Schlagwort-Archive: Agile

Das Agile profitiert vom Systemischen Denken

Löst man sich von den früheren Stilen der Führung, die von einem starken, autoritären Vorgesetzten ausgegangen sind, der seine Mitarbeiter nicht an Entscheidungen beteiligt, unbedingten Gehorsam erwartet, im Fehlerfall sanktioniert und Entscheidungen als Anordnungen versteht, dann hat das einen großen Einfluss auf das Denken aller Beteiligten. Mit dem Agilen rücken jetzt Fähigkeiten auf den Schirm, die bereits seit Jahrzehnten die Chaos-, Komplexitäts-, Sozial- und Systemforschung beschrieben haben. Das systemische Denken bietet Ansätze, die im Rahmen der neuen Agilität einen Beitrag leisten.

Betrachten wir die neuen Denkweisen, die Barry Richmond zum Jahrtausendwechsel kompakt beschrieben hat und die hier leicht abgewandelt wiedergegeben werden.

  • Dynamisches Denken
    Das analytische Denken wird deutlich durch einen Fokus auf die Einzelteile, fachliche Vielfalt, wertende Betrachtung, klare Messpunkte, strikte Gliederung und objektive Wissenschaft. Die neuen Paradigmen haben herausgearbeitet, dass durch diese Sicht wichtige Aspekte verloren gehen.
    Systemisches Denken basiert im Gegensatz dazu auf Ganzheitlichkeit, fachübergreifender Zusammenarbeit, den Beziehungen zwischen den Elementen, dem Mapping verschiedener Gesichtspunkte, schwer messbaren Eigenschaften, Abläufen und erkenntnistheoretischer Wissenschaft (mehr hier).
    Agilität zieht seine Vorteile aus der Betrachtung von ablauforientiertem Verhalten und den entsprechenden Meilensteinen sowie den regen Zusammenhängen und Abhängigkeiten.
  • System-als-Ursache Denken
    Ausgangspunkt für Aktivitäten waren in der Vergangenheit die Einflussfaktoren, die auf ein System eingewirkt haben (System-als-Effekt). Mit der Erkenntnis, dass das System die Ursache für sein Verhalten ist, hat sich die Aufmerksamkeit verschoben auf die Erstellung von Leitlinien und offene Zusammenarbeitsformen.
    Agilität nutzt einfache Regeln und fördert die Selbstorganisation der Beteiligten, um so auf die Volatilen, Unsicheren, Komplexen und Ambigen Umstände zu reagieren.
  • Wald-Denken
    Der aufgliedernde, immer feiner werdende Ansatz der Vergangenheit, der durch immer mehr Computerpower dazu geführt hat, dass man den Wald vor lauter Bäumen nicht mehr gesehen hat, wird jetzt von einem holistischen Ansatz abgelöst, der sich dem Problem durch die Betrachtung des Ganzen, dem Wald, nähert. Dadurch kommt man über die Zusammenhänge, den Beziehungen und Abhängigkeiten, einer viablen Lösung näher.
    Die agile Denke fördert das, indem alle für das Ganze verantwortlich sind und entsprechend Entscheidungen treffen.
  • Operatives Denken
