That Change Show

Is Agile dead or are agile people just bitter that they don't recognize it anymore?

February 04, 2024 Lean Change Management Season 2 Episode 4
That Change Show
Is Agile dead or are agile people just bitter that they don't recognize it anymore?
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Is Agile a relic of a bygone era or a methodology evolving right before our eyes? We grapple with this conundrum, reminiscing about Agile's humble beginnings and its expansion, much like the growth of the NHL. With Ken Rickard and guest insights from Michael Laurie of Bayer, this episode is a deep dive into the essence of Agile in today's fast-paced world. We talk about transforming the managerial landscape, where companies like Morningstar are pioneering high-trust, high-accountability environments, questioning the very role of a traditional manager in the process.

Agile's philosophical underpinnings take center stage as we discuss its commercialization and how newer generations embed it into their work culture—almost instinctively. We unfold the layers of Agile's metamorphosis, scrutinizing movements like "Take Agile Back" and Agile Uprising that challenge homogenized frameworks. With Donna Jones's perspectives on resilience and stewardship, we explore the intricacies of leading transformational journeys and the pivotal role of transparency in steering organizations towards true agility.

Navigating the turbulent waters of organizational change, we look at the adaptive landscape that modern enterprises must traverse to survive and thrive. Shedding light on the transformative shifts in structure and culture, we ponder Agile's future and the evolving role of leadership. The discussion culminates with an affirmation that Agile is far from extinct; instead, it's an ever-adapting discipline that beckons continuous learning and flexibility. Join us as we chart the course of business agility and the enduring search for organizational resilience.

Join hosts Ken Rickard and Jason Little for this exciting episode of That Change Show.

Jason Little is an internationally acclaimed speaker and author of Lean Change Management, Change Agility and Agile Transformation: 4 Steps to Organizational Transformation. That Change Show is a live show where the topics are inspired by Lean Change workshops and lean coffee sessions from around the world. Video versions on Youtube

Speaker 1:

We'll try the AI companion too. All right, it is Sunday, february 4th, one week away from Super Bowl Sunday, and I'm joined again by Ken Rickard, and both of us were a little disappointed that the Lions didn't make it, but so I guess that's a dilemma for who you're cheering for next week.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, huh, I don't know. I really like Brock Purdy because he's kind of the underdog. Chiefs has won a couple already, so, yeah, I'd probably go with the 49ers.

Speaker 1:

Okay, and I think all the betting lines are whether or not Kelsey's going to propose to Taylor if they win. Oh gosh, really. So the whole day is going to be bombarded with all that stuff. So that's what should be. It's like people will bet on anything. There's another bet on the duration of the national anthem.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, somehow I feel like the pendulum has swung a little too far in the other direction. I'm not sure when it becomes about the betting sports matter anymore. I guess it has to.

Speaker 1:

But yeah, exactly which. Hey, maybe that's a good segue into the topic. So, welcome to that change show. And this topic is seemed to have been dominating my feed on LinkedIn all the previous week, which is is Agile dead. And here we go again with is Agile dead. Long live Agile. So let's jump into this meaty topic. So, when you hear that phrase, what does that mean to you?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, hmm, yeah, is Agile dead? Well, I suspect that the original Manifesto creators intended to for it to be one thing, and, as humans do, they will kind of bastardize and commodify things. You know, it's kind of our human nature in a way, and so I think when people say Agile's dead to me, I think what they're really saying is that the original intent of what it was supposed to be, or at least the initial spark of what they had created, isn't really there anymore. How about you? What do you think?

Speaker 1:

Hmm, yeah, yeah, very similar. I think it's kind of a case of the NHL expansion syndrome. When I was chatting with my mom over the weekend, was you know, back in my day, there were six teams and I could remember all the names and the games were fun, and now I don't understand this new fangled blah, blah, blah and I can't. So as things grow and expand, how you were introduced to those things is largely going to be different, as other people latch onto it and modify the ideas and I think when at least from the people that I've seen that write about it it's not the way it was in the mid 2000s or so. Therefore, it's dead when it's almost like. You know, I don't like this anymore.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, not the way I originally intended it to be, so therefore, to me it's dead yeah.

Speaker 1:

And I wonder what's the like? I don't know, I got dragged into a whole bunch of is change management dead things. A while back Somebody posted something on Reddit about one of the banks in Australia and somebody tagged me in it. I said I wonder what Jason thinks I'm like. Who cares what Jason thinks Like? Why are you bringing me into this? I don't work with them, right, exactly. So I write a post about it and then all the change thought leaders pile on with passive, aggressive comments about some people say change management is dead and they don't understand this out of the other. I'm like you're gonna just call me out by name, or what Are you gonna? You know?

