What Does Agility Look Like?

What Does Agility Look Like?

In this episode, David and Justin continue to unpack what becoming an agile organization looks like, complete with pragmatic tips on what to transfer away from in your firm as well as what to transfer toward. Here are the notes from the show:

  • There are four primary forces contributing to the speed in which agility is being adopted in organizations today:
    • In a VUCA world with increased automation, there is less human work that is truly routine
    • Software eats the world, and becomes ubiquitous in almost every product and service, management methods have emerged for software development become relevant for running the whole business
    • Software processes themselves are becoming more agile, the constraints posed by slow moving bureaucratic operations in back office functions become a serious problem
    • Bureaucracy is costly in organizations – 3 trillion per year estimated
  • Check out the Robot Curve from Marty Neumeier in Metaskills
  • Hiearchy kills creativity. Here’s what hierarchy looks like:
    • Strategy get’s set at the top
    • Power trickles down
    • Big leaders appoint little leaders
    • Individuals compete for promotions
    • Compensation correlates with rank
    • Tasks are assigned
    • Managers assess performance
    • Rules tightly circumscribe discretion
    • Bureaucracy constitutes the operating system for almost every large scale organization on the planet.
  • Contrast that with “heteroarchy”
    • Flat structure
    • Similar to what Paul speaks of in 1 Cor
  • 8 Characteristics of heteroarchies/agile organizations:
    • Mission driven
    • Small, autonomous teams
    • Competence across the organization
    • Manager’s role is to facilitate (not dictate)
    • Short cycles of work
    • Daily check-ins (“stand ups”)
    • Feedback loops help the team learn
    • More opportunity to get into creative “flow”
  • Transition away from hierarchy takes time!
  • Once again, the body metaphor is appropriate for this transition, especially the Body of Christ as it also includes the “one-another commands” of serving others to the benefit of the whole

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