Tag Archive for: agile culture

Webinar | Unraveling Workplace Dynamics: Insights from Humanizing the Workplace 

In our recent webinar titled Humanizing the Workplace: The Key to Finding and Keeping Top Talent, experts Regina Martins and Birge Kahraman delved into the essential aspects of fostering a positive work environment. The discussion revolved around the challenges organizations face when transitioning to remote work and the importance of humanizing the workplace when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. The speakers emphasized the importance of servant leadership, active listening, and the creation of purpose-driven goals to cultivate a healthy and happy workplace.

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Case Study: How to Approach an Innovative Culture

Abstract: Flexibility and the ability to make decentralized decisions, as well as a high degree of customer orientation, are core elements of an innovative culture. In addition to specific leadership behaviors, to be able to sustain an innovative culture you need to develop a dedicated toolbox. A project team at Siemens Digital Industries – Factory Automation – was able to lay the foundation for a customer-centric development of new products through a holistic leadership approach. The principles of ORGANIC agility® and the use of specific tools for innovative product development allowed them to verify product hypotheses rapidly and reflect those learnings into their business strategy.

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How to Resolve Conflict in the Workplace

Turning Tides: An Agile Coach’s Journey through Workplace Conflict and Resolution

It was a Thursday afternoon, just like any other in the bustling, open-concept office of Swift Software Inc. As an Agile Coach, I was overseeing multiple teams, all engrossed in their tasks. Amid the usual hum of industrious chatter, a sudden sharp exchange of words grabbed my attention. It came from Team Phoenix, known for their remarkable synergy and usually seamless operations.

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Organizational Culture: Why it Matters and How to Improve it

Company culture is often associated with having a ping pong table in your office, after-work drinks on a Friday, or a framed value statement on your wall. But organizational culture is so much more than that; it is the driving force behind innovation, growth, and sustainability. In this article, we will explore different types of organizational culture that exist and the signs of a toxic one, plus how you can work towards a culture that is more aligned with your goals. 

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How Resilient is Your Company?

Only those who are able to react in a flexible way to market changes can operate and grow sustainably in the long term: resilience is the key. With the right methods and tools, any organization can evaluate its status quo and gain insight into its resilience.

Every company is a complex and organic construct. It is the sum of all employees, their managers, and the underlying processes and decisions they make. The theory goes that the stronger the consensus behind these decisions and processes, the stronger the organization itself. A company can be compared to a tree: the stronger the trunk and branches, the more resistant it is to external influences. In other words: the stronger the core message and process structures of a company, the stronger the organization.

Culture As a Cornerstone

In order to ensure a stable organization, a culture that is lived by everyone must prevail – the trunk, so to speak, to stay with the analogy of the tree. Understanding your own corporate culture is important in order to make sustainable changes, healthy growth and innovation possible in the first place.

Ideally, every single employee in the company must support and actively shape changes. For this it is important to know exactly what the status quo is.

It’s All About Understanding Your True Status Quo

But how do you get a really honest, unbiased picture of the status quo, especially when it comes to values ​​that are intangible, such as culture, management style or employee satisfaction? agile42 has set itself the task of making this data, which is so difficult to collect, visible. Once you can measure it, you can use it as a basis for the transformation processes to increase resilience in the long term. With our Organizational Scan™ we have created a product especially for this.

The OrgScan™: More Than an Ordinary Survey

Culture can be made visible through data, using the Organizational Scan™. It’s one of the Organic Agility Strategic Tools and provides real data on corporate culture, leadership styles, decision-making skills and the values ​​that are lived in the company. The OrgScan™ uses the patented SenseMaker® technology, which generates unbiased results through completely anonymous data collection in the form of micronarratives, which are not impacted by subjective moods or personal situations.

“High acceptance, facts instead of gut feeling”

“It was important for us – especially with regard to our corporate culture – to have a data-based classification that consists of the unfiltered view of our employees,” reports Christina Kiehl, Chief Finance & Operations Officer at Congstar. “Over 400 stories were submitted, which were analyzed in different dimensions. The advantages of the process: high acceptance, facts instead of gut feelings, the opportunity to further develop our corporate culture in a targeted manner and also to measure it. Our conclusion: Clear recommendation for the use of the OrgScan™.”

Want to learn more about the OrgScan™?

This is a translation of an article that originally appeared on t3n.de

5 Signs of a Toxic Organizational Culture

5 Signs of a Toxic Organizational Culture and How to Fix it

Organizational culture is so much more than a value statement on your website; it’s the sum of the experiences and beliefs of the people involved. It can be measured through living manifestations, such as rituals, stories of success and failure, habits, and unwritten rules. It is your experience as an employee, and it dictates how you feel about your company and your work. A bad company culture can affect the whole organization and get in the way of sustainable change, growth, and innovation.

Organizational culture can’t be designed or changed, but it can be measured and influenced. Find out how in our Webinar on Shaping Company Culture.

According to a 2022 survey conducted by FlexJobs, toxic company culture is the number one reason people are leaving their jobs. Organizational culture can encompass many different things, so it can be hard to pinpoint where your company is going wrong. In fact, the 2022 State of Agile Coaching Report by Scrum Alliance states that changing an organization’s culture was reported as one of the top challenges. 

While it can be hard to put your finger on your organization’s culture, here are some tell-tale signs that you may have problems in this area. Plus, how to resolve them. 

Five red flags that indicate you have a toxic culture

  1. Teams aren’t trusted to make decisions
  2. Leaders have a fixed leadership style
  3. The team lacks purpose and direction
  4. The team seems scared to fail 
  5. People feel burned out 

Let’s dive a little deeper into each of these signs of a bad company culture. 

Red flag 1: Teams aren’t trusted to make decisions 

Many companies advocate for transparency and trust, but these concepts are often embraced in theory without being encouraged in practice. Management teams that don’t allow for autonomy and decision-making can leave people feeling stifled. As a result, the quality of work will suffer and teams may have negative feelings about management styles or a particular manager. 

A lack of trust can also lead to a culture of hierarchy. Hiereachal corporate culture is based on clearly defined levels, which depend on rules and a top-down level of control. In today’s fast-paced, unpredictable workplace, we need new ways of working. Hierarchical management is not suited to a fast-changing environment that requires fast decision-making. 

Culture of Hierarchy

Photo by Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto on Pexels

Faster delivery requires more agile ways of working. This means that people closer to the problems need to be trusted to make decisions and make them quickly. People should be able to self-organize, which requires the support of their work environment and leaders. This approach not only helps organizations thrive, but it helps employees feel trusted, which in turn helps them feel more positive about their organization and more connected to their teams. 

