What does cultural agility look like?

birdsinnovationTo borrow from Oprah, there is one thing I know for sure.

Low Trust = More Process. Process kills Autonomy. Autonomy = Innovation

Innovation is the life blood of any organization that wants to exist more than 15 years, the average age of a company today. And real innovation requires cultural agility. I recently published a blog on the difference between enterprise agile versus scaled Agile which helped me form my thoughts that business agility is founded in cultural agility. When I published the blog, someone then asked me to describe an organization with cultural agility.

Here’s my vision of cultural agility:

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How the PSM III made me a better agilist

PSMIIIArticleI recently passed Scrum.org’s PSM III* with the 95 required to continue in the trainer process. It was challenging – and it took more than one try. Here’s 500 words on what worked, and why it was worth it.

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For all the lonely coaches…3 steps to your coaching kata

Coaching can be lonely. It’s hard. It’s complex. It’s subjective. We take it personally. There’s a 1,000 books and blogs on how to do it right, and yet, no one way to do it right.

Nearly ten years ago, my coach, Jesse Fewell called me a ‘Truth Sayer.’

“If you are not on the verge of getting fired, you are not doing enough. The trick is, don’t get fired.”

Unfortunately, it appears I was born without the fear of being unemployed. I have never shrunk away from the hard conversations. On the counter side, my performance evaluation every year starts with a management session on ‘your delivery.’ (I have also never shied away from self-improvement.) But I keep going, and I keep growing. Perhaps it is my Libra optimism, or perhaps it is the Western culture I grew up with, born of the East: “Fall down seven, get up eight.”

This does not make me unique, in fact, I have found most coaches to have similar makeups.

To be an agile coach, to live in our world, means to grow resilient, to embrace connections, to thrive on experimentation.

Jesse also taught me: “Divorce yourself from the outcome.” However, even us tough guys and gals can have our world shattered. Perhaps we are in the game too long without validation. Perhaps someone hit on our deepest insecurities and wounded us mightily. Perhaps the organization was not ready – or perhaps they were not ready for me.

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Stop! enterprise agile and Scaled Agile are not the same thing

It’s been 15 yeaagilecatmemers since the Agile Manifesto and there is no refuting the consistent evidence that agile works. The Standish Group’s 2011 Chaos Report states that “Agile projects are three times more successful than non-agile projects.”  Nearly every technology shop is working within some kind of agile framework, mostly Scrum. However, if you are working in the field, you might have recently used the term “Scrum-but.” For the uninitiated, this term refers to the myriad of ways that teams, trying to deliver in an agile fashion, conflict with traditional requirements, supervision, reporting, and bottlenecks.

Scaling agile for delivery efforts versus an enterprise culture.

If we are talking about multiple teams working on one product, program or value stream, we are talking about scaling Agile. There is no one-size fits all model, although four of the five best known scaling models are based on Scrum. Every one provides a framework for organizations to deliver big, complex features with multiple moving parts.

They don’t offer solutions for hiring the right talent; for determining compensation in a team-based world; for structuring contracts with vendors that complement agile deliverables rather than handicap them. They don’t describe how to partner with clients on delivery projects with a focus on value and quality instead of scope. They don’t focus on how to grow the agile mindset.

Once we are talking about anything outside of delivering the work, we are talking about enterprise agility. Enterprise agility encompasses all aspects of an organization. It requires a baseline of a learning culture, a shallow organizational structure, and the embedded value of experimentation. It goes beyond development teams: HR in hiring for passion, retaining the agile mindset, and developing new career paths; Legal and Accounting to adjust their vendor and client contracts; Marketing and Sales to collaborate with customer relationships in frequent feedback and planning sessions. In fact, perhaps the proof of an agile organization is shown through the crucial handshake between business and technology.

Is one more important than the other? 

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Scrum Masters: 10 Servant Leader Techniques

Facilitator2What does ‘servant leadership’ look like when you are always the one facilitating the event? Facilitation skills are important skills to develop when your job involves helping teams be productive. Agile roles such as Scrum Master, Kanban Flow Manager, and Release Train Engineer, to name a few, require frequent facilitation. But in our world of growing remote, cross-functional and scaled agile teams, lots of us facilitate events. Read on ten techniques we find useful when working with teams that keep you in the spirit of servant leadership.

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