Today I have removed Agile Coach from both my Twitter bio and my LinkedIn profile. I am no longer going to take on any Agile coaching or training assignments.
Because we are done.
This might come as a bit of a surprise for some in the Agile community, but we have won. We set out to conquer waterfall software development and we have all but rooted it out.
But if we have won I hear you ask, why doesn’t it feel like it?
Because almost all companies are doing agile instead of being agile. During the agile-waterfall wars we have learned a lot, most importantly that the process we used was only a tiny piece of the puzzle. That culture, trust, transparency and self-organization were much more important.
Most of us in the agile community have felt what it is like working in a truly self-organizing team with plenty of trust and transparency. And lately we have tried very hard to get those values out of IT, into management and the rest of the organization. Unfortunately without much success.
That is why we have top-down agile implementations, mandatory weekly status updates on team agility and my favorite from @benjaminm, secret scoring by agile coaches on team member transparency.
All of that is because in the eyes of managers agile is an IT process thing. Words mean things.
So what’s next?
I still have not given up on the new ideals we discovered. We need self-organizing within organizations based on trust and transparency now more than ever. But we can not call it Agile anymore.
Luckily earlier this year a few thought leaders from both the agile community and outside came together in Stoos, trying to kickstart just such a movement. After two days they came up with the first version of their vision:
“Reflecting on leadership in organizations today, we find ourselves in a bit of a mess. We see reliance on linear, mechanistic thinking, companies focusing more on stock price than delighting customers, and knowledge workers whose voices are ignored by the bosses who direct them. All these factors are reflected in the current economic crisis, increased inequity, bankruptcies and widespread disillusionment.
There has to be a better way.
We believe that we uncovered some of the common characteristics of that better way. For example, that organizations can become learning networks of individuals creating value and that the role of leaders should include the stewardship of the living rather than the management of the machine.”
Stoos is nothing more than a vision. A very high level vision at what an organisation might look and feel like. Without anything concrete, Stoos is a very hard sell, but it is also the only reason it stands any chance of working. Because there is not one solution to this problem. We are going to need a lot of them. By keeping Stoos a vision it will force us to look at all the options we have. And that gives us the chance to also work with a lot of other really neat ideas that can help us, such as Rightshifting, Lean, Beyond Budgeting and Tribal Leadership.Tags: agile, beyond budgeting, tribal leadership, waterfall