How to spot it: A common sign of this problem is frequent bottlenecks or team members’ appearing reluctant to take ownership of projects. 

How to fix it: Educate the team and leaders about what self-organization is and give people the trust and support they need to do a great job. 

Recommended eLearning Course: Self-organization

Red flag 2: Leaders have a fixed leadership style

Agile leadership requires us to make sense of a situation before we respond, so that our behaviors are coherent with the group of people we are leading and their specific context. So, leaders need to understand the existing context and culture. If leaders fail to do this, it can  leave the team feeling frustrated and distrustful. 

Even if a specific leadership behavior seems appropriate for a situation, it needs to fit the cultural expectations of the people involved. If it does not, it will very likely cause a negative emotional response and potentially increase motivational debt. In some cases, the impact can be so severe that people decide to leave. This could be seen during the “Great Resignation.” This is a great example of what can happen at the extremes of incoherent leadership. 

Coherent leadership is so important, especially as people are more aware of their needs, wants, and expectations in the workplace. Companies can no longer get away with toxic work cultures that don’t value their employees’ happiness. This means that leaders have an important role in cultivating supportive environments. 

How to spot it: You will notice that teams are unsure of how to organize around tasks, what the next steps are, or what is expected of them. 

How to fix it: Implement and understand Agile leadership. These leaders focus on managing the environment rather than managing people.

Recommended eLearning Course: Agile Leadership Foundations

Red flag 3: The team lacks purpose and direction

To feel driven and motivated in the workplace, we need to be working towards bigger goals. It is crucial that companies communicate these goals and are transparent about them. 

Employees should complete their daily tasks and know what is expected of them, but they also should be aware of the bigger picture. This requires communication around strategic goals. The company’s vision needs to filter across the company, not just at the top level. Not only is this exciting for employees, but it also helps them to feel engaged, and more likely to collaborate and work strategically. 

How to spot it: Team members are absorbed in their day-to-day tasks and, as a result, no innovation or improvement takes place.

How to fix it: Leaders can help their teams by setting a clear vision, explaining where to go and why, and making sure to continuously give and receive feedback

Red Flag 4: The team seems scared to fail 

Change is scary, and failing is scary, but it is necessary. There can be a lot of money and ego attached to certain projects, which can failing even scarier. Organizations with a healthy company culture try to create “safe to fail” environments. It is not enough to say to people, “You can fail.” Agile leaders know that effective change in a complex environment can only work with an evolutionary approach. They focus on leveraging the potential of the present and the natural predispositions that already exist in a team or an organization, instead of pushing towards an unrealistic ideal state. 

It is like parenting. If we want our kids to learn about collaboration, we don’t describe what good collaboration looks like and create a plan for it. Instead, we might encourage them to apply to a football or basketball team or to join a music band. Through these experiences, they will build collaboration “muscles” and learn what collaboration feels like.

Organizations should encourage people to voice their opinions and take on experimental new projects. A side effect of that will almost certainly be failure. If your organization is not encouraging these types of behaviors, then you can’t change, grow, or learn in the process. 

How to spot it: There are very fixed and defined roles within an organization, which do not allow for experimentation to take place. 

How to fix it: Allow skilled teams to self-organize and decide how to approach the situation through experimentation. An Agile mindset and approach can help teams achieve this. 

Recommended eLearning Course: Agile Foundations

Red flag 5: People feel burned out 

If there is a sense of burnout within the team or leadership, it could mean that individual values aren’t aligned with those of your company. This can leave people feeling drained. 

One of the biggest causes of this kind of problem is when people are expected to work at an unsustainable pace to meet certain goals or deadlines. While this may get results in the short term, it has far-reaching negative consequences in the long term. Sooner or later, fatigue and anxiety will filter in. Plus, this will negatively affect both the quality of work and work-life balance, which has a massive impact on how people feel about their workplace.

How to spot it: A common sign of burnout is when teams are constantly starting work but not always finishing it. Middle management, teams, and individuals are 100% busy, but delivery is slowing down.

How to fix it: Learn to identify and eliminate impediments to the flow of work in order to keep queued work manageable and alleviate pressure on teams. 

The Next Steps to Improving Your Company Culture

There are many ways that companies can improve their culture. But before organizations embark on this journey, they need to know exactly where they are going wrong and what people are saying about their company culture. In our decades of working with organizations, we’ve seen countless hours wasted by not getting to the root of the problem.

Our Organizational Scan™ tool is a scientific, data-based way to measure company culture and take action based on facts, rather than assumptions. 

It gives an accurate, real-time view of your organizational culture, leadership style, decision-making capabilities, and employee happiness. This empowers you and your organization to make positive, sustainable changes.

Agile Leadership in Today’s World

In the fast-changing environment of our modern world, building and maintaining a thriving organization is a huge challenge, no matter if the company is big or small. It’s always been necessary for managers and leaders to understand the business itself very well, but today there are new challenges too. Organizations need to be adaptable, innovative, and engaging for people. In order to be successful in the new environment, a leader not only needs to learn a lot, but unlearn a lot too. There are new and different behaviors, skills and tools needed to nurture successful teams and organizations. This is where Agile leadership can make a meaningful impact.

To become an exceptional leader in a volatile and unpredictable world, join our webinar on 29 August: Top Challenges Facing the Modern Leader (and How to Overcome Them)


  1. What is Agile leadership?
  2. Agile leadership principles
  3. Agile leadership styles
  4. Agile metrics for leadership
  5. Servant leadership
  6. Emotional intelligence in Agile leaders
  7. Lean Agile Leadership
  8. Agile Leadership Training

What is Agile leadership?

The term “Agile leadership” is made up of two key terms: agile and leadership.

Agile is an adjective, not a verb. It is not something you do, implement, or deploy: it is rather something you are. It is a property of a system, whether an individual, a team, or an entire organization. There’s a reason the word is exemplified by an athlete: being agile is about flexibility, and the ability to respond quickly to unforeseen circumstances. 

The Oxford dictionary defines leadership as “the action of leading a group of people or an organization”. From this perspective, leadership is not something connected to a formal role, and nor is it something people are either born with or not. All of us can be leaders and followers in different contexts. Leadership is simply an ability to build.

How can we define Leadership

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

Agile leadership is the ability to be flexible, use different approaches, and adapt to the context and the people involved. Because of this dependence on context, expectations and relationships, there are no leadership behaviors that are inherently positive or negative in and of themselves. Rather, there are leadership behaviors which are more or less appropriate within the context. 

