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Debugging Agile Adoption

by Clint Edmonson on February 22, 2017

We are frequently asked about our approach to agile adoption in both the small and at large. The answer of course, in true cheeky consulting form is “it depends”. At their root, agile adoptions and transformations are simply a form of organizational change management.

A Simple Model for Enacting Change

There are a number of different models developed within the business community at large to address change management. One particular model we like and refer to frequently is the Lippett-Knoster model pioneered by Dr. Mary Lippett with continuing work and evangelism by Timothy Knoster. The model, presented below, provides a simple but powerful formula for enacting sustainable change within an organization.

 

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The components of this model are straightforward, actionable, and in our humble opinions, very achievable.

  • Vision – a compelling reason for the new state of the organization that everyone can understand and accept
  • Skills – the necessary proficiencies for teams to operate in the new state of the organization
  • Incentives – compelling advantages and motivations for team members to buy into and move to the new desired state
  • Resources – the prerequisites, tools, facilities, and other support are present to enable the change to occur
  • Plan – a clear set of steps to implement and measure the progress of the desired state change

This model scales nicely and forms the basis for many of the change management strategies we build with our clients.

When Things Go Wrong

Where this model truly shines for us is in the analysis of the breakdowns that occur during adoption when components of this model are missing. You can see the effects below:

 

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In a mindful examination of the landscape, we typically see several of these behaviors manifesting themselves. It’s common for several components to be failing and/or missing at the same time. This generally leads to tweaks of individual teams as well as changes at higher levels of the organization based on the intensity of the behaviors.

As agents of change, we encounter these breakdowns almost daily. These insights allow us to pinpoint exactly where things are going wrong and brainstorm corrective steps to get things back on track.