Most organizations see Agile as a way of working in the Software development or broader IT focus. This, because the original Manifest for Agile Software Development has been created by Software Engineers and Programmers. Nevertheless, recent years have seen the success using the Agile way of working also in the non-IT or SW development industry.
The biggest transformational change in terms of bring Agile to the whole organization was, when organizations moved the responsibility from the CTO or CIO to the CEO. Whereas CTOs are in the end still disciplinary of their work, the CEO looks at the organization more comprehensive. Consequently, HR started to have a much bigger say and responsibility in the Agile journey process. Often, the HR Business Partners or the Learning & Development part of HR, started to connect the HR department rather directly to the implementation of Agile ways of working, In that sense, the departments or functions or disciplines are not really changing in terms of naming or necessity; it is rather, that their role changed from a servant role to the C-Level to a more comprehensive facilitator in the organization. Practitioners of Agile in HR or Agile people are not necessarily the enforcer of rules and policies, but the enabler of self organization, competence and cross-functionality.
Such a view on how organizations and functions are changing sets the foundations on how the whole organizations can change. Other Agile in Non-IT functions such as Agile Marketing can learn from software development is built and how they can make better decisions on how they want to roll out their work. Lean Startup or Design Thinking are ways on starting assumptions also in Marketing and help to get feedback on the success faster. Therefore, being one of the more Agile ways of doing things.
A change on looking how to use Agile to make more sense in the organization as a whole requires also different view on certain aspects of the company. The traditional Project Management Office has to change the way, they were doing things. Agile is requiring teams to be more self-organized, in some sense every team forges their fortune and need room to breathe and develop an optimum way of cooperation. A traditional PMO, telling every team what to do, is therefore to some extent Anti-Agile.
A modern Agile PMO therefore is not the policymaker and enforcer, but rather similar to the HR function a facilitator to ensure that the teams are following Agile values. They might set up a skeleton of rules, but giving individual teams enough room to navigate themselves. The Agile PMO therefore defines, where the guard rails of the street to Agility are set. Within these guard rails, the teams can navigate. They cannot navigate outside the rails.
The HR department becomes a Coach of the whole organization; but the Agile PMO is rather the manager of the whole system. They do not tell people how to go about their way of working, but ensuring, they have everything available to move into an Agile way of working.
Agile Scaling Frameworks such as SAFe, LESS, Scrum@Scale or similar ones are a good starting point to look at how to solve the alignment issues. They usually provide good ideas on how to scale and have some great tools to achieve that. However, as every organization is a construct of human interactions, we need to understand, that those frameworks cannot be just copied and pasted into each organization. We should use them as a starting point, not as the blueprint on our organization.
- August 26, 2021
- July 24, 2021