Agile leadership is about the ability to make sense of the circumstances and adopt behaviors which are coherent with what the group of people you are leading in a specific context feels comfortable with. Incoherent behaviors are those that are not helpful within a specific situation and might be perceived negatively in the given cultural context. For this reason, Agile leadership is useful for any organization hoping to succeed in today’s climate, not only Agile organizations.

Coherent vs Incoherent Leadership

Like a sportsman needs to master many techniques to be really flexible, a true Agile leader has to master multiple leadership styles to be able to adopt the one that fits the specific context. That is quite a challenge, since we all feel more comfortable to adopt one or two specific leadership approaches and generally find others harder. If you do not practice the ones you are less comfortable with, the risk to propose an incoherent leadership is very high, which can be more harmful than you think.

In my coaching, I have observed the following pattern many times: People in a given organization are used to being told what to do. They have learned to be comfortable with it, because they are rewarded to follow directives. One day the manager comes and says, “Now we are Agile, so you are self-organized and empowered to do what you think is most appropriate”. People stare at each other wondering what this might mean, thinking “just tell us what to do and we will do it”. 

This is an example of incoherent leadership. The resulting frustration and dissatisfaction are known as Motivational Debt. Even if a specific leadership behavior seems appropriate to a situation, it needs to fit the cultural expectations of the people involved. If it does not, it will very likely cause a negative emotional response and potentially increase motivational debt. In some cases, the impact can be so severe that people decide to leave. The “Great Resignation” all companies witnessed between 2020 and 2022 is a great example of what can happen in the extremes of incoherent leadership.

So, while it is true that Agile organizations are built upon autonomous and self-managed teams, this shift cannot be pushed onto people overnight. Individuals and teams need to be gently guided over time into becoming more autonomous and Agile, by adapting the leadership and the environment iteratively and incrementally, in the service of making people the best version of themselves.

Agile leadership principles

In the last 15 years, I have had the chance to talk to a lot of leaders involved in efforts to create more agile organizations. Many of these leaders shared a sense of frustration for the many “don’ts” they were prescribed – and too few “do’s”.

These leaders were constantly hearing things like, “Don’t assign tasks to people!”;”Don’t tell the team how to do something!”; or “Don’t take decisions the team can take on their own!”.

The most common consequences of this frustration and uncertainty are two and both potentially harmful: the leader backs off and starts not to do anything or the leader keeps doing the same things as before exactly in the same way as before.

How do we address this then? How does effective leadership work in a 21st century organization?

Leadership in the 21st Century

Photo by Yan Krukov on Pexels

Five Key Principles of Agile Leadership

Individuals and organizations are not machines, but living organisms who need to learn and adapt. This means that we cannot always have pre-programmed rules to follow. Pre-programmed rules and predefined processes work well in a stable environment where we are able to predict all possible scenarios and prepare in advance to handle them. But what about the scenarios or disruptive changes we cannot predict? 

In such a context, it is more effective to learn and rely on principles instead of rules. First we need to incorporate those principles into our decision-making and leadership styles. Then, when new circumstances unfold, we can define appropriate practices, aligned with those principles, to make use of.

A good analogy for this is parenting. When kids are small, we can give them specific rules to follow, which work well in the safe space they live inside the family: “Don’t put your fingers into the plug! Sit well! First, finish your homework and then you can use your mobile phone!” However, if we want them to grow up and be equipped to face the unexpected events of adult life, we need to stop giving them rules and start teaching them principles (e.g. “Be honest”). Only then will they be able to apply themselves in different situations.

So what are useful Agile leadership principles to incorporate?

1. Manage the environment, not the people

Research and empirical evidence tell us that we can’t change people: we can hardly change the person we see in the mirror every morning. But we can change the environment and people’s experiences so that the behaviors and the results we expect come to life naturally.

Every organization has a vision and sets goals and metrics to monitor on the way to that company vision. Those goals are achieved (or not) through the results that every single person in the organization accomplishes. Some of them are exciting, like bringing an innovative product to the market, and some of them are just necessary, like filling in tax returns. But all results come from actions and behaviors. And going one step deeper, actions come from decisions, which in turn are informed by beliefs: we decide based on what we think is right or best in the moment. 

Our brains are connecting machines, which create wired patterns through which we interpret the reality around us and decide what is right or wrong. These patterns are created through the experiences we have lived all our lives. Existing patterns cannot be broken: the power of one to one conversations is therefore overrated. But new patterns can be created through novel experiences. 

Traditional leaders tend to focus on managing people’s actions. This approach addresses just the tip of the iceberg, and it only works well in a very stable environment. In such a state, the rate of change is so slow that we can afford to have only a few people (the managers) in control of decision making and the rest of the workforce simply executing.

When the rate of change is high, the reaction from hierarchical management is too slow and  can create bottlenecks. Here, decision-making power must be distributed and given to those closer to the problem. To avoid the risk that everyone takes their own direction, this distributed decision-making power needs to be coherently funneled towards the company goals and vision.

Organizational culture is so much more than a value statement on your website: it’s the sum of the experiences and beliefs of the people involved. The organizational culture can be measured through its living manifestations, such as rituals, stories of success and failure, habits, and unwritten rules. 

Today, an effective leader does not create superficial compliance to company values, but leverages approaches such as mentorship and coaching to create new experiences, which will then result in new stories, new rituals and new behaviors.

Agile leadership focuses at the bottom of the pyramid to manage the environment and create those experiences for people to build coherent beliefs, which will in turn determine coherent decisions.  

2. Build autonomy and trust

Modern-day organizations benefit from decentralized decision making. To be more resilient and equipped to face unexpected circumstances, they must be built upon autonomous and self-managed teams.

But as we said above, the shift from a fully hierarchical chain of command to autonomy cannot be pushed onto people overnight. Individuals and teams need to be respectfully guided over time to become more autonomous and agile, by adapting to the leadership and the environment iteratively and incrementally.

An Agile leader carefully selects those leadership behaviors that can act as a bridge in the gentle transition towards higher levels of autonomy with minimum disruption and resistance.

This process of transition and discovery will be shaped by bringing diverse perspectives together, for instance by asking people to share stories of success and failure. Some questions you could ask include:

  • Do they associate stories of success and failure with the same leadership approach or with different ones?
  • What behaviors from the leader do they associate with success or failure? 
  • Is the group uncomfortable with higher autonomy at a given moment or do they favor it? 

