Musings about Agile Thinking

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Gino Marckx
February 5, 2021

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus was onto something when he said many years ago that

Change is the only constant

A saying as true today as it was for Heraclitus in Ancient Greece.

Today, businesses are impacted by change. Competitors introduce new capabilities or services, customers' loyalty shifts from brands towards value propositions, and new and exciting players disrupt the market altogether.

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Directing Flow

January 5, 2021

Introducing organizational change is a tricky business, especially when it involves new technology. Even seemingly innocuous changes to technology can have a far-reaching impact on your organization, disrupting the ways you work. Your initial vision of a smooth implementation, rapid adoption, and a high return on investment is easy to say, not so easy to achieve. For example, it is widely discussed that 70% of transformations fail.

As health specialists and governments encourage employees to work from home en masse, many employers start fearing the impact on their teams’ productivity. After all, the agile manifesto states as one of its principles:

The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

Are we doomed to return to less agile ways of working? Will we see productivity plummet? Will we see new value being released only ever so often?

Online teams are less effective than collocated teams

Let’s first start with this breaking down this statement.

The main difference between online (or remote) and collocated teams is the way in which they communicate. Collocated teams benefit from what Alistair Cockburn calls osmotic communication. You could explain it as transfer of information and knowledge by virtue of being in physical proximity with your team, where all work is done, where all frustrations are voiced and all intentional and unintenti...

Project vs Product

March 9, 2020

We talk about this a lot but do not always do a good job of explaining why it is so important. I would argue not understanding this difference and developing this mindset can cause your whole transformation to stall.

So what do we mean when we say project vs product and why is it so critical?

Read below for my thoughts on the topic.

Your organization is changing and undergoing transformation. You’ve rolled out Agile (Scrum and Kanban), you’ve scaled it (SAFe, LeSS, etc.) and even applied DevOps practices (you’re using Kubernetes right? Isn’t that DevOps?) Yet still, millions later, the purported value has yet to materialize.

So how come, after all this work, we still have not realized the value?

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, perhaps we are still stuck in old ways of thinking. Real transformation requires new ways of thinking about the problems and in the case of the examples above, have we really changed? (Kubernetes is an orchestration framework for containers and does not equate to having adopted DevOps).

With millions spent already, what are we missing?

When Chris Chapman, a friend and colleague, referred to an article on LinkedIn to explain his growing disinterest in Open Space conferences, I started writing a quick reply. The quick reply soon outgrew the limitations for a LinkedIn response and therefore ended up as this blog post.

First of all: I love Open Spaces, absolutely love them. Second, it’s a shame there’s not more real ones…

Our ultimate objective is to help our customers be successful. We have strong opinions on what successful companies look like and what is important for an organizational culture to support sustainable success, but that is a topic for another time. For the technology organizations or departments we work with, our objective loosely translates to

help our customers get the biggest return of their IT investment

Many organizations put their faith in Agile and DevOps practices to achieve this, but fail to get the results they are hoping for.

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