In this blog post, I would like to share my overall learnings and 7 key takeaways, from an HR perspective, one of the largest and successful Agile transformations that I have taken part in at the Telecom Company Ericsson. I would love to listen in to your reflections too, so please feel free to share your thoughts, challenges, and experiences in the comments below.
The part of Ericsson where I worked, had a need to improve the quality, drastically shorten the lead time for delivery and increase customer value within the same, or even shrinking, budget. After searching both internally and externally for “best of breed” in terms of product development, we decided to go the Lean & Agile way.
During this period, I was an HR Business Partner for 2 units, each one of them was + 1800 people. This was combined with the role of Lean & Agile HR Driver for the business unit (BU) and People Strategy Driver, which in turn led to the role of HR representative in the BU Lean & Agile change program, basically a project office for the transformation.
In this presentation, Mia will share ideas and examples that enable Agile change and Agile ways of working, making any organization high performing by removing hindering structures and empowering the employees to deliver customer- and employee value.
In the world of today speed and flexibility is even more important than ever before. Unfortunately, this is the opposite of what our organizations have been constructed for.
Ofta när jag kommer in som agil coach för att stödja i en agil transformation har organisationen så fullt upp med det dagliga arbetet att man knappt mäktar med att tänka förändring. Förhoppningen är att den agila coachen gör förändringen åt organisationen, men om så skulle vara fallet så försvinner ju också förändringen när den agila coachen försvinner. Ett annat sätt att jobba är att göra förändringen i befintliga roller. Under åren som jag jobbade med agila transformationer som anställd, hade jag en chefsroll som plattform för förändringsarbetet. Jag experimenterade med nya former, utmanade mina kollegor, coachade mina team och utbildade både mig själv och organisationerna i det agila mindsetet. Samtidigt skedde förändringen.
-Management teamet som tog sig från att jobba med sina egna agendor till gemensam tavla med backlogg, retrospektiv och självorganisering utan avdelningschef.
-De individuella utvecklingssamtalen, som efter ett antal iterationer skedde gemensamt i teamen med respekt för både teamets uppgift och individens utveckling.
-Organisationens gemensamma dag i varje sprint där alla la tid på lärande och utveckling, antingen genom att lära sig själv eller lära ut till andra.
Att engagera mig som interimschef innebär alltså att jag tar på mig samma operativa arbetsuppgifter som ordinarie chef skulle ha haft. När jag satt mig in i det dagliga, ser jag snabbt var det skaver och vilka experiment som skull kunna provas för att ta ett steg i utvecklingen mot en mer agil organisation. Jag är då med och tar ansvar för de möjligheter till lärande experimentet medför och gemensamt tar vi sedan även nästa steg. Så småningom när transformationen har stabiliserats och förändring har blivit en del av den dagliga rytmen är det också dags för mig att kliva av interimstjänsten. När det tillfället blir kommer att visa sig, kanske faller det sig naturligt att ha en chefstjänst mindre då. 🙂
Many organizations are in need of leveraging Agile across the organization to improve collaboration, shorten lead times and improve quality. One great way to do that is to use Agile online trainingsand facilitate the learning journey in different ways and embedding learning in your every-day work.
Since we will only get the impact of doing trainings when people actually use their learnings, starting to act and think differently all online trainings should focusing on driving curiosity, shared learnings and action.
To support organizations in tactics on how to engage and activate people through online trainings we created this poster that shows some ideas on how you can enable continuous learning and growth.
We are so happy to be able to share the Customer Journey Product Organization Poster with you for free also in Spanish! Thank you so much Daniela Palacios Rozas for your awesome work with the translation 🙂
We are so happy to be able to share the Agile in a Nutshell Poster with you for free also in traditional Chinese! Thank you so much, Paulino Kok and his team at agilizing.com for your awesome work with the translation 🙂
Webinar med Joaquim Linder från MittMedia/Bonnier News och Mia Kolmodin som facilititator.
Själva webinaret startar 09:00
BAKGRUND & INNEHÅLL I många organisationer är det svårt och stökigt att jobba med KPIer på ett effektivt sätt. Känner du igen dig i att olika delar av organisationen har olika KPIer (Key Performance Indicators), som ofta mäter det som ”ser bra ut” i stället för vad som egentligen är viktigt, som kanske drar åt olika håll, och ingen agerar på vad de visar?