A transition towards a higher level of autonomy while building trust (instead of harming it) is based on adopting iteratively and incrementally more of the behaviors that are associated with the desired state and less of the ones that are not. 

At the same time, it is necessary to build the teams’ skills to sustain high levels of autonomy, for instance the ability to navigate conflicts, collective decision making, and the ability to give each other constructive feedback.

3. Model the behaviors you want to see

As Agile leaders shape the environment to create the experiences which support the right culture and make higher levels of autonomy accepted and affordable by the team, they realize they are themselves part of that environment.

This means that they need to own and model the culture they want to see around in the organization, to avoid an incoherent clash between what they preach and the leadership they demonstrate. Such a clash can undermine people’s trust and willingness to take on more responsibility.

If Agile leaders are serious about improving their organization, they should be even more serious about improving themselves.

4. Lead based on the context

The ability to make sense of the circumstances in a given situation and adapt your approach to fit the context is a key characteristic of good leadership. As expressed by Dave Snowden in the Cynefin framework, different circumstances can be organized into different domains. The domains, in turn, are characterized by different approaches to decision making, acting and leading. 

Cynefin Framework

Situations in ordered domains show causality, meaning there is a clear relationship between cause and effect. This means that we can plan and act, based on the characteristics of the situation and the context in which it is happening. In some cases, the appropriate action is self-evident: it is sufficient and effective just to tell people what to do or establish guidelines and checklists to follow.Other cases require analysis. In these situations, expertise plays a very important role: the leader will ask experts to analyze the situation, and provide possible solutions. Establishing expert peer review can improve the quality of what is decided and executed.

In unordered domains, the lack of causality makes planning and the direct reuse of existing approaches very difficult, if not impossible. When the situation is complex, the relationship between cause and effect can only be discovered in retrospect and therefore actions might have unintended consequences. In those cases, expertise is not of much help, and it is necessary to run multiple parallel probes (some of which will fail). These allow the identification of repeating patterns and show us how to affect the system and address the problem. The leader’s ability to involve cognitively diverse people will affect the quality of the experiments and the decided actions.

In a chaotic situation (such as an emergency), the leader’s ability to act promptly is what will make a difference. Waiting and trying to analyze the situation is useless when volatility and uncertainty are very high.

Understanding the context and the situation allows leaders to act effectively in a given cultural context. For example, in a hierarchical organization people will expect the leader to appoint experts and make the final decision in a complicated situation, while in a more collaborative organization, the group will feel comfortable to appoint experts and options on how to move forward will be vetted and discussed by the group. Agile leaders are aware of the context and the situation and how to appropriately shift their behaviors and modulate the actual course of actions.

5. Incorporate agility into change

All changes, even with the best intentions, can create motivational debt by introducing gaps between expectation and reality. People are complex and there is only so much change each of us can handle at a time. However, many organizations try to take a “fail-safe” approach to change. An example of this could be buying a big model from a consulting agency, marketing the concept internally, and setting milestones. There’s so much money, ego and expectations attached to the change project that it will simply not be allowed to fail.

Agile leaders, on the other hand, know that effective change in a complex environment can only work with an evolutionary approach. Here, the focus is on leveraging the potential of the present and the natural predispositions that already exist in a team or an organization, instead of pushing towards an unrealistic ideal state.

Again, it is like parenting. If we want our kids to learn collaboration, we don’t describe what good collaboration looks like and create a plan towards it. Instead, we might encourage them to apply to a football or basketball team or to join a music band. Through these experiences, they will build collaboration muscles and learn what collaboration feels like.

In order to reduce the risk and side effects of change within organizations and deal with unpredictability, effective leaders know to instill change through diverse experiments with small continuous adaptations. This removes the burden and risk of maintaining different co-existing systems of work (i.e. the old way of working, and the new one) for long periods of time: small changes are easily understood, quickly piloted and rapidly integrated, minimizing the uncertainty, confusion and loss of effectiveness inherent in change.

Running different parallel experiments enables leaders to validate assumptions and hypotheses in a safe-to-fail environment. Through multiple safe-to-fail experiments they recognize repeating emergent patterns that can be replicated to catalyze change in other parts of the organization.

By asking volunteers to help define and run the experiments, they achieve wider acceptance of the change in the organization and increase transparency because everyone can see small things happen and facilitate work in that direction: people hate it when a big change is unexpectedly announced by management and they cannot relate to the rationale and the implications of the change.

Agile leadership styles

Agile leadership is the ability to master multiple leadership styles to be able to adopt the one that fits the specific context, and work with the expectations of the team. We can define six different leadership styles (or behaviors) that can be developed and applied in different contexts and cultures:

  1. Directing
  2. Demanding
  3. Conducting
  4. Envisioning
  5. Coaching
  6. Catalyzing

Because of the dependence on context, expectations and relationships, there are no leadership behaviors that are positive or negative in themselves. Rather, leadership behaviors that are more or less helpful within a specific situation and might be perceived positively or negatively in a given cultural context. 

Read more: Agile Leadership styles

Agile metrics for leadership

A question on many Agile leaders’s minds is, “How can we know how well we are doing as leaders?” Most people would tell you that we need to measure the impact that our leadership has, the level of autonomy of our team, the culture, and the level of resilience of our organization. However these are all lagging indicators, which we can evaluate only in retrospect in the future: sometimes leadership is about planting seeds of a tree we will never enjoy the shade of. 

Agile Metrics for Leadership

However we could look at a few leading indicators to understand whether we are going in the right direction and get feedback. In this way we will be able to improve by leveraging on our strengths and acting on our improvement areas. 

Leading indicators for Agile leadership 

A first leading metric could be around how we are doing as servant leaders. If we are demonstrating good servant leadership, we are likely to be strengthening people’s skills and building leadership as a diffused organizational capability, so that everyone can be a potential leader. A few questions can help us self-reflect on the different servant leadership virtues and their impact on the people around us:

  • Do people believe that I am willing to sacrifice my own self-interest for the good of the group?
  • Do people believe that I want to hear their ideas and will value them?
  • Do people believe that I understand what is happening in their lives and how it affects them?
  • Do people come to me when chips are down or when something traumatic has happened in their lives?
  • Do others believe that I have a strong sense of awareness for what is going on?
  • Do others follow my requests because they want to as opposed to because they “have to”?
  • Do others communicate their ideas and vision for the organization when I am around?
  • Do others have confidence in my ability to anticipate the future and its consequences?
  • Do others believe that I am preparing the organization to make a positive difference in the world?
  • Do people believe that I am committed to helping them develop and grow?
  • Do people feel a strong sense of community in the organization that I lead?