Speaker 2:

So I would say, those people hold strong beliefs that yes yeah, that's true.

Speaker 1:

So I wonder what? I don't know. What do you want to get out of trying to start a let's restart agile movement, or what are you trying to prove by talking about? Is change dead or is agile dead or whatever? I don't get it, because for me it's sort of I don't care that a bank is not doing agile right. I posted this on LinkedIn this morning where, because a friend of mine posted a really good article about the origins and XP and stuff and it reminded me of a story at holiday time. My nephew was over and he's early twenties, I guess, working for one of the big banks here and I don't know how they started talking about this. Like the whole family was over and he threw out the word scrum master when he was just talking about his job and one of the family members was like what the hell is that? So he says, well, the scrum master is the person who assigns the work to the team and manages to make sure that it gets done. So I wipe the turkey off my hands and peek my head into the living room and yeah, that's kind of the opposite of what a scrum master is. So you've got this whole new generation of people going into enterprises and learning that, not learning at all what the intent is.

Speaker 2:

Yeah Well, it's interesting. I mean, my kids are in their twenties and they kind of have grown up over these past 10, 15 years with me working in this space, and so I've asked them before like, what do they think agile is? And they have a shorter answer is generally right, you know, if right can even be the word I can use there. But what's interesting is that I don't know. I think some, some of the younger generation coming up, I don't think they can understand or even believe that when they hit the workforce they're actually going to hit a workforce where management and leadership is very 20th century, still Most entrenched in that behavioral pattern, because to them agile is just like what makes sense to them. They don't even, it doesn't even need to be called agile, right, because they're like yeah well, why would anyone work any other way? That makes no sense to me, you know. So I think, and even for my daughter, who's I guess she'll be 25 here in a few months, but you know, she's starting to realize that corporate America is not with the times, let's say. You know, they just move much slower than I think, than the consciousness of society.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I don't know, maybe we noticed with our kids going through school that it's. You know, you still obviously get marked individually and stuff. But there's a lot more collaboration and team related things that at least our kids would do in school, more team based projects where you're given an objective and you know the team of four split the work up on their own and they figure out how to get it done, and then somebody complains about the one person who's not doing any of their part and all this kind of stuff. But they're almost operating like miniature scrum teams I would. I would kind of call them from from what they described. And then, yeah, I think it's exactly like you said you you go and get handcuffed to your desk and your cubicle and you give it your personal objectives and you're judged on your individual performance and it's not the way that they're coming out of school.

Speaker 2:

And I think this is only.

Speaker 1:

Let's separate enterprise agile from actual agile, because I've worked with a lot of medium and smaller companies that still kick ass with it and do it well. I think most of the stuff that we're seeing around agile is dead is enterprise.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, or what I would call commodified, yeah, you know the kind of what's gone wrong with agile. Yeah, I mean when people to me, when people think of agile more so. I know agility is a hot word now too because, like, people are kind of abandoning the word agile because it has been kind of stolen in some way. But you know, agility could very easily be the next word that is stolen and kind of bastardized or commodified in such a way that it just kind of gets watered down. But to me, you know, agility really is in a lot of ways the right word, because it's talks about the characteristics or a set of behavioral patterns that you exhibit in order to reach an outcome. And if we stick to that, I think we'll be okay. Where we get ourselves in trouble is only, as human beings, we tend to attach ourselves mentally to these frameworks and so on constructs, essentially.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that was one of the points from a lot of the articles, so I just looked up a few things because, like I said, my whole feed was filled with this stuff and I wanted to find out. when did humanity start talking about this? And probably before this, but 2015,. Dave Thomas did a talk at a conference. Dave Thomas is one of the manifesto creators and that was the title of his talk. Is Agile Dead? So it's not like it's a new topic. That's what eight, nine years ago when he was talking about that, what 14 years after the manifesto was created. So I think the people latching onto it now that we're just getting started when he was already talking about Agile being dead. It's like this rolling wave of I got introduced to this thing in 2015 and it was great back then, but from Dave's perspective, it was already turning to shit back then. So a lot of these articles and things that I've seen talk about exactly what you're describing is, as soon as the big consulting firms started creating transformation offices and standards and process and rollout programs and stuff, it lost Like that was where the intention was kind of gone.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. It is refreshing, though, to see some of the larger companies start to make a shift towards you know, they must have been in their you know the, you know the you know kind of valley of hey, this is never going to work. We've got to be able to do something in a different way, like start thinking in a different way. Yeah, bear is the one I was going to. You know, this morning I woke up. This is in my LinkedIn feed. You know I tend to wake up. I'll just do a quick scroll through a little bit of LinkedIn just kind of see what's going on. This was like the fourth thing down and I was like, wow, this, this sounds very interesting. There was a guy, michael Laurie. I'm not familiar with Michael Laurie I probably should be given what he's talking about but he's talking about how Bear is actually taking on the kind of higher micro enterprise approach, and I thought, wow, that's really interesting. I'm going to be paying close attention to this. He says he's going to kind of post a regular updates and so on. So I think this, to me, is very interesting, and so much so that I actually sent it to an HR person I've been working with, because I want people to see this article. I want people to see that big companies are taking on new ways of working that are going to enable them to succeed in ways that they never have before. So it's not their current thinking, it's an elevated plane of thinking, and I think that's what's important to recognize here.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so he's working at Bear.

