a greenfield towards a solution for a vaguely defined problem, the 'new product development' part, is actually quite rare. Most of the time there's legacy code (brownfield), dependencies that arose on architectural and organizational levels and a lot of other stuff, that Scrum - more or less - does not care about, has not advice, no path forward (besides prescribing an ideal future state). Not to mention that it's applied in contexts that are hardly product development at all, so the value of iterating, defining Sprint Goals etc. is close to zero or at least not worth the effort. To me, Scrum is a good solution (amended by some XP practices), given the right problem. To me it seems like many skipped that step of identifying the problem/solution match.

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Right on. 👏 No surprise that it’s hard to bolt innovative ways of working onto an organizational paradigm that’s a century old.

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Aug 30, 2023Liked by Maarten Dalmijn

I must admit that if I think of all the things that are wrong, I would go mad. Even in orgs where they are in fact doing a lot the scrum way, there will always be egos, opinions and outright "My way because I said so" mentalities. True new thinking must be introduced, yet we should expect it to be criticized at the minimum in that instance too ;)

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Aug 30, 2023Liked by Maarten Dalmijn

After many years of helping organizations adapt Agile, I’ve come to the conclusion that two world wars is too early to value human emotions. We need at least one more for organizations to get it right.

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Great post! reminds me about the bed of Procrustes

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Love this and also think of it as any framework -- ecosystem and leadership has always been the x factor. Any Agilist will condemn Scrum or SAFe for similar reasons. Or Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. Or PMP. Many will speak about how embodying the values comes first and that the transformation to those values is the hard part.

But since The Toyota Way and lean approaches in general, everything modern has adapted similar flow-related notions of process efficiency melded with autonomous collectivist rhetoric for culture. Sadly, the buck still stops with leadership who are generally too obtuse and drawn to triple-constraint measures of boards and the tyranny of "shareholders" to make their decisions.

Empowered teams need empowering leaders. While we're having a third-wave (n-wave perhaps) of leadership now, we're still maladapted to our grandparent's way of working with the ever-worshipped timeline leading everything else.

Gen X inherited Boomer process framework with few exceptions and then is passing to elder millennials who have to play by the rules of the old guard to get ahead.

I see countless 25-40 year old managers still relying on management techniques from mid-century: meeting bludgeoning, micromanagement, and invisible work assignments ignoring even dated project management constraints frameworks (resources are almost always too limited for the appetite, and leadership too ____ to aptly prioritize and wait patiently, even if that's a sprint.)

So where do we go for progress? Inevitably the generational shift will continue, but for empowerment-seeking organizations, it's up to teams to experiment and drive change, serving as an example of side-stepping prescription to get things done. And to leave when they can't. For leaders? To keep their eyes peeled and their minds open, for their position betrays the truth.

Life's too short to dedicate our daily energy to Sisiphyean endeavors of laggard or maladapted process framework.

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Good insights here. To my perspective most of people in organizations want to keep with fixed scope, fixed date and fix budget. People still beleive in plans and estimations (either is story point or other kind). Maybe that's fair, why should we change, we have been doing business like this for ages?

However, if we choose that route of old ways of working, no matter the framework, whether is Scrum, Xp, Kanban or classic Waterfall, we are setting ourselves to failure or frustration.

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Great questions you raise. I've observed that individuals with extensive experience in organizational change are uncovering profound insights over time that often align. However, I've also noticed that, concurrently, connecting these insights to practical application is becoming more challenging. Ultimately, comprehending certain (meta) insights requires a combination of knowledge and experience. The risk is that we end up as a lone voice in the wilderness.

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