Om man har ambitionen att skapa en Agil organisation så kan det här vara en viktig systemförändring som behöver ske för att låsa upp organisationen ur dödläget som ofta finns och möjliggöra samarbete och iterativt arbete tvärs över hela organisationen. Välkommen på en djupdykning in i mätbarhetens härliga värld. Lär dig hur rätt KPIer kan hjälpa er att nå visionen genom att möjliggöra effektiva leveranser på strategin.
JOAKIM LINDER Joaquim Linder är ansvarig på MittMedia för att tydliggöra strategier och göra dem tydliga och möjliga att agera på för de Agila teamen. Hans passion för att leverera kund- och affärsnytta har lett honom till att lära sig allt om hypotesdriven utveckling, KPIer och experimenterande i stället för att leverera lätta men ineffektiva lösningar. I den här sessionen kommer Joaquim att dela med sig av lärdomar, tankesätt och metoder som du själv kan använda för att aligna organisationen, se sanningen och leverera det som skapar värde tillsammans.
2009, when Lehman Brothers went into bankruptcy, Scania was one of the affected companies. Instead of firing people, the company together with the employees decided to pay 90% of the salary, have a working week of 4 days and 60% of the time in production was spent on education. That gave Scania a stronger position when the recession was over. The employees were more loyal than ever, better educated and ready to ramp up long before the competitors that needed to spend time and money on recruitment and onboarding.
At that time, this was an unexpected solution. Today, when hotels and restaurants are empty due to the Corona outbreak, the state is offering a similar solution to restaurants and hotels. The employer will give a short-time layoff to the employees to hopefully be ready to get back to employment when the situation has changed.
In agile we assume that the reality will change. Methods, principles, the whole mindset is built for an unpredictable future. So let´s use the possibility we have now when we are exposed to so much uncertainty. We can learn more about how we can take new steps of experiment, evaluate, learn, adapt and find a new hypothesis to experiment around. We do already have good examples, stores are offering home-deliveries and companies are redirecting their manufacturing to produce healthcare. Absolut Vodka will produce ethanol for hand sanitizer and flight crew are educated in healthcare. This will give us new experiences and learnings, and give us a better position towards our competitors after the recession period is over.
To handle the speed of change, complexity, and ambiguity in this challenging situation with the COVID-19 outbreak many of us are in now, we believe an Agile mindset can help us find new innovative solutions together.
Our mission at Dandy People is to support individuals, teams, organizations and societies to overcome challenges and become better together every day. This is why we decided to pre-launch our Agile Online Trainings, before we have all trainings on the platform. So, during this time we offer a 30% rebateto anyone of you who are interested in learning how to enable Agility, plan for the unknown and work and deliver in an Agile way.
Please use the code: PRELAUNCH (valid until March 31st) to get the 30% rebate.
The Agile Online Trainings you can access now are:
Agile in a Nutshell – Live
Agile Team in a Nutshell – Live
Agile Leadership in a Nutshell – Coming soon
These trainings contain videos, infographics, games, interviews, business cases, canvases, workshops, articles and lots of material free to download. Everything to support you in your personal learning journey to leverage Agility. Understanding what it is when it is needed and get you started to work as an Agile team – or improve your existing team, to deliver awesome results together.
We are also moving our live events to an online webinar format, and continuing to building our online Dandy Community
Please use the code: PRELAUNCH (valid until March 31st) to get the 30% rebate.
We have been able to create these trainings with support from the Agile global community and we are so happy to be able to give back to you all in times like this. Thank you so much to everyone involved <3
For the first time in modern history, most of us have to learn how to work remotely and collaborate online to continue with business as usual and not close down the business just because we close down the office. This is a huge experiment and we should look at it as an opportunity to adapt and learn how to handle the unexpected.
We need to explore how can we run our business just as before, or even better. How can we make people feel like we are sitting and working together with our peers and teammates and do what we usually do to get stuff done, focus, enjoy our workday, have fun and deliver together?
Don’t forget, to get started quickly, try something out and improve from that is way much better than making the perfect plan, and never get started. Just make it good enough for now, and safe enough to try.
Here are some tips on how to do just that based on learnings from the Dandy People-team.
Top 5 Digital Tools that get you started Working Remotely
When making big changes in your ways of working and context it is wise to shorten the feedback loops and focus on making smaller improvements more often. Support your teams in whatever they might need and give them access to tools and coaching in the beginning, but let it be up to them to decide HOW to do the work. If you prioritize feedback and improvements you minimize the risk of disturbing the pace and quality of work and you can more easily adjust to what is happening.