Speaker 2:

It looks like it. Like I said, I'm not familiar with the guy. Let me just scroll down, as, yeah, he says he's the chief catalyst. Okay, at Bear full time. He's been there five months only, though. So anyway, michael Laurie, we're talking about you on the podcast. So yes, there we go.

Speaker 1:

This is going to be interesting because, well, this article was what? January 18th? So what a week ago-ish? Yeah, right, a couple of weeks ago. And this idea I mean people are obviously they're going to latch onto the title. It's managerial staff and 100% guaranteed that you're going to get all the agile folks saying we've been saying this for 20 years If you want to be more agile, you got to get rid of all your middle managers because they're not needed in an agile environment. And that might be a response to all the agile coaches and scrum master jobs that we've seen. You know Capital One got rid of. I hope I get the number right. Was it a thousand or 1200 or agile?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it was big news, yeah, last year, I don't remember what the number was, yeah, but it was big news at the time.

Speaker 1:

And that's one of many of agile coaches or scrum masters being let go en masse. And now Bayer may be doing the opposite. You know getting rid of the managers, so maybe the agile coaches will go. Yay, there's a victory.

Speaker 2:

Well, I still feel like there's a model in the future that says that I don't know, I guess. Let me back up and say one other thing. You know, to me, organizations, companies in general, should hire adults who behave like adults and we should treat them like adults. And if that holds true, then we shouldn't need quote unquote managers.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

What people probably need is they need better ways to navigate complex systems and like it's likely that one of the best people to do that is a coach, whether it be a team coach or an enterprise coach, somebody who understands coaching, somebody who understands interpersonal relationships and behavioral patterns and the beliefs that set behind those things. To me, this is really what organizations need, not a whole bunch of managers that are managing things.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, somebody, yeah it's. I've worked in some organizations where they've called, where they call the manager it's the manager of the team, like people report to them for the purposes of the org chart, but they call them support people. So even though the hierarchy says yes, these humans report to this other human. The behavior is supposed to be one of coaching, which, from working in this organization on and off for a few years, they did help navigate the organization to a certain extent. A lot of it was navigating the politics and doing things like managing budgets. So when teams are shared across the organization and different departments are paying these teams to do features or whatever for these shared systems, you know the manager is saying, okay, the weekly meeting was okay, biff, you're going to bill eight hours to this project, so we can keep that. You're going to bill seven hours to that project. So they're just, they're just almost acting like an orchestrator to not rock the boat in the status quo. So they're not assigning the work and all this stuff. They're still responsible for performance and reviews and stuff, but they're kind of acting like that, that navigator.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, and there's probably value in that. I'm not saying that all systems can just throw all their managers out and, and you know, not have that kind of role. It reminds me of Morningstar. You know there's a. There's a video that's been out there for I don't know it's probably been a decade or so on YouTube about Morningstar and it, and it does a really nice job. It's only about eight minutes long and it goes through and they interview Gosh. What's that? When his title pops up on the screen, it doesn't even call him a coach or anything. I forget exactly what his title is, but he's the guy that's helping them change. Essentially. They go and they interview employees. There's one employee that talks about how, given his role, he's like I have no boss. I think they ask him a question. They're like hey, who's your boss? He says I have no boss and then he goes Well, actually everyone that works here is my boss, because we're accountable to each other and we work together in order to make sure that we achieve the things that we're trying to achieve. And there's another guy later in the video that talks about how he's like look, he was a an equipment person, like their lines where they process tomatoes and he's like look, if I need an $80,000, I forget the equipment he talks about. He's like you know what? No one around here is going to complain if I purchase an $80,000 piece of equipment, because they trust me, they know that we need it and they can. My decision, ultimately, is trusted in the organization. And that kind of behavioral pattern that is so foreign to so many organizations they probably can't even comprehend what a limited management kind of organizational architecture looks like.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, and that, that pattern of well, I guess, the anti pattern of not trusting people to make those kinds of decisions. Some of the articles, I'll put them up on the screen here and we'll put these in the show notes as well. We're talking about things like that when we're trying to bring in change, the thing that killed Agil and prevented us from getting to that state of radical self organization or what bear calls their, their dynamic shared ownership model, and then we're going to make those little cutesy Spotify videos and then everybody's going to latch onto those and then everybody will hate it.