Once you identify your biggest strength and your biggest improvement area, meet with a peer and:

  1. Share a story when you demonstrated the servant leadership virtue you believe represents your biggest strength
  2. Ask for a suggestion about what you could do tomorrow to become one inch better at practicing the virtue you feel you are most struggling with right now

Another useful leading indicator could be about our ability to master multiple leadership behaviors. If we have the agility to adopt the appropriate leadership style in each of the contexts we are dealing with, we can reduce the Motivational Debt and build autonomy and resilience in the organization. A leadership behavior assessment again could help us self-reflect and get the inputs necessary to strengthen our leadership muscles, around the style and the behaviors we feel less comfortable in adopting.

Our leadership behavior assessment is based on SenseMaker® technology developed by Dave Snowden and The Cynefin Co. Both the leader and their followers capture and interpret situations in which the leader demonstrated a certain behavior. Multiple perspectives on the same situation help the leader realize how well they master different leadership behaviors and how coherently they apply those to different situations and contexts.

Try agile42’s Leadership Assessment for free or level up with the full-featured assessment.

Servant Leadership

The future of work, especially after the pandemic, seems to be a place where individuals closer to the problem are best-placed to make decisions. Teams are self-managed, which means they decide what to work on, as well as when and how to best achieve the requested outcome. 

Leaders that are effective in building such an environment create the conditions for the individuals and teams to perform at their best, and meet what people seem to expect from employers in 2022. This includes a focus on removing impediments, aligning stakeholders, building trusting relationships, coaching, providing feedback, developing people’s skills and building the capabilities of the organization. Ultimately, they cultivate the virtues of servant leadership.

What is servant leadership?

Robert K. Greenleaf first popularized the term “servant leadership” in The Servant as Leader, an essay published in 1970. It​ is a leadership philosophy and set of practices in which the leader puts the needs of the employees first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. A Servant Leader should be asking themselves, “Do my actions help those I lead grow as persons? Do they, because of my actions, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become leaders?”

Dive deeper into Servant Leadership

The 11 virtues of servant leaders

  • Awareness
  • Calling
  • Community
  • Conceptualization
  • Empathy
  • Foresight
  • Growth
  • Healing
  • Listening
  • Persuasiveness
  • Stewardship

These virtues are maybe even more essential now than they were when they were first published in 1970. In the current world, leaders simply can’t be effective without trust from people they are supposed to lead. 

Emotional intelligence in Agile leaders

Practicing the virtues of servant leadership helps build good leadership in this fast-changing world. But what other qualities does an effective agile leader have?

Well, if you want to become the kind of leader who masters multiple leadership styles and is able to read the situation and apply a coherent approach to the context, you might want to work on your emotional intelligence.

Daniel Goleman was the first to popularize the idea of emotional intelligence and demonstrate evidence of its impact within organizations. He passionately argued for recognizing the relationship between someone’s emotional state and the actions driven by it, and how those actions in turn impact others and the organization (essentially the people they work with), whether positively or negatively.

Emotional intelligence consists of four fundamental skills: 

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Social skills

Read more: Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Emotional Intelligence

Lean Agile Leadership

The phrase “Lean Agile Leadership” is something of a buzzword at the moment, although if you unpack the concept there are a lot of useful principles behind it. 

The term “Lean” was coined by James Womack, Daniel T. Jones and Daniel Roos in their book, The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production, in 1990.

Recommended reading: Lean Agile Leadership in more detail

Seven Lean principles 

Later, in 2003, Mary and Tom Poppendieck published the book Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit. In this book they identified seven fundamental principles to take the concept of lean thinking from production, and apply it to software and product development. I believe these principles can be applied to any creative work. 

The seven Lean principles are: 

  1. Eliminate waste
  2. Build quality in
  3. Amplify learning
  4. Defer commitment
  5. Deliver as fast as possible
  6. Respect people
  7. Optimize the whole

Three dimensions of Lean Agile Leadership

There’s another important thing we can learn from experiences of organizational transformation and Lean management in the manufacturing sector. In my coaching, I have pinpointed three key dimensions worth considering as a leader. For each of these dimensions, I will offer one or two coaching questions to facilitate the reader’s personal reflections.

  1. Visible problems do not exist: they have been solved already. To help leaders move forward, you can ask: “How many clearly visible problems are you still stuck with in your organization?”
  2. The most efficient way becomes the standard, and the standard must be improved every month. Here, we can ask, “How much are you still striving to find one-size-fits-all “best practices” to make you move quickly to the next rigid and comfortable status quo?”, and “What are your managers accountable for?”
  3. Measure organizational capacity for solving impediments to generate trust. Here, it can be helpful to ask, “How seriously is your organization taking the fixing of impediments for teams?” and “To what extent do you think you are living the values you’re preaching?”

Agile Leadership Training

In a post from 2011, consultant and writer Esther Derby explains how insufficient training and mentoring can be damaging for leaders. She says, “Most people in management roles receive little or no training on how to do the job. Many organizations promote people who excelled as individual contributors doing technical work into management roles […] The skills required for management are often vastly different. […] A lot of the management training out there is crap. Few organizations have robust and confidential mentorship programs.

As we discussed in the chapters above, an effective way to become a better agile leader is to self-assess your servant leadership skills, understand how good you are at mastering multiple leadership styles, and grow your emotional intelligence index through journaling, self-reflection, and feedback.

However a solid education is extremely important, especially if you are starting the journey or want to deepen and practice your Agile leadership skills. In this context the industry standard and most widely recognized program in agile leadership is Certified Agile Leadership Essentials for Team and Organization Leaders, also known as CAL-E+T+O training. This class will help you discover how your natural, cultural dispositions might affect your teams, and learn how to create a safe-to-fail environment that fosters a culture of transparency, inspection, creativity, and adaptation.

How Agile Transformation Makes the Workplace Better

Rowan Bunning, in an interview with Yves Hanoulle,  said, “​​…the agile movement in software is part of a larger movement towards more humane and dynamic workplaces in the 21st century.” Agile organizations allows for more flexibility, freedom, and employee satisfaction. In this blog, we’ll explore what an Agile work environment is, and how it contributes to this global trend of more “humane and dynamic workplaces.”

What is Agile?