We are so happy to be able to share the Agile in a Nutshell Poster with you for free also in simplified Chinese! Thank you so much, Paulino Kok and his team at agilizing.com for your awesome work with the translation 🙂
We are living in a world with a higher pace of change and complexity than ever before. Our conventional ways of leading and organizing are struggling hard to stay relevant in this new environment. Therefore, there is a need to think differently and structure ourselves differently to meet the needs of today.
We need to be more flexible with short lead times and able to make quick decisions at the right level, where they have the latest and most relevant information. In this leadership poster, we have captured Transformative Leadership which is a type of leadership that enables Agility in the organization.
If you are interested in becoming a Transformational leader in an Agile environment you are welcome to join our one-day Agile Transformational Leadership training. At this moment only in Swedish, but we’d love to run it in English too in your city or company. Teachers are Mia Kolmodin and Björn Sandberg.
A learning organization is the best way we know to meet these demands and to handle the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) of the world of today and tomorrow.
A way to handle this is by task management and developing the organization to be a true learning organization. Start with the prerequisite for empowerment and gradually start to work with emergent strategies.
The foundation for making this possible is a leadership based on the understanding of motivation.
Theory X and Y Leadership
Agile Leadership is characterized by the understanding that people are more motivated by intrinsic motivation compared to extrinsic motivation. This is also closely related to the X and Y leadership theory by Douglas McGregor.
Theory X – extrinsic motivation – emphasizes the importance of strict monitoring, external rewards, and even punishment. Theory Y – intrinsic motivation – highlights well-being and encourages people to approach tasks without direct supervision.
In the Leadership Shift model below you will find where X-leadership and Y-leadership lives.
A leadership shift is needed
The Leadership shift happens when we shift gear from conventional leadership, which many times has served us well, to transformational leadership, to secure the organizational result in a fast-changing and highly complex world.
The Leadership Shift Model illustrates and maps common leadership styles and the effect they have on the organizational result.
Make sure to have the Product Owner and everyone in the team in the room when the team pulls in new work to the sprint. First, ask them to name what it is, and talk about what the outcome would be – what should change? What are the details, ask them to describe it.
Then you can ask the team in what domain of complexity the works are, obvious, complicated or complex, and mark it on the card. Then depending on the domain ask them to agree on a story points, size or timebox and mark that. And then what capabilities would be needed to do the story.
When this is done ask the team to write down what needs to be done to deliver the story, these are your tasks – and the team can get started to collaborate and deliver innovation
The Cynefin Context Cards have helped many teams get started to work cross-functional doing both discovery and delivery in the teams. This is a version of the deck of cards with fewer cards, still keeping the same functionality to make it easy to print and use them. If you prefer to have the regular decks you can still buy them in our online store >
Stress blocks the pathways in the brain that need to be open for effective action, decision-making, and learning.
In a knowledge-intensive work life, we have to be careful with increasing the pressure, so that it doesn’t switch to stress. It is counterproductive because it reduces the intellectual capacity that we need as much as possible to cooperate, solve problems and innovate.
This means that the leadership must be a safe haven for development and achievement, not a source of stress.
Conflict or friction is natural when we grow and develop who we are. It is often a combination of two or more types of conflicts. Make sure to identify which, and if possible choose collaboration as your solution style. When transforming to an Agile organization with teams and a new type of management processes and governance we often have to handle a lot of conflicts. It is important to understand that conflicts not necessarily is a bad thing, it is a natural part of becoming a high performing team and organization.
To be able to improve and change, conflicts need to be resolved by the people in the conflict and perhaps support to facilitate the process is needed. Often just a reminder that this is a natural part of improving, so let’s move on and find out what we can do to improve together.
This poster was created to support smooth handling of conflicts everywhere in the organization.
This poster was created to cater to the need we see in many organizations today to create a shared understanding of what a well-functioning Agile team is and how you can build that team to get the value you expect from an Agile organization.
What is a team and how do you become high performing?
Is your team even a team? There are two things needed for a group of people to be able to become a team. Without them, the group can never be a team. The two things are:
A common goal
Needing each other
Keeping teams stable overtime is needed to become and stay well-functioning and high-performing teams where smooth collaboration and innovation take place. Any change in the team setup may cause the team to go back to where they were as newly formed. Teams of 5-7 people who are kept together and get to high-performance are 100% faster.
Some months ago we had a meeting at Dandy trying to figure out and agree on who should be responsible for what, and how to divide our internal work in a better way. We needed to find a way to scale sustainably and figure out what capabilities we were looking for to expand our team in a good way also for the future.
