Interview with Madhur Kathuria

Madhur Kathuria has coached nearly 300 teams for almost 75 clients across the US, Europe, South East Asia, Malaysia and Thailand. In this interview he talks about some of the cultural challenges for agile adoption. Read it here.

Interview with Elena Yatzeck

Elena was Chief Agilist for JP Morgan Chase Treasury Services and is now a VP of Corporate Compliance Tech. Find out how JP Morgan Chase reconciles agile with compliance and risk management demands. Read it here.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

How do we get there?

How do we get there?

That is, How do we make our IT organization agile? This is the critical question that is so often overlooked. And that question is what this website endeavors to answer.

We created this site because this question desperately needs attention. There is so much written on agile, and on “scaling agile”, and increasingly on what an agile IT organization might look like, but so little that answers the question of how to bring a large, established IT organization forward, to transform it into one that uses agile practices. Even those sources that address “scaling agile” do not fully address the problem, because the problem is not so much one of scale, but rather is one of organizational transformation.

Why make so much of this? Can it be that hard? In What Is Agile Transformation? we talk about why agile transformation is so hard, and why it so often goes off the rails. In Agile Transformation Is a Major Org Change we explain why it must be approached as an organization change - and not merely a scaling up of agile project coaching. In the business community we often hear of “crossing the chasm”, and in the agile community we hear a-lot about the Satir change curve. These are essentially the same model when you apply them to an organization, and they each provide a basis for explaining why agile transformation can so easily get bogged down when one tries to scale up pilot agile efforts to an entire organization. Agile - to be successful - requires changing how every single function in an IT organization works, and some functions beyond IT (e.g., procurement).

There are many established models for org change. Indeed, the field is fairly mature. (Here is a survey volume.) That is why this site brings together professionals from the fields of org change and agile, to synthesize those ideas. This synthesis is greatly needed.

In order to treat agile transformation as an org transformation, we need to move from the software team level up to the executive level, and at that level we need to speak in business terms - not agile project terms. Thus, instead of the vocabulary of agile - “sprints”, “velocity”, “stories”, “product owner”, “fail early and often”, “being agile versus doing agile”, and so on, we need to refer to business models of these same ideas, and there are many. Rockefeller Habits. The ideas of Deming. Drucker. Kotter. Covey. Jeffrey Hiatt. Clayton Christensen. James Scouller. Patrick Lencioni. Bob Sutton. William Bridges. John Hayes. Chris Agyris. Bill Quirke. Tom Devane. Spencer Johnson. Jurgen Appello. Hertzberg. The list goes on and on. We need to speak to these ideas, in these vocabularies, to be in the best position to offer agile ideas to management.

One of the thought streams that is rising today is “devops” - the idea that one must treat software development as a continuous pipeline that extends from conceptualization of a need all the way through business and IT operations without pauses. Devops essentially applies agile ideas to the entire scope of all activities that intersect with software development and the operation of production software applications. As such, it raises the bar for what organizations can and should accomplish in their quest to adopt agile, and it depends on org change even more to be successful.

In order to properly cover this vast range of topics, we have assembled an editorial board that covers these areas, as well as an advisory board of thought leaders in org change. We will have articles by guest authors with interesting and ground breaking points of view on a regular basis, with occasional articles by editorial board members. Please feel free to comment on the articles or other content - commenting is open to all.

We hope that this site helps to move the ball forward in the game of agile transformation. We hope to help you to learn how to better achieve a learning organization. We hope to enable agile and get you over the chasm!

Very best regards,

Cliff Berg
Chair, Transition2Agile Editorial Board

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