There are many methodologies, frameworks, and tools that are used in an Agile work environment, such as Scrum and Kanban. These tools and methodologies all form part of Agile, but ultimately Agile is a mindset. What encapsulates the Agile mindset is the Agile Manifesto, a document that sets out the key principles and values behind agile. It aims to help development teams work more efficiently. 

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What are the four core principles of agile?

The four values stated in the Agile Manifesto include: 

  • Individuals and interactions over tools;
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation;
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation; and 
  • Responding to change over following a plan.

These values set the scene for more agile, humane, and dynamic work environments. Moreover, it is these values that are transforming the workplace.

How does Agile make the workplace better?

Agile helps teams take responsibility 

One of the principles of the Agile Manifesto says, “The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.” Self-organizing teams choose how they will execute the work, so team members feel passionate and confident about their work. Simultaneously, teams have more responsibility. The ability to self-organize allows for shared responsibility and ownership across the team. 

It helps teams learn and grow 

Agile is iterative, and this approach extends to how teams operate. Within this mindset, teams have the opportunity to continuously evolve based on their decision-making capabilities. This gives people the license to think and feel the way they want, knowing that they have the opportunity to fail safely. In Agile environments, there is always room to inspect, adapt and grow.

Agile helps teams to learn and grow

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It improves communication and collaboration 

The Agile Manifesto talks about individuals over interactions, and this places great importance on teamwork. Agile teams focus on frequent communication and understand that they can accomplish more when they rely on each other. The smaller, cross-functional, and multi-disciplinary nature of Agile teams ensures that everyone is engaged when working towards a goal. These tight-knit structures allow for more innovative and quicker solutions while making the team feel more connected.

It fosters freedom to experiment and be creative 

Agile teams are focused, flexible, iterative, and support one another. This combination creates the ideal environment for individuals to be creative and explore their ideas. Every experience is an experiment towards learning which consequently allows people to grow. The freedom, ability to self-organize, and flexibility encourage innovation to happen in a faster way.

Agile fosters creativity

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The leadership style focuses on removing roadblocks 

According to Wikipedia, Agile leaders help self-organized development teams by “boosting adaptiveness in dynamic and complex business environments”. Agile leaders help people and teams to meet performance expectations and customer demands. This involves enabling self-organization, explorative solutions to problem-solving, and giving decision making discretion. Ultimately, these leaders need to remove any roadblocks that may obstruct a team’s path to success. Middle managers are removed which gives the team more freedom to make their own decisions and to self-organize according to their capabilities. This decentralized power focuses on the team’s ability to make effective decisions quickly, and as a result, they feel more productive and empowered.

Agile Leadership Styles

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It reduces stress

In Agile, items are prioritized according to a well-defined product backlog which gives your team a clear direction on what to work on next. In more traditional workplaces, people stick to a strict plan and change can be stressful.  Yet in Agile environments, changes in plans can be accommodated and taken in your stride, without throwing the team off course. This builds resilience and these factors contribute to the team’s optimism, effectiveness, and perceived control. 

It makes teams more adaptable

According to an article by Forbes, organizations that were able to adapt the quickest had self-organizing teams that were autonomous, transparent, cross-functional, and decisive. Agile teams can prepare for the future – no matter how uncertain it may be – by being robust and ready for change. This makes teams more able to move with the times, especially when faced with unpredictable factors such as a pandemic or the great resignation.

Agile teams are adaptable

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It fosters transparency in the workplace

Transparency and openness are fundamental to Agile organizations. For teams to reach their goals,  they must have a clear and shared understanding of the task at hand. Transparency can be fostered through tools, communication, channels and techniques so that every aspect of the work being done is available to the whole team at any given time. 

It makes teams feel trusted

Agile work environments are built upon trust, and this can be revolutionary for workplaces, especially when working remotely. There is a deep-seated level of trust that is reinforced through self-organizing teams, non-intrusive leadership styles, and transparency. These practices leave teams feeling empowered and give them a greater sense of responsibility. There’s no feeling of being micromanaged and this is highly motivating for both teams and individuals. It also means that people take more responsibility for and pride in their work.

How to introduce Agile Transformation at your organization

Many companies have started to adopt a more Agile mindset and see the benefits extend beyond delivering faster and more innovative solutions. agile42 offers a complete suite of solutions, from online professional development short courses to live Scrum training. Our coaches can also work with you to co-create bespoke enterprise learning solutions, or you can get in touch to find out about our agile coaching services. 

Combine your OKRs with Agile Strategy Map™ for Success

OKRs are one of the most widely used goal-setting frameworks, defined by a set of Objectives and Key Results, which each employee in an organization works towards. The Agile Strategy Map™ is a collaborative framework developed by agile42 that helps organizations design, manage, execute, and support their strategy. 

In this blog post, I’ll bring you an alternative look at the Agile Strategy Map™ and how organizations can combine it with the OKR approach to planning, with the ultimate result of more realistic goals.

What is The Agile Strategy Map™?

The Agile Strategy Map™  is a way to design a company strategy in a transparent and incremental way, based on continuous experimentation and adaptation. It makes this strategy available to everyone in the organization. The framework also provides a solid operating model that allows you to break down identified success factors into workable items, in a collaborative and agile way. agile42 has developed this framework through real-life experiences with clients and the help of many coaches who contributed over time to refine and improve its usability. The Agile Strategy Map™ can be a stand-alone tool for an organization, or it can be used in the context of an approach inspired by the principles of ORGANIC Agility. In this case, it corresponds to the basic principle of validating changes in small increments. 

What are OKRs?

OKR (or OKRs) stands for Objectives and Key Results, and it is a framework for setting a company, team, or individual’s goals. The value of OKRs is that they create transparency around the organization’s goals, which in turn helps employees feel more aligned and committed to achieving those goals. 

Further reading: A Complete Guide to OKRs

The overlap between OKRs and The Agile Strategy Map™

OKRs and Agile Strategy Map share two crucial principles that contribute to success:

  • Change (and delivery) in small and frequent increments
  • Engaging people actively in the process of change (and delivery)

Along with those principles, there are also a few other common elements:

  • Both spotlight focus
  • They combine bottom-up and top-down approaches
  • They have regular cadences
  • Each has roles

Advantages of The Agile Strategy Map™

The Agile Strategy Map™ will help you build more realistic KRs, experiment in a safe-to-fail way, and avoid flying blindly. There are a number of advantages to combining the two frameworks, rather than simply using OKRs alone. 

