The Better Work Project: Scaling Agile

29 April

How do you scale agility? In this podcast, we are joined by Sharon Robson of Enterprise Agility and part of the SoftEd team to talk about organisational agility, what it really is, what the pitfalls are, and how to scale successfully.

Summary   

  • Organisations want to embrace agility at the enterprise level to leverage the benefits that come from the agile mindset and working practices.
  • It’s about leveraging one of the best parts of any organisation, which is the people. 
  • Scaling has been a real challenge for a lot of organisations because people misunderstand what’s required. Agility is thinking of the whole, which means you've got to understand what value looks like for your organisation.
  • There is a lot of interest in following frameworks. They can be helpful, but we have to then extrapolate that into the imperfect context of our working environment. We need use models as a guide, as a set of tools, not a set of rules.
  • There is a mindset of instant agile. It can’t be bought out of the box.  It is a journey, not the destination because maturity is a process.
  • We often see departments begin an agile journey and then struggle against rest of the monolithic organisation who hasn't changed any of their practices.
  • Agility requires a clear line of sight of the work. This is where visibility and transparency comes in.
  • We need to understand decision rights, and make sure distributed decisions are being made. That comes one of the cornerstone elements of agility, which is trust. For leaders this means the most important thing they can do is provide context and purpose.
  • A lot of leaders fear letting go because ultimately, they are still accountable.
  • When we move to an agile approach to the delivery of value, we're looking to access to the collective intelligence of the group.
  • When there is an environment that has visibility and transparency, there’s enhanced trust.  There's nowhere to hide.
  • Senior leaders are good at making control based decisions. Oftentimes people confuse leadership with control. It's not the case. Leadership is about setting direction. Control is about setting the pace.
  • We have to foster learning organisations where we examine our context and make decisions on that basis.
  • People are well equipped to solve problems. We just need to harness it.
  • The problem with frameworks is that they are static, and an organisation is constantly changing.
  • There's some value in learning from what other organisations have done, but it's always got to be applied within your own context.
  • Agility at scale requires focus on the operating model. We have to apply systems thinking.
  • Businesses need to engage people in a way that maximises their ability to contribute to the organisation.

 

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