We started to map the work we do and group it in different ways. But whatever we did we seemed to end up in traditional boxes, “this is marketing stuff, this is sales, this is finance, this is HR”… And then fighting over what the difference was between sales, marketing and finance… Everyone with their own ideas on what was right or wrong. That was of course not what we needed, another silos-based and ineffective organization :o)
Why we do things is the underlying foundation of our motivation and development. And when you work in an organization and in a team you need to feel that the organization’s and team’s purpose, vision, values, and mission is connected to your own foundation. “My leadership canvas” is a way to see if this is aligned and act as guidance in your personal development.
To resonate further with your purpose in everything you do you can start by formulating your own WHY statement. The method is from Simon Sinek’s book “Start with why” where you can get deeper into the significance of starting with why.
To find your WHY statement you can follow these guidelines:
Simple and clear
Only one sentence
Languages that resonate with you
Resonate both with work- and private life
Write several until you find the right one
As an example, my WHY statement is: “I empower myself and the people around me so we can become the best people that we can be”.
Andreas Nordlund who is an Agile Coach at the payment provider iZettle came by the Dandy office to buy the Cynefin Context Cards to his team. I was curious and asked if he would like to share how he was planning on using the cards.
Mia: How come you want to try the Cynefin Context Cards? Andreas: We are a group of Agile Coaches at iZettle who meet and share learnings and tips. Some of the other coaches have been using the cards and said they were good. I just got back from a training with Dave Snowden in Berlin in how to use the Cynefin Sense-Making Framework and I felt I wanted to try the cards.
Mia: What purpose do you see that the cards will serve? Andreas: We often talk about the work we do as if we are in the complicated domain, but often realize that we are in the complex domain. I want to help my team to put words on that, to facilitate that discussion in a structured way. Support the team to more easily come to the conclusion experiments are needed when they are in the complex domain.
In the IT department of the telecom company 3 of around 200 people, we worked with improvements on team-level and had a forum for improving the whole, but the overall improvements had come to an end after we met our previous change goal. Since we believe in experimentation, we decided to try Objectives and Key Results, OKRs, as a model to set the objectives.
How do you create a change journey that matters? That involves the people in the organization in the why, what and how? That goes beyond the teams for long term agility and continuous improvement? This was something we needed to figure out, and we found a pretty cool way to do it that served us well, perhaps it can inspire you too to try something different.
The use of OKRs started in the ’70s in Intel, in 1999 Google was introduced to OKRs by John Doerr, and it’s still a key in how they run the business.
Before starting the work with the OKRs, we had created a common vision of how it would feel to work with digital services and products at 3 in about 5 years, a description embracing change and innovation, awesome collaboration on all levels, and IT stack that enables business value with short time to market and most important, high customer focus.
When the pace has been picked up and everyday life spins at its highest pace the increase of sick leave caused by stress will increase. And those affected are your most valuable loyal employees that turn themselves inside out to deliver at work and in their private lives.
Sick leave due to stress of unhealthy work environments has increased to the double in the past ten years and is now the most common reason for sick leave in Sweden, and women are overrepresented in the statistics.
Facts from Försäkringskassan:
Sick leave due to stress has increased by 359% in the years 2010-2017
25% of those that have been burned out is at risk of relapse, which means that 1 in 4 people fall back into sick leave
10% of elite athletes are on sick leave due to stress
Stress-related illness costs Sweden 70 billion in socio-economic losses every year
Once a person has been burned out, it can take up to 10 years to recover, it is one of the longest recovery periods, even longer than some cancer diagnoses. Therefore, it is extremely important to detect and slow down this development in time. As a fellow human being and as a leader, it is important that you see signs of unhealthy stress.
These are some examples of signs of unhealthy stress.
Aggressive tone and behavior Aggressiveness and short tone are signs that the brain has turned on its flight and fight behavior, to protect against dangers, and should be taken seriously. Sit down in a quiet room alone with the person and describe how you experience their behavior, without judging it, and then ask how the person is feeling.
Sleep problems If a person repeatedly shares that they have slept poorly, have difficulty falling asleep or wake up very early in the morning and cannot fall back asleep, these are signs that the stress has gone way to far. When a person doesn’t sleep, it means our natural recovery system has stopped working.
Stomach problems, weight gain or weight loss When flight and figh behavior is activated, several of our physical functions are turned off. Including the stomach and metabolism. If a person complains of stomach problems or has increased or decreased weight quickly, it may be due to prolonged stress.
Concentration problems Just like above, the brain’s capacity will be gradually reduced. One behavior that can be noticed is if someone starts to forget about meetings, tasks or doesn’t contribute in the same way as before.
