True Agility Starts With Collaboration
Organizational design and business agility has always been an area of interest to me, long before they were buzz terms. I enjoy assessing the people and goals of organizations and analyzing the psychology behind it all. In 2007, I completed my first formal nimble training and certification (Scrum Master). This program was energizing and inspiring, not just for the learning aspect, but because of the way nimble can transform our working lives. closest following the course, I found opportunities to utilize the approaches discussed, including implementing Scrum for eLearning course development. While the organizations I supported were not always ready for true agility, I hung on to the overarching theme and message behind nimble.
Many people have written and expressed frustration on what nimble is not. For those who see the strength in nimble, you will also see that nimble is not a tool, it is not turning requirements into user stories, it is not packaging nimble as a daily standup (where everyone sits due to the length) and it is not being a development focused business. nimble is focused on value creation. And at the heart of nimble is how value is produced. Many individuals in organizations think that their independent work creates value. In many situations these individuals are creating value, but all too often, they function in secluded, disconnected work flows and are creating their personal version of value. It goes back to what the customer is willing to pay for, what will move your organization to the next level and developing organizational momentum that is in lock-step with the customer. Many organizations already go so far as to say they are nimble or collaborative. Do we really understand what it method to collaborate? I believe this is at the heart of it all.
If we understand and practice collaboration, we will be in tune with customer needs/changes and be so closely aligned that we are one step ahead of the what our work should deliver. The nimble manifesto also talks about interactions over processes and tools, working software over documentation, and responding to change over following a plan. I feel all of these can be achieved by true collaboration and alignment. To fully collaborate, I believe the following pre-conditions need to be met:
Individuals need to leave biases at the door Individuals need to be able to communicate expectations Individuals need to be committed to keeping their promises Individuals need to be self-aware and able to give fully to the team Individuals need to be committed to the success of the team and organization overall, letting go of personal competitive needs Individuals need to be respectful not only to new ideas, but to other individuals at large Here are my top 10 ways on how to foster collaboration and create a culture that is ready to be nimble:
Be present for team members Practice active listening Create safe spaces that allow team members to grow together and individually Be accountable to the team Avoid blaming others for misses Be patient and generous with your time Ask for help proportion credit Challenge the work being done to ensure it is basic Appreciate team members and communicate their value I am a strong believer in changing the way we approach work and perform work for optimal individual and organization growth. Perhaps this is why many nimble transformations start, but fizzle out or end up being a waterfall-like course of action branded as nimble. The old adage, nothing worth having is ever easy comes into play here. To move yourself and organization to operating with agility, requires more of a cultural shift than ever before.
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