Expert Guidance to Ensure Business Agility & Top-notch Systems & Software
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In my years of implementing SPM across different teams and organizations, the notion of an object can be distressing. Unlike its sibling hierarchy, phases, the object concept is not well understood or even implemented much of anywhere in other project methodologies, setting aside enterprise architecture methodologies, which often model objects more extensively. IT people accept the idea of a project phase without question. When confronted with the notion of an object, however, the apparent simplicity of the definition of an object transitions quickly to difficulty upon further probing.
Almost every organization has some room for grassroots Agile initiatives; projects for which no mandatory process has been defined or organizational units where managers are less interested in how their teams work than in whether they deliver expected results. Launching an experiment with an Agile delivery process is therefore relatively simple. It takes a project, a team motivated to try (or demonstrate) how an Agile approach works, and a project sponsor willing either to play the role of product owner or to appoint one. Such a project does not really challenge the status quo; its results are uncertain, so even naysayers tolerate it. In this Advisor, we share some of the challenges of taking such an initiative.
Innovation at its core relies on focused creative thinking, which allows organizations to respond successfully to situations that do not have easy answers or readily apparent solutions and drive results in a collaborative emergence of novelty and marketable value. This focus originates within teams staffed and equipped to apply their collective creativity and experience to business challenges, which fosters the opportunity to make enhanced real-time decisions that benefit both the enterprise and its stakeholders. As we explore in this Executive Update, it is the creative collaboration of organizational teams, in concert with end-user sentiment, that drives the most effective innovation.
In the post-Agile world, the Agile mindset is so natural that people don’t even need to reference it anymore; they look at the larger picture. Where should we be directing our energy, and will we get there? In the fifth piece, Gabrielle Benefield and Kubair Shirazee tell the story of using the Mobius framework, with its double-loop learning and ultra-rapid feedback, to help small business owners in Pakistan and perhaps stop the spread of radicalization and extremism.
Abby Oulton describes how teachers and students at a self-directed learning school in New York started adopting Agile ideas to run their classrooms and how that idea spread to schools in several countries.
In her article, Andi Graham describes how those at her digital marketing agency started working actively with clients, co-planning and co-designing with them. These new behaviors required her staff to expose their doubts and uncertainties to clients. Resistant at first, employees saw the difference in speed and quality of feedback, improved client relations, and higher efficiency. This story shows Agile adoption through small steps with wide-ranging effects.
One of the most exciting ideas percolating through the Agile community is “solutions-focused” thinking, advancing through micro changes. In the next piece, Géry Derbier and Soledad Pinter tell stories of using solutions-focused thinking over several years, in the large — across an organization — and in the small — at the single-person and single-team level.
The Agile Manifesto and its obvious extensions don’t address issues needed at the organizational level. In their article, Jutta Eckstein and John Buck augment Agile with Beyond Budgeting, Open Space, and Sociocracy, something they call “BOSSA nova,” and link those with strategy, structure, and process to cover key organizational issues.