We are so happy to be able to share the Agile HR in a Nutshell Poster with you for free also in French! Thank you so much to the great people at Tranzparence, Céline Raguette, Éric Laramée and Patrick Senez for your awesome work with the translation 🙂
We are so happy to be able to share the Agile Change Management in a Nutshell Poster with you for free also in Spanish! Thank you so much Daniela Palacios Rozas for your awesome work with the translation 🙂
Many organizations right now are moving from viewing the organizations as a machine to a people first culture, enabling valuable collaborations, strategic flexibility and customer focus. The Stairway to Business Agility can be used as a tool for self- and shared reflection. It is based on experiences from many different organizations and their journey towards a well functioning and high performing organizations. You might have totally different experiences, and thats fine too.
Where are you and your organization today? Are you doing Agile – or being Agile, and what is your ambition? You will probably find that you partly might be on different steps at the same time, in different parts of the organization, and that you might have done some things that in this visualization “belongs” on another step. That is not wrong, we should work in parallells and not in a waterfall implementation manner. Perhaps you can find even more things that you can do to enable business Agility by looking at this as inspiration and take some time to reflect together. Please skip the steps in the bottom now that you know they don’t bring the value we usually are looking for when going Agile.
Let’s start at the bottom of the stairs where we are non Agile.
1. Big projects and command & control
Resource optimization and command and control. Everyone focuses on optimizing their own part of the process, running bigger and bigger projects and making sure everyone is as occupied as possible. Complexity grows, you are hiring more people – but it takes longer and longer while you deliver even less with worse quality. We suffer badly from decision latency and can no longer meet the customers’ needs. The management models that have served the organization well the past 100 years is no longer giving us what we need and we are starting to feel the pain of it.
We believe in visual models that support common views, transparency and collaboration, that helps us as individuals and teams shift towards a growth mindset.
The system shift poster was initially created due to our need within Dandy People to find common ways to think about and work with Agile transformations without getting fixed to specific frameworks – and also in an efficient way communicate how we work towards our customers.
The poster is our combined experience within the team at Dandy People, condensed into one page of goodies.
Questions we wanted to answer in this poster
What are the different choices we have on where to start?
What structured ways of moving towards Agility do we see?
What type of leadership is needed to enable an Agile organization?
Why do we start with structures and not just training?
How do we enable sustainability in change that never ends?
What are the different choices we have on where to start? – Holistic view to achieve Business Agility
We have seen many organizations start their agile journey within one part of the existing organization, mostly within IT (component teams). For traditional organizations to become more innovative, have shorter time to market and stay relevant as employees and for their customers, that is no longer enough. We suggest that you work “bottom up” – and “top down”, and that you create cross functional feature teams on both operational level AND on leadership level, as far up in the hierarchy as possible. A cross functional leadership team is needed to give focus to the organization and to remove impediments from the operational teams as quickly as possible. Traditional structures are too slow and will not suffice.
What structured ways of moving towards Agility do we see? – The Agile Transformation Ladder
The ladder is helping us see the necessary steps that traditional organization need to move through to become flexible and highly efficient.
The change process happens in 4 dimensions:
Visualized in the ladder you can see that leadership runs like a red thread from the bottom to the top. Leaders need to go first to act as a role model and enable improvements of the system. You will be able to read more about the ladder in an upcoming post.
Agile Transformation Ladder by Dandy People, inspired by Agile Fluency Model, Copyright by James Shore & Diana Larsen.
What type of leadership is needed to enable an Agile organization? – the Leadership Shift Model
The Leadership Shift Model shows the paradigm shift in leadership today where new leadership behaviours are needed in a VUCA-world to be able to improve business. Instead of traditional ways that focus on managing people we need to shift towards growing people to enable business growth. Traditional conventional leadership focuses on striving for agreements and to make interventions if needed, and if even further down the use of “carrot and stick”, reward and punishment and being over controlling is common. These conventional leadership styles (and systems) are holding people back as well as holding their ability to innovate and solve real customer problems. In the short term it might look as your organization is delivering, but long term your business will suffer.
Our health is the most important thing we have. Our health is something that we as people, leaders, colleagues, employees and employers should hold as our highest priority. It is not enough to offer a wellness allowance, there must be room for wellness, reflection and recovery during work hours.
My work causes me both stress, anxiety and feelings of not being enough. And how is it right that I need my private time to compensate for that? I believe that my work hours should include everything I need to be able to do my job in the best possible way. For me, this means that I need space between meetings to process what has been said and time to prepare for the next meeting. I need time alone for my thoughts and reflections to be able to work out the best solution to a problem, create a good setup for the next meeting, or think about how to handle a situation.
