Business Consultant and Blog author. Anne-Cécile Graber is a consultant at new & able and a blog writer . She focuses on new work, the impact of digitalization in the workplace, teamwork and communication.
The Agile framework is very famous nowadays. It is implemented in big companies that have an IT or technical department. The digital transformation is impacting the way we work. We moved from a slow product industry to a fast service industry. It is easy to think that one framework, one methodology, one way of working will bring us to the next level of business. The business world is made of different layers of consciousness which means that not everyone is at the same level of development. Everyone is surfing on a different wave. We cannot predict what will work tomorrow. We can just try. It is important to consider the reasons why companies should use a new methodology before implementing it.
Many companies jump onto the Agile train because they need any kind of solutions to their organizational problems. Then they become aware that their management methodology is not adaptable to the ever-changing business world. Their bureaucracies, processes, employee management and leadership are failing at creating the services and products at a space that allowed them to grow. They bitterly realize that Agile is not doing it for them. Are they really using the right methodology or are they avoiding acknowledging the deeper Systematic issues? Furthermore, do companies need to grow forever?
New frameworks like Agile can be useful if companies avoid the following traps:
Whenever I ask what are the goals of the company for (choosing to use) using the Agile framework, I am always surprised to hear this answer: We want to be faster, leaner, agile... This is not a goal, this is a result. What is your goal? Is it to create the next generation of X or to allow employees to freely grow and develop themselves while creating products that your clients love?
Defining goals is difficult because it comes back to the questions “Why are we here?” “What is our vision for the future”. The following article gives hint on “How to come up with a vision for my company?”
Big corporations often fail at answering this question because they are enormous. They are like Medusa, with her many snakes that have no common vision.
Some companies decided to use the Agile framework because of a promise that cannot be fulfilled (faster, better, agile, stronger). In some situations, it is like using an antidote against fever when it’s your arm that is broken. The issue here, more often than not, is a wrong diagnosis or a charlatan selling you his or her product. The main reason for a false diagnosis is the desire to gain time. Why analyze the situation when we know what the problem is? First, you don’t really know until the situation is seen in all its aspects (holistic). Real Organizational Development work by analyzing the situation from different point of views (leaders, employees, organizations).
Second, even if you know the symptoms you may still get the wrong medication. The risk of getting the wrong medication is higher if the person selling you a cure believes that his medication is a cure-all. It is better to get the opinion of various independent specialists and not rely on just one who tells you that it will be easily solved. If you, having the expertise in the field, were not able to solve the problem it means that the issue exists in different level within the company. It is similar to a fabric, where each fiber is interlaced with others and have an impact on the quality of the fabric. You pull one, all the others will be impacted. You cannot solve your issue if you do not clarify what you want and understand the situation holistically.
So far, your company has been growing in a framework rooted in beliefs, values, and habits. This framework may not be adapted to evolve in the digital world. You want to use a new methodology to attain a new level of growth. This means changing beliefs, values, and habits. It requires inquiring the existence of the company’s roots and trying to understand how the beliefs, values, and habits have evolved in order to access the next level of success. Imposing a new methodology will not change the roots of your company. It will only add a cosmetic surplus that will continue to cover the roots of the company for a short period. It is only by growing new roots that the company can blossom in the new methodology.
Furthermore, the new methodology may be adaptable to only a small department of your company and a variation of it can be used for others.
Any new methodology may seem attractive because they open the door to more productivity but they cannot be implemented without reflection. We need to pause and reflect. What is it that we really need? Will the Agile framework help us achieve our goals? The Agile framework is not a solution for every situation, it is made of core beliefs, values and habits that may or may not fit your company. Either everyone accepts it and change or refuse and reject it.
What do you think about the implementation of new frameworks such as Agile in the workplace? What is your opinion on this subject?
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