So, you’re driving down the street. A stoplight comes. Red. You find yourself behind a ’93 Tercel. Well, you think it’s a ’93 Tercel. Truth is, you can’t quite tell because 98% of the back of the car is completely covered with bumper stickers.
Now, bumper stickers aren’t bad. In many cases, they’re downright poignant and even humorous expressions. But when the back of a car is more sticker than car, it’s just yelling. And nobody wants to be yelled at sitting at a stoplight.
Yet this is what happens many times when Agile is brought into an organization. As an executive, you’re seeing Agile as a tool to help you get to the next wave of digital. So, you bring it in. A few teams get ahold of it. Six months later, everyone using Agile is like, “This is amazing!” And then someone (you) says everyone in the company has to start using Agile and now.
Aaaaand instead of easing your company along the journey to digital leader, you just bumper stickered the hell out of it.
Agile simply can’t survive in this kind of mandated environment. And it certainly won’t survive, much less thrive, if you’re just pasting it onto the bumper of department in your organization. When scaling Agile, this is what makes it (fr)Agile – forgetting that each aspect of your organization operates differently.
And instead of supercharging your organization’s communication and collaboration with Agile, you’re probably giving Agile its death sentence.
See, every organization has both personal and emotional barriers to innovation and collaboration. Agile is uniquely poised to break down those barriers, but only if you don’t throw it into your organizational mix by sticking it on IT’s bumper. Or Marketing’s bumper. You can’t just “stick” Agile on anything.
First, your organization thrives on account of diversity – diversity of personality, function, specialization, and knowledge. Stop thinking of Agile as a sticker you can paste on. Instead, start thinking of Agile – the kind of Agile implementation and adoption that’s going to accelerate your journey to digital – as a pair of pants.
Now, imagine that you, the empowered and ambitious executive, just said, “We need everyone to switch to Agile.”
Seems forward thinking and harmless enough. You even said it with gusto.
Now, replace Agile with pants.
“We need everyone to switch to pants.”
Umm, great. What kind of pants? Stretchy leggings, jeans, khakis, a nice flat-front slack? Well, the pants kinda depend on the job you need to do. Where you’re working. What you’re doing while wearing the pants.
Agile is pants. And every part of your organization needs a different pair based on how they think, their function, and their culture.
You can’t just walk into a store and say, “I need pants.” Well, you can’t just walk into your organization and tell everyone, “You need Agile.”
When implementing Agile as a transformational tool on your road to digital, it begins with leadership. We know you don’t want to be the yell-y car covered in stickers at the stoplight. So instead, treat Agile implementation like pants. Everyone will need a different size. People will have color and style preferences. There is no one-size-fits-all. When you acknowledge that Agile demands a high level of personalization and empower teams to adopt and grow into Agile, you’ll find a higher likelihood that each team will find its perfect fit within Agile.
Pants: the secret to Agile implementation and adoption success. It sounds weird, but go with pants. And if you drive a ’93 Tercel we hope it’s more car and less sticker.