As a leader, I owe those that follow me to think before I act. I owe them to be prepared for a meeting, to reflect on situations before I make decisions and think trough how I will handle a conflict. I also need space to learn new things, to read about research and new methods of leadership, team and psychological safety. This is important for me to be able to do my job, in the way that I want to do it.
I also need time when the brain can recover and turn off all impressions and thoughts. Where I have the opportunity to connect to my body that carries me through my work day. For me, it is yoga, which I often practice at lunchtime or before I go home. For you it might be a walk in the park, a horse back ride, a run around the nearby lake or to walk your dog. The important thing is that you know exactly what you need to have a sustainable work situation. Regardless, we all need recovery as part of our work day to be able to get through it, and the next day, and the next.
This spring I had the great pleasure to jon the ACE! 2019 conference in Cracow as one of the speakers. It was the 10th anniversary of the conference with over 500 people joining from many different countries. This is a true role model for modern conferences where they have focused on diversity and customer experience in many different ways. They are supporting all speakers paying their travel and hotel costs if their companies does not – or you can choose to pay for your self and become a sponsor for the conference, what a great idea! I bring with me their truly inspiring and nice way to handle these things. As a speaker it was also amazing to meet the other speakers, organizers and visitors in the different socializing activities they had planned. One of the fun activities except for the actual conference it self was the open “dinner with friends” that they had arranged where anyone who wanted could join in at different restaurants each night.
My talk “Customer focus and Agile Mindset”
With customer expectation changing rapidly and an increasing demand for better digital products and services organizations need to find new ways to work an organize them self to be able to deliver customer value more frequently. To manage this, there is need for change in mindset in management and a strategic leadership decision. This seminar is directed to curious leaders who want to support customer focus. I will talk you through trends and strategies in how to organize and lead customer focused product organizations in a way to enable brain power in cross functional and autonomous teams that faster can deliver products and services that creates expected business impact.
I will also show models for how organizations can work structured with innovation and customer focus to choose to become a shark and not a snail, and real examples from this type of transformation from different type of businesses and organization.
We are so happy to be able to share the Enabling Business Agility in a Nutshell Poster with you for free also in Spanish! Thank you so much Daniela Palacios Rozas for your awesome work with the translation 🙂
We are so happy to be able to share the Enabling Business Agility in a Nutshell Poster with you for free also in Portuguese! Thank you so much Rodrigo Sekimoto for your awesome work with the translation 🙂
Agility is about adapting and delivering value. More and more organisations are discovering that they either need to get on the agile train or fall hopelessly behind.
Many of them turn to frameworks to adapt agile ways of working. But what they get is another framework that will sit on top of the others and cause more confusion and frustration. What they need is to focus on the real problems like organisation, leadership and culture. I’m going to use SAFe as an example in this text (there are other frameworks trying to solve this out there but I know more about SAFe).
A framework with a clear hierarchical role chart, process arrows, planning cycles and new roles is a way of satisfying the controlling part of an organisation. And it is exactly this part that we need to remove, if we want to be truly agile. To dare go down the agile road you need trust from leaders and in many organisations that is the exact thing they are lacking. So their own fear of losing control drives them to turn to things their recognize, roles and hierarchy, processes and planning, things that are feeding the controlling needs and is satisfying their own fears.
When introducing a framework like SAFe you are forced to focus on roles and planning cycles instead of culture, organisation and leadership. To get the right people in these roles is not an easy task an one that is impossible if there are no people with an agile mindset in the organisation. When people without agile mindset take on these roles what we get is another gant chart and detailed planning that will not adapt to the changing needs of the customer.
I was so happy this morning when I found this article in my favourite magazine, the Harvard Business Review. As always all articles are based on research and as many times before I see a strong connection to my work with Agile organization, teams and innovation.
In the fresh research done by ADP research Institute 2019 on employee engagement and published in the Harvard Business Review they discovered the power of well functioning teams and trust to engage employees.
The sad state of Employee Engagement in organizations today where the vast majority of employees globally aren’t fully engaged in their work. This research concludes just as many other before that the engagement level generally is alarmingly low in most organizations – only 16% feel fully engaged in their work and 84% are just coming to work to get their pay check.
The researchers also concludes that the share of employees who are fully engaged more than doubles if they are on teams, and not just any teams but well functioning teams.
The power of trust. As noted the share of employees who are fully engaged more than doubles if they are on a team, and it MORE DOUBLES AGAIN if they strongly trust the team leader.
These are the powerful questions asked in the research
I am really enthusiastic about the mission of my company.
