When I came into contact with Scrum as a trainer circa 2015, I understood from my colleagues that it was a new project management methodology. Training courses according to PRINCE2, ITIL or another best practice were common at that time. At first sight, Scrum seemed very simple thanks to a few books I had read. Until I looked into it in more detail.
We understood that in addition to Scrum, there were various other Agile approaches to project management such as DSDM Agile Project management, also followed by PRINCE2 Agile. It seemed that the ‘old’ world of PRINCE2, ITIL etc. was gradually being updated.
Slowly, by reading, listening and learning, I understood that Scrum wasn’t a project management approach. It’s more of a product management approach. Or more generally, an approach to work.
Old way of thinking
How do you earn your money? While the work we carry out has gradually changed, its management is based on old thinking. As if we’ve been on a conveyor belt producing the same products for over a century now. Welcome to the wonderful world of the 21st century…
Changing to an Agile work environment
At Gladwell Academy and BlinkLane Consulting we’re talking about changing to an Agile work environment. Or rather: helping clients to participate in the digital world of their work.
We see this change roughly as the four phases of an Agile transformation.
What does this Agile transformation actually involve?
Ad hoc initiatives within the organisation. At a given moment, there is a shared understanding of what Agile means at team level.
(1). Teams will work together, but within existing specialisms/fields;
(2). The understanding of Agility grows;
(3). Along with a vision about the Agile organisation, there are also cross-disciplinary initiatives focused on value chains;
(4). Organisation structures (HR, Budgeting, Control) form around value chains and teams.
These phases are best experienced under facilitating guidance, for example from an Agile coach.
Agile transformation, but how?
Like a rat in a trap, a lot of organisations are now getting into difficulty. We were filled with enthusiasm when we started working with Agile, but it doesn’t work with the organisation’s current set-up… now the executive teams have to deal with challenges. Shall we check how to take the next step? Be prepared to enter a jungle of Agile scaling up methods!
Do you choose wide or narrow?
We often notice that people in big organisations like to choose something recognisable and for which the whole organisation can provide input. Then you quickly get to the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).
SAFe is often accused of not offering pure Agile, because it sticks too much of an extra layer over the organisational hierarchy. But critics agree that a bit of Agile is better than no Agile.
Implementing Agile widely via scaling up models
SAFe isn’t a goal in itself either, it’s a first step in the enterprise-wide adoption of Agile. The wide implementation of SAFe can be deepened with more practical experience of the underlying frameworks, many of which are also included in the SAFe model (SoS, Lean management, APM, DAD).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ABRAM JANSE
Abram Janse is a senior trainer and coach at Gladwell Academy. He supports the development of social innovativeness and specialises in interactive Agile & change management training courses. To do this he uses serious gaming, gamification and online learning platforms in order to convey knowledge and skills playfully and in an enjoyable