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The Journey To Enterprise Agility: Who is the responsible to promote the Agile culture?

 
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To say truth, in many enterprise are levels of responsibility and "importance" based on the roles. Depending on your role people could listen to you or not.

That said, who should be the principal responsible to promote the Agile culture in an enterprise environment?
And, how to strive for an enterprise agility culture?
 
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Culture questions are always hard ones.  The existing organizational structures in many enterprises actually make them even harder.  As we have learned in our practice and said in the book, the enterprise agility will have to be built upon people's worldviews, intention, speeches, and actions.   No one can force the worldviews and intention into others.  Speeches and actions alone will not be sufficient and effective.  That is, enterprise agility as a whole including culture is an invitation, not a marching order. We will have to learn how to grow the four components together from a thinly sliced project within the enterprise, starting with the believers.  As a start, this is the place you should find the people who truly strive for the enterprise agility and promote it including culture.
 
Jorge Ruiz-Aquino
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Understood, I should not use 'should'.    English is not my primary language.

And yes, sounds very reasonable. Starting with an small project is a good approach to embrace and to promote the Agile culture from inside the enterprise.
Thank you for your answer.
 
Hong Lii
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I think you have got one more important point yourself here when you pointed out that the effort will start "from inside ..."
 
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Hong Lii wrote:That is, enterprise agility as a whole including culture is an invitation, not a marching order.


That is a great thought. Unfortunately, it's exactly the opposite of what many executives who are in a hurry to "implement Agile" in their organizations do. Things like mandates to "Do TDD!" and "Develop in 2-week sprints!" are common. At one place, the order to "switch to 2-week sprints" was given to a team that was doing 9-week release cycles. Guess what that team did: They planned out a 2-week sprint for analysis, followed by a 2-week spring for design, then a 2-week sprint for coding, ... well, you get the picture.

There are some camps that have the point-of-view that just putting the ceremonies (like sprints, retros, daily stand-ups) and changing the organization structure have to come first. The idea is based in part on the Shu-Ha-Ri concept of learning, that you have to follow the form first and build up "muscle memory".  

What is your experience or point-of-view about the idea that "structure and ceremonies will create an environment for the culture to emerge"?
 
Hong Lii
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Unfortunately, many organizations just stay with structures and ceremonies, which are mostly about mechanical procedures.  Management may declare some quick wins.  But how much benefits of this kind of practice is going to generate and last will be a different question.  A good martial art master will not keep his students stay with “Shu”.
 
Junilu Lacar
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I'm starting to think that it's not really a question of which one goes first but rather how much of a balance you have between the two. Just as process agility is empty without technical agile and technical prowess is incomplete without a disciplined process, I think org structures and ceremonies are empty without a solid foundation in principles and culture. At first, naive organizations have a heavy focus on ceremonies. Eventually, they will realize that Conway's Law applies and they have to adapt their org structure to fit the processes. Astute organizations or ones that are well coached will have a good grounding in understanding principles. Awareness of the principles gives them a goal to aspire to and a reason to look for ways to improve. Forming the right structures and following the ceremonies gets them going on the journey.

In the martial arts, there is the same progression. You start out with kata, following the form. As you're taught principles, you start to retrospect and meditate on how the movements you learned in the kata relate to the principles and philosophy of the art. As you progress towards mastery and expertise, your technique becomes more refined and you start blending "mind and body". In the Ri stage of learning, you free yourself of the constraints of form and just "be the form," in other words, whatever you do, that is the form. It's how one progresses from "doing Agile" to "being agile."
 
Hong Lii
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Agree on the principles.  Our common challenge is an organization usually is not a training camp.  The day-to-day operations, existing ways of doing things, and existing structures typically are not open to learning new things, if the new things are so different.  It takes time to change.  Still, not many students will make it beyond "Shu".  In the end, it will be their choice one way or another.
 
Junilu Lacar
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Saw this in my Twitter feed today: https://twitter.com/WoodyZuill/status/1042826304700112896

in a Tweet, Woody Zuill wrote:"The only thing more difficult than starting something new in an organization is stopping something old." -Russell Ackoff


Coincidence or not? It may just be my imagination but the timing seems uncanny.


 
Hong Lii
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I like it too!  We are thinking "Shu-Ha-Ri" for the new things.  The start of "Shu" for the new things is actually sending "Ha" to the old things ...
 
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