Speaker 2:

That's the human thing to do, though.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, let's be like Spotify. Let's lose billions of dollars every year. That's great because we have cool looking videos. I derailed my own train of thought, but it was when the big companies just to come back to the previous thought of big companies started using these transformation offices and they tried to standardize and they tried to roll things out. I think you've got a really good model that describes this behavior is when we value stability. The way that we create stability is to get stability is to create standards.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, or best practices. I mean, that fits underneath there too. Yeah, you can't tell you how many places they go into and they're like well, we just need to figure out what our best practices and then we just everybody needs to be on the same page about the best practice.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think we might have touched on this in the Agil transformation one we did a couple of episodes ago, where when companies want to do something new, they create another stack of hierarchy for it. So I saw this through. You know, they might have already had a lean six Sigma process improvement group and that wasn't working. So then they brought in a change management group and then a transformation group and then an agile coaching group and then an intrapreneur group. I've seen lean startup ones. Now there's business agility, transformation offices and stuff, and they just keep adding this complexity onto their organization by following this inner loop. And if we just if we just standardize it in the right way, then we'll get control. But they're not getting control, they're getting obedience. People aren't thinking.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, there's that day's Snowden quote. I think it was from a conference I watched a year or two ago that they had done. It was like Agile agnostic conference or something like that. It was all recorded, it was global. I think I found it on YouTube and he had had a quote on there. He said that you know, you can't, you can't scale by aggregation, you can only scale by decomposition and then recombination. And actually he said the quote about safe. I tend to cut that part out because I don't want people to have a knee jerk reaction to the quote. The quote is valid. If we put it to something that somebody has a strong feeling about, they will start to get defensive, most likely.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And so I'll generally say the quote without the fact of the context that he said it about safe, but the quote is very true, it holds true, it's just like gold's law, you know, and that's ultimately what the vortex of behavioral patterns is trying to get at. Is this idea that, you know, if we have a current system that operates in one way because it's fueled by these behavioral, behavioral patterns, which is, essentially, we put some things into the system and we get something out of the system because we desire these things, in the center, top of the, you know, the organization is fueled by ban. It means that the organization is, is setting a tone or a culture, you could say even, and then therefore a climate as well, and you know what it is that they're, they're trying to achieve and how they're trying to get there. And then, in the vortex, it makes sense actually take existing very good models that are out there today Bob Anderson's leadership levels that go from egocentric up to integral leadership, leluz, levels of organizational development, which is the conformist achievement, pluralistic which the word I always tend to screw up unless I stop and think about it and then evolutionary, and of course you know we we've talked about Schneider's model to the one on the right there. So he has a culture and leadership model where he has very similar words. He uses, you know, control, competence, collaboration, cultivation. You can take all those models and you can set them next to each other, like I've done here in the bottom of the vortex, and you can kind of just follow the band around and you can see kind of what the behavioral patterns are, and then you can see what's fueled at the top, so what's being put into the system, what's coming out of the system. And then of course there's organizational gravity. That sets in the center, because the organization is always trying to fall back to the status quo. So anybody that's trying to change the system has to overcome the gravity of the system itself in order to change it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and, and I know, at least in the in the Schneider model, he talks about how it's in a quadrant and you shift by moving to the adjacent quadrant so you can't move from control to cultivation. You have to move from control to competence or collaboration to get to cultivation and I think that's one of that. That was an overall theme of a lot of these is agile. Dead things is you know that, like I said, the transformation office trying to roll out these standards but the agile coaches coming in with language that's in that outer circle which is too far away from the organization's current reality, like coming into a control oriented thing that wants to implement standards and best practices and all this type of stuff and the best agile coaches could do. Well, that's not agile. You just have to be agile. So when they're coming in at a plane of adaptability or evolutionary, you know, with a cult cultivation type of cultural attitude, that's too far away from what these organizations know and what's made them successful, right yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think you know so many organizations. I think if you look at Lelue's book reinventing organizations he talks about in there that there's a high percentage of organizations that are operating in that achievement kind of orange level. Bob Anderson's book, mastering leadership he talks about how most humans operate in a reactive leadership level. That's exact same as the achievement. I mean, it's on the same plane, you know. So there's, there's science that backs these things up and research has been done by these, the folks that built these models on the bottom, and what I was trying to do is just try to finish the finish the thought, in a way, because the top part tries to help you better understand how your individual system is working, given what you're putting into it and what you're trying to get out, and then what you're focused on or what your organization is fueled by.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, and we talked a little bit about the waves of transformation, and a couple of episodes ago as well, it's almost like each of these rings is one of the transformational waves. Maybe you take a few trips around the organizational gravity while you're in control, because we talked about how the first kick at the can is the best practice, the standards, etc. And you learn oh, maybe this isn't the right set of standards, maybe we need a different set of standards. And then eventually you get to well, maybe it isn't the process. So once you get into that realization and self actualization that it isn't the best practices or the standards of the process that's going to help us get to where we want to go, you start to move into the next rung, but you've still got gravity pulling you back. You've still got the problem of hey you've had your 12 months to make this transformation work. Vp of Agile person yeah. And then the next person comes in, maybe with the same cultural attitude as the organization. They say, oh, it didn't work last time because this VP was too fluffy and was too much about values and principles and wasn't specific enough with standards. And then they're going to come in with my playbook and my blah and you get sucked back into gravity because they want to operate within the same cultural view.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and in you know, I mean so many organizations are in the top 1000, you know fortune companies and those are bigger companies. Inherently. It's what the system and society has built over time and that's just the way things are right now. And so you're going to walk into those organizations and you're going to see pockets of good and you're going to see pockets of kind of middle of the road and you're going to see pockets are really bad and the behaviors that each one of those pockets kind of exhibit are going to be all over this vortex. And I think the thing is a coach, what what I'm always trying to do is I'm always trying to make sure that I can as as quickly as I can understand which sometimes is really slow Depending on the complexity and kind of what's going on there but as quickly as I possibly can I'm trying to understand what's there. So walk into the system, understand what's there, understand what my first action should be and understand where they sit roughly, or even ask them where they think they sit on this vortex, because it may help them actually become more self aware. You know, it's going to be interesting, I think, with bear and what they're trying to do. You know. I suspect it sounds like they're doing a little bit more of a wholesale change. I mean, that's pretty disruptive to say that you're going to go to these micro enterprises. That's not something you've done anything remotely close to that in the past, and so I'm going to be real curious to see kind of how they start out. I mean is this is just going to be a little bit closer to a big bang? I suspect it won't be completely big bang, but who knows, maybe you just ripped the bandit off. In his post Michael already he talks about and linked in he said that they're a couple months into it. So I wonder what that looks like.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