    Der Schwerpunkt im analytischen Denken liegt auf den Faktoren, die zu einem Verhalten führen. Dazu gehören die Erziehung, die Ausbildung oder die gemachten Erfahrungen. Sie rücken in den Mittelpunkt der Betrachtung, die ausgestaltet und vorhergesagt wird. Im Gegensatz dazu liegt der Schwerpunkt beim operativen Denken auf dem Verhalten – insbesondere auf das aktuelle, sichtbare Tun. Dadurch werden die Sachverhalte betrachtet, die man zu bearbeiten gedenkt. Gleichzeitig lassen sich Handlungsansätze ableiten, die zu einer sofortigen Änderung des Verhaltens führen.
    Agil ist man nicht theoretisch, sondern immer praktisch, indem Aufgaben im Mittelpunkt stehen, die viable Ergebnisse erzeugen.
  • Zirkuläres Denken
    Bewegt man sich in einer Einbahnstraße und einer Ursache folgt eine Wirkung, die eine Ursache mit einer Wirkung, … dann entspricht dies dem analytischen Denken. Gefördert wird das von der Tatsache, dass wir nur 7plusminus2 Sachverhalte gleichzeitig verarbeiten können. Tatsächlich bewegen wir uns immer in einem dynamischen Umfeld, was dazu führt, dass eine Ursache zu vielen Wirkungen führt, die wiederum viele Wirkungen erzeugen und unter Umständen zu einer Rückkoppelung auf die erste Ursache führt. Aufgrund unserer bescheidenen Vorstellungskraft vermeiden wir zirkuläres Denken, da es uns überlastet, und wir uns gezwungen sehen, in Vereinfachungen zu flüchten.
    Die Agilität nutzt kurze Regelkreise, z.B. Sprints, die maximal vier Wochen dauern, um alle möglichen Ergebnisse zu erzeugen.
  • Qualitatives Denken
    Die meisten von uns werden durch das Erbe des analytischen Denkens, dem Fokus auf Kennzahlen und Messgrößen, immer nach den nächsten Kenngrößen suchen, die uns bei Entscheidungen helfen. Dabei ist das Ergebnis einer Addition (z.B. 1+1=2) keine Entscheidung, sondern nur die logische Folge, dass man Mathematik nutzt. Entscheidungen erfordern Qualitäten, wenn man im Verhalten nach Mustern sucht, die entscheiden, ob man etwas so oder so macht.
    Agilität sucht auch stets nach den weichen Faktoren, die den Fortschritt bestimmen, und zieht intuitive Meinungen harten Fakten vor.
  • Neues wissenschaftliches Denken
    Der größte Stolperstein des analytischen Denkens ist es, dass das naheliegende Ziel stets die Bestätigung der eigenen Hypothese ist. Und das, obwohl Karl Popper schon sehr früh die Falsifizierung in die wissenschaftliche Arbeit eingeführt hat – den Ansatz, dass man stets bestrebt sein muss, die eigene These zu widerlegen. In der Folge geht es darum, dass man sein Argument immer so darstellen muss, damit jedermann ihre Falschheit aufgezeigt werden kann. Entsprechende Testfälle sind deshalb vorzubereiten.
    Agilität fördert diesen Ansatz durch crossfunktionale Teams, die nicht durch verteilte Zuordnung der Aufgaben, z.B. Entwickler und Tester, bestimmt sind, sondern durch die gemeinsame Verantwortung für alle Aspekte der Ergebnisse.

