I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of agility, and why companies would even bother with it in the first place. Too often these days, I see agility becoming its own purpose, exposed by language of “We need to be more agile!” or “that’s not agile” or “Do X because it’s agile” or even “Because X is part of the transformation roadmap.” My conversations with executives and transformation leaders often explore root causes and underlying problems, and yet too often the leader I’m working with will dig through a few layers and land on “and we need a Scrum team” or “because we’re doing SAFe” or some such… which is fine, but doesn’t go far enough.

Here’s the thing. I can’t really blame them, because the frameworks and conversations and community rants on X vs. Y all fail to provide sufficient answers to the question “why agile?” Digging into this one a little bit led me to realize I can’t even blame the frameworks or thought leaders, because invariably frameworks are crafted for a generalized environment, while purpose is unique and deeply contextual.

So, when my long-time friend and collaborator Hillel Glazer contacted me about contributing an article to the Cutter Business Technology Journal about Disruptive Agility, I leapt at the challenge. After all, what’s more disrupting to agility than failing to account for local context.

In the article, I explore four critical moves companies need to make when exploring agile for a team that aren’t effectively addressed by most of the frameworks and guidance around large-scale agility today:

Don’t splinter your transformation: treat all aspects as part of one holistic effort and focus on outcomes, not “Agile” or “DevOps.”

Fit agility to the team: have a company-wide common language for how teams work, while constantly encouraging team-specific practices that accelerate that team’s value.

Align around the full value: ensure that each team can own the end-to-end delivery of value, especially if that end-to-end mandate doesn’t fit existing organizational boundaries.

Define mandates and write charters: create precise clarity on expectations and outcomes for each and every team, and keep them updated and fresh.

I imagine we will continue to explore each of these topics more deeply in future posts and in our private webinar series. That said, if you have any questions or want to explore the implications of fit-for-purpose agility in your business, please contact us!


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