Is it? Is it? Hey, we started with one group and we're going to see if this is successful and we're going to see, we're going to essentially get our bumps and bruises here, and then we're going to figure out what it might need to look like for the next group, which, oh, by the way, it's going to be probably different. So what are we going to need to change in order for it to work in the next group? What's the minimal amount of rules we can possibly set in order to allow people to succeed in complexity?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think they. They mentioned 2025. The complete restructuring will start over the next couple of months, be completed by the end of at the latest. So, yeah, and it's funny, hbr had this article. Well, the likelihood of disruption index or something you know for quadrants, where you had companies pharmaceutical companies, tire manufacturers or rubber manufacturers they're in stable industries because there's always going to be a need for those things, no matter what. So their approach to transformation is radically different from, say, consumer electronics. You know people still blame scrum for killing Nokia. They did scrum wrong. Therefore they went out of business. Well, not really. I mean that that whole industry is a commodity and the ones who can do it faster and cheaper went out, and scrum really has nothing to do with it. So it would be interesting to see like this is a pretty ballsy move for a company in this industry.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I just read like that, one, two, three, like fourth, fourth, maybe fifth paragraph down where it talks about how layoffs these are extremely bit. It's a extremely bitter development, no viable alternative. Yeah, interesting.

Speaker 1:

And you imagine, like how much that's gonna, how much that's gonna cost, if they're talking about attractive severance pay, right? Did you mention the numbers? So so they have more than 100,000 people. Does it say roughly how many people are going to be affected by this? I don't see it so far. No.

Speaker 2:

I don't think it was in there.