Fazit: Es ist die Haltung, die die agile Zukunft bestimmt. Dazu gehören die bekannten Fähigkeiten, die seit Jahren genutzt werden und sich bewährt haben. Diese verschiedenen Denkstile (s.o.) sind zwar entgegen unseren geistigen Stärken und den eingeübten Verhaltensmustern, aber sie folgen Gesetzen, die sich in der Natur bewährt haben. Sobald der anerzogene Knoten des analytischen Denkens in unserem Kopf durch bewusstes Streben in Richtung systemisches Denken entwirrt ist, können die obigen Denkstile leicht angewendet werden. Die gute Nachricht ist: Das Agile profitiert von dem Systemischen Denken.

The Agile benefits from Systems thinking

If you disengage from the previous styles of leadership, which were based on a strong, authoritarian superior, who did not involve his employees in decisions, expected unconditional obedience, sanctioned in case  of a mistake and understood decisions as orders, then this has a great influence on the thinking of all those involved. With the agile, abilities are now appearing on the screen that have been described by chaos, complexity, social and systems sciences for decades. Systems thinking offers approaches that contribute to the new agility.

Let us look at the new ways of thinking that Barry Richmond described briefly at the turn of the millennium and that are reproduced here in slightly different ways.

  • Dynamic thinking
    The analytical thinking becomes clear through a focus on the individual parts, technical variety, valuing consideration, clear measuring points, strict organization and objective science. The new paradigms have worked out that through this view important aspects get lost.
    Systems thinking, in contrast, is based on holistic thinking, interdisciplinary collaboration, relationships between the elements, the mapping of different perspectives, difficult to measure properties, processes, and epistemic science (more here).
    Agility draws its advantages from considering the process-oriented behavior and the related milestones as well as the active coherence and dependencies.
  • System-as-Cause Thinking
    In the past the starting point for activities were the influencing factors that affected a system (System-as-Effect). With the recognition that the system is the cause of its behavior, the attention was shifted to the creation of guidelines and open forms of collaboration.
    Agility uses simple rules and promotes the self-organization of those involved to respond to Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous circumstances.
  • Forest Thinking
    The categorizing, continuously drilling-down approach of the past, which, with more and more computer power, has led to not seeing the forest for the trees, is now being replaced by a holistic way of thinking that approaches the problem by looking at the whole, the forest. In this way you get through the coherence, the relationships and dependencies closer to a viable solution.
    The agile thinking promotes this by making everyone responsible for the whole and to make decisions accordingly.
  • Operative thinking
    The emphasis in analytical thinking is on the factors that lead to a behavior. This comprises education, training or the lived experiences. They move into the center of the treatment, which gets designed and predicted. In contrast, operational thinking focuses on the behavior – especially on the current, visible action. This allows looking at the issues that one intends to deal with. At the same time, solutions can be derived that lead to an immediate change in behavior.
    You are not agile theoretically, but always practically by focusing on tasks that produce viable results.
  • Circular thinking
    If one moves in a one-way street and a cause is followed by an effect that is a cause that is followed by an effect, … then this corresponds to analytical thinking. This is stimulated by the fact that we can only process 7plusminus2 facts at the same time. Actually, we always operate in a dynamic environment, which means that one cause leads to many effects, which in turn produce many effects and, under certain circumstances, lead to a feedback to the first cause. Because of our modest power of imagination, we avoid circular thinking because it overloads us, and we feel forced to escape into simplifications.
    Agility uses short control loops, e.g. sprints, which take a maximum of four weeks, to produce all kinds of results.
  • Qualitative thinking
    Through the legacy of analytical thinking, the focus on metrics and measures, most of us, will always look for the next key indicators to support our decision makings. The result of an addition (e.g. 1+1=2) is not a decision, but only a logical consequence of using mathematics. Decisions require qualities, if you are looking for patterns in behavior in order to decide whether you do something like this or like that.
    Agility therefore also looks for the soft factors that determine progress and it prefers intuitive opinions to hard facts.
  • New scientific thinking
    The biggest road block of analytical thinking is that the obvious goal is always to confirm one’s own hypothesis. And this, although Karl Popper introduced falsification into scientific work very early on – the idea that one must always strive to refute one’s own thesis. The next point is that one must always present one’s argument in such a way that everyone can show its falsity. Therefore, appropriate test cases must be prepared.
    Agility promotes this approach through cross-functional teams, which are not determined by distributed tasks, e.g. developers and testers, but by a joint responsibility for all aspects of the outcome.

Bottom line: It is the attitude that determines the agile future. This includes known skills that have been used for years and have proven themselves. These different thinking styles (see above) are contrary to our spiritual strengths and the practiced behavior patterns, but they follow laws that have proven themselves in nature. Once the acquired node of analytical thinking is unraveled in our mind through consciously striving toward systems thinking, the above thinking styles can be applied easily. The good news is: the agile benefits from systems thinking.

More agile with platforms

It is not sufficient to have a promising business idea. There are many hurdles to overcome before the actual work begins. In the days of Henry Ford it worked out well, as soon as you mastered the entire value chain. Meanwhile, the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction. Today, the one-hundred percent vertical integration is being replaced by a very low percentage – at the SMART plant in Hambach, France, it amounts to ten percent. Digitization will lead to even flatter vertical integration. These become possible, when the many tasks are spread across many shoulders. Platforms provide such shoulders.

It does not matter, whether we are talking about different platforms or one that contains all the necessary functions. With the following offers tomorrow’s entrepreneurs can focus on their actual business model.

