Scrum Notes 2013-20

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The Lightness of Transformation ▶️

Photo: Peretz Partensky/Wiki Commons

Recently, on one of the Scrum forums, Michael Wollin asked a question:

If you were to make one slide for the C-suite to explain why we use the term agile transformation [instead of agile adoption] what would it be?

Oddly (at least to my thinking) this drew quite a few negative responses, suggesting you should never attempt an Agile transformation, that the only way to proceed was to start with one or two teams doing Agile well, and slowly build from that.

Now, while I agree wholeheartedly with that approach, I think the responses missed the essence of the question: do we adopt Agile, or do we transform the organisation? This is how I see it...

A transformation is about movement, transition from a state of dissatisfaction to one of satisfaction—in most software businesses, from a culture of fear, sadness, distraction and struggle to one of courage, kindness, engagement and effectiveness.

This is very different to adoption, which is essentially the adding of processes or practices to our existing way of doing things.

The difference is about intent. Adoption is safe, but burdensome. Transformation is risky, yet creates a lightness of spirit. Adoption holds on, transformation lets go—plunges into the unknown.

I rose to Michael's challenge to create a single slide. This is it.

Sure, start small, fail, learn from early mistakes, adapt, let the new ideas grow and emerge. Nurture the change. And always, desire a new awakening.

Don't ever think you can tack Agile practices onto an archaic culture and actually gain anything meaningful from this. You can adopt as many children as the state allows. It does not make you good parents.

Idaho Falls, 11/10/2015   comment