At work, I clearly understand what is expected of me.
In my team, I am surrounded by people who share my values.
I have the chance to use my strengths every day at work.
When using the word resources, what do you think of? I think of nature’s resources and the money I have in the bank. Resources is by definition: means, a stock or supply of money, materials and other assets. How in any aspekt can people be considered resources?
The allocation of resources is a key element in traditional project management. Resource allocation takes no considerations to human needs or changes. For that you will require a separate risk analysis and change management process. I think you understand where I’m going with this.
One of my agile coach friends started repeating to the managers in the organisation we were coaching ”People are not resources” ”People are people that have capacity to do things”. And this stuck.
We can not continue treating humans as numbers in a excel sheet if we want to accelerate our businesses. We have to start talking about them as people, humans, employees. Today I correct and repeat. And I use the words that the organisation often have as well, the co-worker, the clients, the employees. It just has to be a word that describes the people for all our qualities and not just the number of hours we can produce.
Avanza is a tech company with bank licence (you can call them a bank) here in Stockholm. A few years back they started their journey from a traditional silos based organization to a cross functional product organization organized around the customer journey – IT, Product, Marketing and Operations working as one. Here we want to share their own story in the video they recorded at their Avanza Tech Meetup – and as a Case Study.
This video covers the value of working agile, some of the differences between the traditional plan driven ways of working and Agile as well as key principles. All this to make your organization adapt quickly to meet new customer needs.
The content of this video is part of the poster “Agile in a Nutshell” which you can download for free and use in your daily work. The poster has been translated to many different languages and has now over 45.000 downloads.
Ways of Working Agile – in a Nutshell Video
This video covers some of the key koncepts of ways of working agile as presented in the Agile in a Nutshell poster. Why competences are more important than traditional roles, the concept of T-shape and how it helps the team collaborate and build innovative and high quality solutions, how we find value together in a x-functional team as well as key principles och Lean UX and Modern Agile. All this to make your organization adapt quickly to meet new customer needs. The content of this video is part of the poster “Agile in a Nutshell” which you can download for free and use in your daily work. The poster has been translated to many different languages and has now over 45.000 downloads.
This years State of Agile Report from Version One is out!
The report is based on over 1.300 answers 17% Version One customers. New for this year is that cost reduction is primary driver for Agile change and that respondents are clear on that Dev Ops is VERY important as well as investment is vital for success in scaling Agile.
Biggest obstacles for adopting Agile 2019
Organizational culture at odds with Agile values
Organizational resistance to to change
Inadequate management support and sponsorship
Investment is vital for success in scaling Agile
When asked what has been the most valuable in helping to scale Agile practices the top three responses were “Internal Agile coaches”, “Executive sponsorship”, and “Company-provided training”. All three of these point to a commitment to invest in success. In last years survey, Executive sponsorship ranked fifth, and company provided training did not rank in the top 5.
Looking for a shift towards engagement and empowerment as a driver
I personally hope that moving forward transformation to Agile will be the long term strategy for organizations that want to empower their people and reach really high employee engagement and customer happiness – instead of cost reduction. Two sides of the same coin of course, one long term and one short term. To make this happen we need to support the managers to find the way to create safe environments, restructure the system to create flow and connect people with the purpose enabling them to succeed. If this is what you are looking for in your organization we are happy to join forces with you and support you on this journey as partners.
We are exposed to an incredible number of impressions in one day. We are met by advertising on the way to work, pictures on instagrams and ads on facebook, emails about fantastic offers and news from all over the world. At work, we are often met by policies, attitudes, expectations of others and performance reviews. Not being able to sort in this and finding your own meaning and purpose can create stress, uncertainty and a feeling of being overwhelmed. The importance of being able to lead yourself, and others, to create a sustainable lifestyle has never been as big as now.
Your values and your why
I see the personal leadership as something that needs to grow when you find your own values and purpose. “Start with why” was founded by Simon Sinek, he says that organizations need to start by establishing why they exist before they can start talking about how and what they do. It is fully applicable to the personal leadership as well, you need to find your own “WHY” before you know what to do and how.
To find your own WHY, you first need to know your values. What is most important to me? You can do this by listening inwards, by turning off all impressions and expectations from the outside world. To ignore the template that society is trying to put us all into and listen to yourself. There is much talk about meditation and that it is the only way to listen inward, but I think that when you do something that you love, whether it is to meditate, yoga, paint, walk your dog, ride or run, it is your opportunity to hear your inner voice . The one who says what you really like and value. The key is to listen and above all to trust what that voice is saying. Trust yourself, that you know best what is right for you.