Speaker 1:

There's, yeah, there's more. Oh boy, yeah, yeah, it will definitely will be a good, good story to follow the and just to switch gears a little bit as we start to get into a bit of the wrap up. These take agile back, agile back things have been popping up as well. So you know, there's the crowd that says agile is dead and big consulting killed it, or I don't like the way it is now compared to the way it used to be, and some people are like no, agile is just fine, because we now have agile uprising, we have the take agile back movement, we have agile manifesto part to agile to Academy. We've got these things that are trying to rescue it from from the ashes, and maybe it's a story like bear that is going to act as the catalyst for big business to realize what the intention of agile was and what it actually takes like. I think you haven't. You and I and people before us have been saying this for ever that a radical transformation isn't is an organizational reorganization and restructuring. It's not a, it's not a process. I mean it's a radical shift in how we choose to group our people together, how we link them together, how we align them to a common cause or purpose, and maybe this is the story that's needed for companies to go. You know what? Maybe we should stop sprinkling the agile pixie dust and maybe we should, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, to me, this is this. I mean, you know, the commodification of it is really the root cause. My opinion, because we we've attached ourselves to a delivery framework and scaling frameworks that have become popular and the human nature is just to grab those things off the shelf and just start using them without understanding context, without understanding exactly what you need. Why do I need that thing? You know, what is it that we do actually need? And so I think that that behavioral pattern has caused a lot of grief and a lot of damage, I think, to our industry and to what we do. And there is a bit of like hey, we need to take back the narrative. I think you know, I mean, I think you and I would probably both say that really the narrative needs to be around change, around adaptability and around evolution or evolving yourself to be more capable over time at handling disruptive change, especially disruptive change that you don't have control over, so that you can actually control more of your disruption inside of your organization instead of being disrupted from the outside. If we just take that wording and start to focus on it, it's boiled down, it's bare bones. I think most people get it. It's not loaded with frameworks and mindset and scrum and safe and all those things. I would love to see us just get back to the basics of adaptability, evolution, get better and change.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, and take the George Costanza approach, so you know the episode where he does the opposite. I've been saying this for a long time.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I remember you talking about that a long time ago?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, it's. That's really the only quote unquote framework you need is we talk about the difference between theory as enacted and espoused theory and we talk about wanting to transform to a new state. You know, people show the picture of the chrysalis turning into the butterfly and they don't realize. Well, it's very much Dave Snowden's point right Decomposition. People don't realize that the caterpillar completely decomposes to turn into something new. It just doesn't. The inside is ugly as hell. If you Google it and you look it up, what's going on inside there is pretty disgusting.

Speaker 2:

It destroys itself. I don't want to.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it destroys itself to a cellular level and recreates itself. So you know. So this, this idea that we're going to use the values and the principles that got us into this mess to transform to a new state, doesn't work. So we've got to use the George Costanza method. We've got to do the opposite of what we normally do. So we have to figure out how do we enact our these, these cultural attributes that we talk about, that we want collaboration and we want to push decision making down, and then we just create a different looking racy matrix. You know we've got to do something. So who knows to bear if it works like? Who knows it's? Who knows if we're going to see a case study, you know, in a year from now? And then when you actually talk to the bear employees, they're like, yeah, it totally didn't work that way at all, because every case study I've seen is is generally, you know, not the real story, because whoever's leading the charge wants notoriety.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I think it's. I think it's really important for bear to do this and to be transparent in the way they're they're being about it and I hope it continues, because higher as a story has been out there for a long time. But that company sits in China and I'm not so sure how, I'm not sure how wide widely known that experiences. I think the video from the guys in the Netherlands, corporate rebels, that they put out has helped with that. They also wrote about it in their book. Gary Hamill wrote about it in his humanocracy book and I think probably a couple other books have written about it as well. But I still run into people all the time who have never even heard of that company, don't don't understand what they've done. I know nothing about why it's important and but a company like bear is actually well known Widely throughout the globe and if they can do it, then I have hope that it'll be a shining example of. Now. I'm putting probably way too much pressure on them, so I apologize for anybody that's hearing this. Yeah, I need to do no pressure, but yeah, it would be nice to see it succeed, that's for sure.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, I wonder what it did to their share price.

Speaker 2:

Interesting I. Hopefully the people at the top know that it, even if it goes down, it will come back up, and probably more so just because of the way they're treating the people and building their system.

Speaker 1:

Yeah yeah, donna Jones talks about this. I saw her do a talk in Estonia stewardship versus traditional organizations and started citing companies that considered that their organization was a living entity and managed it that way, outperformed their peers on the market three to one at least versus oh yeah companies that saw their organization as a machine where they could standardize the parts, optimize the pieces. I'll put a bunch of stuff in the show notes because I don't have any of that information offhand, but there is a in some index that tracks this.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. Well, that makes sense to me because I mean, if you think about the, I just redrew something yesterday. Do you have the image I sent you yesterday about the, the other one, the grid with the five levers? Yeah, right, there, bottom right.

