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Descaling Organizations for Scaling Agile – Part 1

In the Agile 2014 conference we heard many speakers echo the same signal – “Lets descale the organization instead of scaling agile”. There’s an increasing realization that instituting new models like scrum of scrums to force fit agile processes to corporate hierarchies isn’t going to work. Models are rigid and linear whereas human systems are non-linear and need more flexibility. We need to take a hard look at restructuring our organizations to become less siloed and hierarchical.

agile-scaling-frameworks-to-culture

 

Many frameworks are proposed. The fact that there are so many makes the magnitude of the challenge evident.

  • Scrum-of-Scrum (SoS)
  • Large Scale Scrum (LeSS, Larman/Vodde)
  • Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe, Leffingwell)
  • Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD, Ambler/Lines)
  • Spotify “Model” (Kniberg)
  • Scrum at Scale (Sutherland, scruminc.com), meta framework

The Agile 2014 conference can be viewed as the watershed year where everyone agreed that its not about framework – Its about Culture.

Descale your organization

Change in culture needs enterprises to stop paying politics tax. Politics tax is defined as the time spent on CYA. We need to allow people to choose to unleash their potential and stop fearing failure. Fear results in lies and lies result in mistrust. We need to build fail-safe relationships.

in his passionate appeal, Olaf Lewitz proposed a very simple manifesto: “We value people”.

Rounabouts Vs Traffic Signals

In an earlier posting I had mentioned that we need distributed decision-making in more decentralized and flatter structures to deal with rising business VUCA. Bjarte Bogsnes echoed the same thoughts. We need Theory Y organizations to deal with business VUCA. We need to trust our people instead of controlling them with rules and policies. Rules and policies require monitoring and enforcement. Like traffic signals – a rule based system is often inefficient. Roundabouts are a self-regulating value-based system. A roundabout trusts users, demands self-discipline and is scalable.

Budgets force decisions to be taken too high up and too early. Budgets often lead to people spending money even when there’s no need just because they have the budget. Some of them do so to avoid losing the budget next year if they don’t spend it this year. Expense allocation should be need-based. We should trust people to spend only what is needed and not have them ask for a budget. Read more about Bjarte Bogsnes’ presentation here.

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About the Writer

  • Vinayak-Joglekar-CTO-Synerzip
    Vinayak Joglekar
    Co-Founder and CTO, Synerzip

    Hires and Mentors Agile Software Development Teams for Social, Mobile, Big Data and Cloud Technologies. | Hands on practitioner of Agile and Lean techniques. Speaker at 2008 Agile Conference in Toronto.
    Vinayak is looking forward to present his insights on Building an Augmented IT Recruiter in #AgileIndia2018, a conference that is scheduled on March 04-11, 2018 at Bengaluru, India.

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