Based on your values, the why is easier to find. My WHY statement is: “I empower myself and the people around me so we can become the best people that we can be”.
Exercise WHY statement
To write your WHY statement, follow these guidelines:
Simple and clear
Only one sentence
Language you use yourself
Work both at work and in private
Write several until you find the right one
Safety and learning
To feel that your purpose is being fulfilled and developed, our sense of security and learning is important. The human instincts are the same today as they were in the stone-age and our brain is divided into three motivational systems. The model created by Paul Gilbert consists of the red threat system, the blue drive system and the green soothing system.
At Spotify they did an analysis of all Spotifys RnD offices, how the people move, sit, collaborate and what they like or not. The analysis has been used to build and renovate all Spotifys new offices.
Here are some of the key takeaways I have made from visiting Spotify and talking to them about their RnD office space and what it means to them and how they are looking to redesign the BJG RnD office in Stockholm. This is my interpretation of their thinking expressed in 10 Agile design principles for office spaces to allow aligned autonomy. You can read more about that visit in this post >
If you have Agile teams in your organization, or if you are planning to evolve in to an Agile learning organization, these design principles are for you to use to create an environment where Agile teams can thrive.
These are the 10 key design principles for Agile office spaces inspired by Spotify
No walls between teams – Instead they use string walls which has become a signature design for the Spotify spaces, allowing the teams to feel just enough separated but still getting the benefit of viewing and listening in to conversations – or they use sofa areas as natural separators. Also the string walls gives the possibility to put up work or fun stuff which makes the space even more personal and visual.
Only one coffee machine and kitchen per floor – so that people meet and interact with others outside of their squad (team) and tribe (teams).
Every employee should have their own desk – people tend to be very attached to their desks. Especially the developers that have several screens or people with a lot of other equipment or personal features.
Desks should be big enough for two people – this is to cater for easy access to pair work, wether it’s pair design or pair programming. High performing Agile teams do this a lot.
Sofa area in every squad area – it’s a great place to sit and discuss, and anyone can join in if they have a solution or more information. People also love to lie down and work by them selves during the day. Also they act as separators of space in a nice way.
Meeting rooms included in all squad areas – it’s one of the keys to efficient team work at Spotify to never have to book a meeting room to collaborate with people within the team. At Spotify squads have a 2 people meeting room to talk with someone face to face in private, a full squad meeting room – and in the new renovated space they will also have meeting rooms for 4 people.
As much whiteboards as possible – it should be possible to collaborative and brainstorm and leave stuff on the walls on as many places as possible near the squads, but also in collaboration areas. It can never be too many whiteboards in an Agile organization.
Big screens accessible in all squad areas and meeting rooms – to make daily meetings efficient all squads have their own screens to use for meetings – and others to use to visualize their data.
Video conference equipment in all meeting rooms and squad spaces – it should always be possible to dial in to an office and join an conversation in a good way.
Space for fun and relaxation – strive for that everyone should feel at home and that they can find spaces to relax and have fun in, also in their spare time. Invite employees to come to the office with friends on weekends and of course to bring their kids.
A few weeks ago me and Frida Mangen did a talk on Activity Based Seating for Agile teams for the WE network, Workplace Evolutionaries. Afterwards we invited them for a visit to the old Spotify BJG RnD office to experience and learn more about the mindset of Agile organizations and how the interiors can support high performance teams and aligned autonomy.
The group visiting Spotify consisted of office interior experts off different kinds, designers, architects, scientist and change makers. We met up outside the office at Birgerjarlsgatan. We were warmly welcomed by Zuza Majkowska who was acting as our guide for the tour, and at the end of the tour also Becca who is a team engeneering manager and part of the renovation committee also joins and tells us more about the teams perspective and their work with the ongoing renovation.
This post is mostly a transcription of these conversations during the viewing.
The Spotify building consists of 11 floors, and Spotify are renting all floors but one. The tour started in a common space in one of the few big meeting rooms where the group of 22 ppl squeezed in to learn more about Spotify first before viewing the space.
Striving for aligned autonomy in everything – also in the office space
Zuza: We are always striving for aligned autonomy at Spotify in everything they do, also in the space of our office.
We are so happy to be able to share the Enabling Business Agility in a Nutshell Poster with you for free also in Portuguese! Thank you so much Gustavo Couto and Camila Costa for your awesome work with the translation 🙂
We are so happy to be able to share the Agile Change Management in a Nutshell Poster with you for free also in Portuguese! Thank you so much Gustavo Couto and Camila Costa for your awesome work with the translation 🙂