The Agile Strategy Map™ can distinguish the different types of KRs more clearly

I have been involved in many different companies’ OKR plans over the course of my career. I observed that the teams were usually struggling to name the correct “target” for their Key Results. Most of the time, people use common sense or draw from previous experiences or market benchmarks. The challenge is to strike a balance between ambition and achievability. The OKR framework uses different types of Key Results, including “Learning, Committed and Aspirational.” However, in reality, I’ve mostly encountered Key Results for “Committed” and “Aspirational” types; I rarely see “Learning” KRs. 

The Agile Strategy Map™ uses Success Factors

To indicate how you will accomplish your Goal, The Agile Strategy Map™ uses Success Factors. Depending on the organization’s prior knowledge level about the goal, these will be either Confirmed or Potential Success Factors. Distinguishing the “possibility” from “plausibility” will decrease your risk and improve the success of your decisions.

The Cynefin Framework presents the basis of this approach. Cynefin provides a way to make sense of the context we are in by observing patterns and constraints. It also provides guidance about the most appropriate way to act.

After analyzing our path towards the targets, if we don’t recognize patterns, best or good practices, governing or rigid constraints, most probably we are finding ourselves in an “Unordered Domain.” In that case, we have to be empirical, maybe design a few experiments to probe the environment in the hope to identify emergent practices. All the Key Results (or Success Factors) we see are the “Potential Success Factors” and we need to validate these at some level. 

The Agile Strategy Map™ allows you to see your journey more clearly

The Agile Strategy Map™ collects and shows all learnings, failures, and decision points. As Spanish philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” 

The Agile Strategy Map™ follows the insights and theory provided by Wardley maps, named after Simon Wardley. Wardley combined the thinking of OODA loops (the decision-making cycle of observe, orient, decide, and act) from military strategist John Boyd and The Art of War from Chinese general Sun Tzu to create a basic cycle for thinking about strategy. According to Wardley’s Map, good strategy tools shall be visual, context-specific, positional, and display connections. It helps us navigate the plan, anchoring us by reference a direction and suggesting a movement and/or changes, where we are going, and where we have been. 

The Agile Strategy Map™ allows you to iterate and improve on OKRs

OKRs are usually followed for a certain period, and when they are done, they are done. It’s possible to re-iterate the Key Results and make them more ambitious, but they don’t show you the journey and what you have learned along the way. Although OKRs are visual, context-specific, positional, and have anchors, they lack movement. They are static. They don’t suggest changes based on where you have been. This can make it difficult to recognize and respond to  the signals that are hinting towards direction changes, potentially invalidating the relevance of the defined Targets/Objectives. The Agile Strategy Map™ allows you to constantly introduce new Potential Success Factors (PSFs) as they appear, and quickly relate them to the existing map, and identify dependencies and impacts very quickly. 

How to combine OKRs and Agile Strategy Map™ 

It’s possible to combine the OKR framework to achieve the above-mentioned advantages. Here is an outline of how to do this effectively. 

Step 1: Create your OKR pyramid 

Define an inspirational goal for yourself and/or your team and then divide that into smaller, reachable, quarterly objectives. Then, define the Key Results that will help you reach your objective. Next, plot the tasks and projects that will result in achieving the defined Key Results. 

Step 2: Reframe your Objective as your “Strategic Goal” 

Ensure that your Goal has clearly defined “desired outcomes” which are measurable and connected to creating value for users, customers, and/or employees. They should also give direction. 

Step 3: Refine your Key Results and decide if they are “Confirmed” or “Potential” Success Factors

Confirmed Success Factors (CSFs)

Confirmed Success Factors (CSFs) are based on past learnings or proven practices and they might be in the form of processes, rules, policies, constraints, approaches. In short, they include everything that works within the organization, and has an established value proposition for customers. Given the defined Goal, we may identify a subset of CSFs that will be enablers for achieving that Goal. These are our “Committed Key Results.” The fact that they are confirmed tells us that they are Learned, and the fact that we choose them as relevant for achieving our goals makes them Committed.

A Confirmed Success Factor may be expressed in the following form: 

Potential Success Factors (PSFs) 

Potential Success Factors (PSFs) are hypotheses that we believe might help us to achieve our goal. These hypotheses need to be made explicit so that through transparency, dependencies can be made visible. The primary purpose of declaring explicitly what could be helpful towards achieving the goal is to identify changes or adaptations that can be used to our advantage. As such hypotheses could emerge at any time, integrating them with the Agile Strategy Map™ provides a means to re-evaluate our strategy and the relevance of all existing success factors.

A Potential Success Factor is expressed in the following form:

Step 4: Classify your projects and/or tasks as Necessary Conditions or Experiments depending on the Success Factors

To be able to leverage a CSF we need to maintain and continuously evolve it. This requires a CSF always has at least one Necessary Condition (NC). The NC will bring the strategy to a tactical level and allow operational work to start. NCs can act as an anticipatory trigger, reacting to or prompting specific events/needs. For example, we could periodically review a policy to check how it’s performing against some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). 

We may express a Necessary Condition in the following form:

Experiments are our way to decrease the unknowns of our hypothesis, so we can validate or invalidate them as fast as possible, empirically, and without relying on assumptions that ultimately increase risk. Experiments also help prioritize and identify dependencies. They may need NCs as the prerequisite elements to start the Experiments. To get quick feedback and make decisions, the recommended duration of an experiment should be between four and 12 weeks. While, in Cynefin terms, experiments in the Complicated domain should evaluate identified options, experiments in the Complex domain aims at identifying potential options.

A practical example of combining OKRs with The Agile Strategy Map™

Let’s put all that theoretical knowledge into a more concrete example.

As the “Space Tourists Inc.” you have the company vision “Be the leader of the space tourism market.” During your annual planning meeting, you have decided to increase your share of space tourism as part of your Q1 goal. 

Example Key Results 

After some conversations with your team members and management, you picked two Key Results to focus on: 

  • Increase sign-ups for Mars travel by 30% (which you know will increase your share in the market)
  • Increasing the returning travelers by 20% (which you hypothesize can help to increase your share in the market)

Example CSFs and PSFs

In this example, you have one CSFs and one PSF.

Unpacking the CSF

We learned that “increasing sign-ups for Mars travel” can help us to achieve our goal of “increasing our share in the space tourism market”. We can measure it with the “number of the tickets sold to Mars.”  