Speaker 1:

This one.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that one. This is probably more complex than than we can explain in the time we got left for the podcast today, but that this makes sense to me, because when we structure our system for stability or ambition, and that's because they're not working together collaboratively in the system and the followers are just followers waiting for orders, it's like you're running a military or something. So it makes a lot of sense for me. For when you say that the people who have structured their organizations in particular ways have found that they're not succeeding and that a company like bears, like look, we have to actually change the way our organization is structured and the way that we think about our organization and the way we think we're going to succeed, well, this is vertical development. And so they're actually vertically thinking about ways to succeed and and they're doing that in ways that they hopefully have never done before. And now they're starting to collaborate, they're starting to be disruptors inside of the organization because they seek connection and adaptability so they're going to structure their organization. All those icons on the right over there, those are just the icons from the five levers of change, and those things are ordered over there depends on how you see the world. So what you see? I seek stability, we're creating followers, okay, great. We need a strong hierarchy. We need a strong strategy. We're going to put technology in the forefront and we're going to put process in the forefront and guess what? We're going to forget about people, because they only just do the work. They're the pair of hands. We just need their hands. That's all. We don't need the brains.

Speaker 1:

So in the case of bear, then if you were going to put them through this, how does your system change? It's always hard to show this stuff because it is more complex than you can put into a diagram. So it's not like they're going to follow one line. They're going to. They're going to probably follow multiple. So one is you could argue, they're starting with structure, we're reorganizing and we're getting rid of our management layer to make to simplify our structure. So you could say that that's the lever they pulled. They pulled the structural lever. Now what's next?

Speaker 2:

Well, yeah, and to go from one line to the next line, to the next line, to the next line, there's always the transformational moves you have to make in order to move things that are generally at the right of that line to the middle end, to the front, as you go along, so you'll notice that people become much more prominent as you go up, because, at the adaptability disruptor level, people come first. So, it's the transformation of how okay, how do we start to put people first so that the people can get together and figure out what it is that needs to be done, and they will come up with a strategy, and that strategy then will tell us how we should structure ourselves to succeed, and then we will pull in processes and technology in order to support the goals and objectives we need. So that top adaptability, disruptor level sounds like where they're trying to get to a kind of networked system of transparent information that shared widely so everybody has information and they can make decisions because, that's how you respond to change quicker, whereas it down at the bottom, the stability follower level only the people at the top have the ability to make decisions because they have all the information. So when strategy is formed, it's then passed down through the hierarchy and then, most likely, technology is dictated. So we're going to use this tool, everyone's going to use it. That that creates stability. And then we're going to use this process because we need people to conform. So it's about trying to transform to get to the next level and then transform again to get to the next level, and you know we've talked about this before. Like transform is probably not really a great word. It's really just about adapting in the short term and the and evolving in the long term in order to keep rising in a vertical sense across this grid.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, the transformation is more of a marketing term. It just it sounds good, it sounds nice, it sounds like, oh yeah, there's going to be a new state that we're going to get to, but it obviously it's a lot more complex than that. So when we get in, just to get into a wrap up, I guess we'll do do a wrap up of this whole. Is agile dead thingy from each of our perspectives? As you were chatting, I was. I was thinking about, obviously, bear, if they're getting rid of their managerial staff. Agile coaches have been going through this for the last couple of years. I know here in Toronto it's all but impossible to get an Agile coaching consulting gig. Nobody's hiring or they're letting go of their COEs completely and stuff like that. So I think if we're in this stage of the movement, maybe it's time for Agile coaches to get back to what Agile coaching was, which is you're becoming a team member instead, because I think there was a lot of maybe too many instances of coaches coming in who might be good coaches, but maybe they've never worked on software before, so it's hard for the teams to relate to them. This is a topic for another time. You know, should your coach have any subject matter expertise, but maybe coaches now can start working on teams again you know, getting involved with product development, moving into a change role. The change community has been talking about change coaching. I talked to somebody last week about the same thing. It seems like maybe change managers need to stop being change managers and need to be coaches and this whole idea that there's these people that can work in the white space to plug the cracks or to work between the cracks, work between the interactions and things like that people who are just good problem solvers, so maybe this whole is Agile dead can lead to, hopefully maybe the merging of the two communities change in Agile plus less over specialization, so you don't have HR learning in development, training, agile coaching, process improvement, change managers, project managers. You've got a group of people that are good problem solvers that help and support the people who deliver the direct value as opposed to delivering. You know what my role says that I'm supposed to do, so maybe this will be a good trigger for a lot of Agile coaches to start to broaden their skills and yeah, I agree.

