Random thoughts on Agile change

It seems that Agile is out of the early adopter phase and people are starting to ask about how to do Agile organization wide.

So I’ve been pondering change for an Agile organization.

One thing I’m quite certain about is that traditional top-down,deterministic change programs aren’t the right way to go. If someone starts talking about “change targets” they’re thinking about change in a way that is, in my view, antithetical to self-organization. Moving towards the Agile organization requires a more organic, more participative model of change.

I’ve been looking at Olson and Eoyang’s Facilitating Organizational Change. They bring concepts from complex adaptive systems to organizational change and are challenging traditional assumptions about how change happens.

Part of moving to Agility is creating the conditions for self-organization and innovation. That means working:

the container that sets the boundaries around the system that self-organizes

significant differences that determine the patterns that emerge (e.g., levels of expertise, degrees of power)

transforming exchanges that pass among people within a particular system and also in/out of the system boundary.

… on a scale broader than several software teams.

I’ve also been revisiting Peter Block’s Stewardship, which has useful ideas for shifting the command and control mind-set.

I listened to Block’s the Right Use of Power on my recent road trip and this statement really stood out for me: “People don’t resist change; they resist coercion.”

More ruminations to come, I’m sure.