  • Increasing sign-ups for Mars travel by 30% comes with two Necessary Conditions
  • We need to increase the Marketing Activities by 20%; otherwise, we can’t reach enough people to create Mars’ travel demand
  • We need to operate two more spaceships to Mars; otherwise, we can’t meet the demand

Although you’ve got some clear plans and conditions for increasing sign-ups, you aren’t sure if increasing the returning travelers will expand your market share. If there are more returning travelers, your market share will be higher if these returning travellers book more flights through you, and do not go through a competitor. 

In order to increase the number of the returning customers, you want to start with increasing the flight satisfaction. It makes sense to have this as a Key Result because your previous experiments validated that people tend to fly with you more than once if they enjoyed the experience. 

Unpacking the PSF

By improving our flight satisfaction, we expect that more people will sign up for a second flight as returning travelers (and don’t prefer a competitor), which should support achieving our goal of increasing the space tourism market share. 

Your hypotheses are, “if we can increase your flight service satisfaction and improve the landing experience, this will positively impact the returning customer rate.”

For each different hypothesis, you can create separate PSFs. 

Let’s start with the following piece of the puzzle: “by improving our in-flight service satisfaction…” If you achieve this, you expect that people will want to fly with you more often, which should support achieving your goal of increasing your market share in space tourism. We will measure this with an improved flight satisfaction survey.

Next, we’ll look at the “improve our landing experience” part. If you achieve this, you can expect that people will want to fly with you more often, which should support your goal of increasing your market share in space tourism. We can also measure this with an improved flight satisfaction survey.

Unpacking the Necessary Conditions and Experiments

Landing experience is strictly tied to one Necessary Condition, “Launching Landing Gear 2.0,” and one experiment, “Distribute laughing gas during landing.” 

  • We need to launch Landing Gear 2.0; otherwise, we’ll keep having hard bumps, which increases significantly the risk of injuring passengers 
  • To complete Landing Gear 2.0, we have to complete dummy-crash tests and score 100 points from the NASA evaluation. 

As for the experiment:

  • We need to distribute laughing gas inside our crafts during landing to foster positive memories. If we don’t, we won’t be able to positively influence the memories of our customers. 
  • To start experimenting, we need to buy laughing gas, buy a distribution device, and install the device in our crafts.

This example sums up the interpretation of OKRs together with the Agile Strategy Map. In that way, you can define your Objectives and Key Results with more clarity and confidence. 

Want a guided free demo of the Agile Strategy Map™?

Our experienced coaches are happy to talk you through this software and how it can supercharge your goals. You can read more about the Agile Strategy Map™ and pricing information, or contact us to book a free demo with our experienced consultants. 

Agile Challenges

Eight Lessons We Learned in 2021

2021 was another unpredictable year. Although we seemed more prepared for remote working and different ways of doing business, there were, as always, some unexpected curve balls. COVID-19 variants, hybrid working arrangements, and cancelled Christmas parties, among many other challenges, made for an interesting year of work. If there is anything we can learn from the past few years, it is to expect the unexpected. There is always room to inspect and adapt. 

We asked you, our community, what your greatest agile challenges were from 2021 and what you learned from them. Here are eight of your biggest challenges, and biggest lessons, from the last year. 

If you fail to inspect, you fail to adapt

Having a plan and procedures in place allows you the opportunity to inspect and adapt. This is a vital step towards improvement. As Agile practitioner Jesper Ørting reminds us, “In sport, people train 99% of the time and perform 1%, but in business, we train 1% of the time and have to perform 99%, and we still expect it to work.” This begs the question: are we spending enough time planning, developing skills, and adapting? 

Scrum Master Riaan Johannes R reflects on how important having a plan was for his Program Increment (PI) Planning. “Face to face communication is already difficult with PI Planning, but doing this remotely is a nightmare,” he explained, “You need to not only have an agenda and a plan, but also facilitate via the tool you use and also know this off by heart.” 

Trust and openness can help to overcome uncertainty

When there is massive uncertainty, it can result in a lack of purpose, motivation, and cohesion among your teams. Scrum Master Floris Dafel experienced this. “I’ve learnt that a lack of purpose is like kryptonite to teams”, he said, “and it can be overcome by trust and openness. […] We did some trust-building team exercises that helped and also created our own vision where there was a lack of it instead of waiting for it. The challenges actually built a strong team in the end.”

Trust and openness

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Change is a process and shouldn’t be imposed

For Agile Coach Matteo Betti, coping with change in a remote working environment was a massive challenge. They had the additional challenge of facing a massive reteaming. “I learned that you have to be patient and wait for the right opportunity to show things from different perspectives,” he explained, “Change should not be imposed. Scrum Master Daniel Palmisano shared a similar experience.“I learned that sometimes we have to be patient and let the people think about change and be willing to accept new ways of working,” he told agile42. 

During times of change, teams need time to embrace the process. The best thing a leader can do is communicate what is expected across the team, be open to new ways of working, and be patient.

Take action after a retrospective

While retrospectives can be a great opportunity to look back on a sprint and make plans to improve in the future, it’s important to make sure they’re geared towards real, actionable change. “Retrospectives can be great and insightful but the pitfall is that if nothing changes teams tend to say, ‘this is all useless!’,” shared Facilitator Valentina Sandi. “So Inspect – Adapt – ACTION”. A successful retrospective ensures action instead of running into the same issues every time.  

Make sure the team has a shared understanding of your goals 

When undergoing change and transformation, especially along your Agile journey, it is crucial that everyone shares the same understanding of both the process and the goal. “Our biggest fail this year was assuming that everybody on the team and organisation has the same understanding of what Agile and Scrum means,” reflects Scrum Master Claus Trohl. “We are now rectifying this by more widespread communication throughout the organisation.” 

Use the correct communication tools 

There are a multitude of tools that can help you communicate better, especially as more and more teams work remotely. For Lean and Agile coach Ilija Popjanev, changing their approach to communication has been instrumental. She says, “Our biggest failure was weak communication through emails. We learnt the lesson and switched to Slack and Whatsapp, now it is totally different.”

Use games, activities and tools in Agile facilitation

Mentor and Facilitator Nissaf Sleimi has incorporated games and tools to build resilience while facilitating. Using games to practise agile methods not only deepens our understanding of concepts but helps us to build confidence, communication skills, and trust. You can practise communication and other Agile concepts through these games, such as the Kanban Pizza Game

Agile games

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Keep learning, always

At agile42, one of our biggest lessons for the year was that the learning never ends. As we approach the new year, we want to make sure we’re not repeating old mistakes, and learn how to improve on the issues we’ve identified. Want to learn with us? Check out our online courses, enquire about our training and workshops, and sign up for our free webinars.