Speaker 2:

I mean, in the past two months I think I've run two classes and I I've had the most people I've had since the pandemic started first of all, attend and then, secondly, the most diverse role types, from technical people to tech, like cybersecurity, product people, developers, architects. It is not that it has not been the typical coach or change person that I've always gotten previously, and I think that says something. What it says to me is that, just like Agile, like by now everyone should understand Agile. Unfortunately, they don't. But I would say the same thing about change like change has been constant for so long and the human just timeline that we should all be pretty good at it by now and yet we're not. So if, if, if. I could probably say anything about what people probably should do is that I feel like they should go and get really good at change, which means they need to learn about behavioral patterns and belief systems that set behind those things and learn to not solve problems just with technology and process, and so if everybody becomes the change or the an agent of change, then now the system should be really really good at changing.

Speaker 1:

So, to wrap up with the question is Agile dead? What would you say if you had a few bullet points?

Speaker 2:

I would say no, it's just growing up.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's a good one. It's just growing up. Yeah, well, now I got to ask you to expand on that bullet point. What is growing up Meaning?

Speaker 2:

let's double click on that I just came came to my head. But I mean it's, you know. I mean kids do the same thing, right? And I have a three year old grandson and the things that he cares about right now are cars. He loves cars. He has a rug in his room. He plays with cars on the rug all the time. Fast forward another five years, he probably won't play with cars as much. He'll find a new toy. Fast forward another couple of years, he gets into his teen years. He's probably going to find a point when he stops playing with toys altogether and he'll have another hobby or thing that he does. And so I think that's where. That's where Agile is. In my opinion, it's just growing up into the next stage of life. And to me, I think that next stage of life for Agile is to focus on change, on adapting. Like, let's go back to what likely the core was and let's talk about adapting in the short term and evolving over the long term. Let's focus on that, let's get really good at that.

Speaker 1:

Yep, that is a good way to sum it up. I'd say no, it's not dead. I think it's just people. People get frustrated whenever anyone says a thing is dead Scrum, agile, change, whatever. I think it's just a level of frustration that it doesn't look like the picture that I have in my head and therefore I need to lash out and try to wrestle it back from the people who've taken this thing away from me. It'd be interesting to talk to a psychologist about that phenomenon, because it's definitely misdirected frustration. I don't want to say anger, but misdirected frustration. And, like I said, if you're an individual practitioner, why does it bother? You start your own thing, start your own company or jump in as a team member in a really awesome Agile company, don't worry about if a bank's not doing it right, it really doesn't matter. How is that affecting your life as a human? It's one of the big reasons why I stopped deep-invented consulting and enterprises quite a while ago, because I was, like you know what I'm number one not really the right person for this. They want process improvement. I want something more. This just isn't satisfying to me anymore, so I started just working with other smaller companies instead.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, for me, I think the key thing we've probably talked about this format effect. I think we talked about it the last time I was on the podcast. The big shift in the last five years for me is that I've started to realize that I'm actually working on the system, helping it change, rather than working in the system. Because when I feel like I'm in the system, I feel like I'm impacted, I'll play the victim. I'll blame the people or the system that they have. They're not changing. But when I'm actually working on the system, I turn myself into an agent of change. And now my working bench is the system itself and the people that are in it, and now my job is to signal, spark and facilitate change.

Speaker 1:

Excellent, all right, so let's I know said we're going to wrap this up for like the last 10 minutes, but let's actually wrap it up. Everything we talked about will be in the show notes and, yeah, add your thoughts. You can go to thatchainshowcom. You can find all of the previous episodes, show notes, links, everything for every episode of thatchainshowcom or at leanchangetv, and we'd be interested to hear what other folks think about this. So, thanks a lot for listening. Thanks for joining me. When I mentioned an hour before I was going to record, I was like hey do you? want to talk about this in the podcast today. If you've got nothing to do on a Sunday morning, so, yeah, yeah, thanks for having me. All right. Thanks a lot for the a minute andariat余rae and then I won. Thank you a lot for all the audience input, you introduction and your Het spline. Thanks a bunchy everyone. I'm sorry, I'm terrible. I did a quickDoes help. Thank you a bunchy.

Evolution and Misinterpretation of Agile
Exploring New Approaches to Management
Exploring Organizational Transformation and Behavioral Patterns
Challenges and Opportunities in Agile Transformation
Agile's Evolution and Future Outlook