  • Technology
    The fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0, is driven by the opportunities of network-based ICT – cyber-physical systems, big data, cloud services, 3D manufacturing, embedded technologies, etc. The use of these offerings cannot be avoided. However, you do not have to take care of all aspects anymore. These tasks have been taken over by platforms that provide these services in a user-friendly way.
  • Operating system
    The term was created in the field of IT. The operating system combines different components into a functioning whole. Under the slogan XaaS (Everything as a Service), today platforms are being provided in an application-oriented way – from infrastructure, to production facilities, to special applications that are used when required and paid only then.
  • Area of ​​Expertise
    In 10 main occupational groups you will find the different professions, each responsible for specific areas. The specialization of the individual areas provides today a vast amount of practical experiences that can be used without the need that one has to familiarize oneself with the respective area. The fourth revolution will lead to more and more platforms, where experts offer their deliverables as a service.
  • Network
    The current networks are websites where producers and consumers meet on a platform provided by a broker in order to offer a certain service – UBER, AIRBnB, Paypal, Ebay etc. In the future, exclusive biztopes will emerge, where selected participants support each other in their business. The Henry Ford of today shares his means of production on a platform with his competitors and stands out in speed, good ideas and versatility.
  • Market
    The place to trade has always been determined by the goods and services that have been exchanged, as well as by geographical features. An overlap of markets rarely took place. Today’s markets are just a click away from every user. Therefore on the one hand one is quickly at the point of action, but on the other hand one is also exposed to all offers. The benefits of the classic marketplace, with its reference points and regulations, are already being exploited by platforms where sellers and buyers meet at auctions – eg. Covisint, SupplyOn.
  • Niche
    The little sister of a market is the niche that forms in the corners, where big markets do not expect much revenue. Through the Internet, this niche is as reachable as the big market. Depending on the success of the niche, it can quickly develop into a market and cover with its platform more and more areas.
  • Business model
    In a modular world, the actual business models use pods (i.e. small, autonomous units that develop value-add) that are needs-oriented created and eventually resolved when they fulfilled their purpose. The required resources are drawn from the various platforms (see above) on an expenditures basis (pay-per-use). The costs are created by integrating the technology, the operating system, the area of expertise, the network, the market and one’s own niche. If the results are correct, then over time the users will optimize the interaction with the platforms.

Bottom line: The start of a new business model no longer requires the immense preparation by building the necessary technology, a coherent operating system, the experience of a specialist area, the lengthy development of a network, the development of a market or its own niche. Platforms allow start-ups or new businesses to focus on designing their core competencies. Platforms make businesses more agile.

Agile players – people with special qualities

The roles within the scope of agility are Product owner, Scrum master and Development team. The team is not further described, but it often consists of roles like analysts, developers, testers and users, who work closely together. The effectiveness of the team comes from the fact that it consists of less than 7plusminus2 members. The special characteristics of those players are usually not further clarified. And this, although those agile players do the real work and have to be people with special qualities.

Besides the professional expertise and skills, the employees need additional capabilities. Agility gets its advantages from the concentration of the resources to the essentials, the ability to act flexibly, to orientate oneself towards the customer and the results as well as, above all, to decide self-determined. In order to affect, the players need special characteristics.

  • Comprehension
    So that the employees can keep up, they need a fast, intuitive perception. The short cycles of the work packages do not allow lengthy studies. It is about quickly understanding the circumstances and the relationships and to transfer them into solutions. This is not only a matter of technical aspects, but also the cooperation between the involved parties and their personal mood. Comprehension needs trust into the gut feeling.
  • Anticipation
    A sprint is the agile development cycle that takes two to four weeks and creates functioning partial solutions. It requires not only the understanding of the current situation, but also the anticipation of possible future circumstances. The corresponding trend signals can be derived from trend research or from a realistic assessment of the product life cycles. The better you adjust to future difficulties, the faster a measure has an effect. This anticipation becomes possible with the ability to imagine the future subjectively without holding on objective arguments.
  • Responsiveness
    In an agile environment, driven by VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity), the basic conditions change rapidly. So that the employees are able to react to the environmental causes at the right moment, they need the ability to adapt quickly to changing conditions. This requires self-confidence and courage in order to dare in the respective situation to act quickly – without the safety net of formal regulations that remove the responsibility for their actions.
  • Adaptability
    As soon as the circumstances are changing, the existing approaches are becoming obsolete. The insistence on the current approach runs counter to the new conditions. The ability to adapt facilitates the players to let go the previous solutions in favor of new, better-fitting ones. The art is to know when the right moment has come to change the approach. To overcome the current standpoint, it helps to be aware that there are always at least three solutions for a task.
  • Self propulsion / discipline
    To make agility work at all, the players need an inner motive that keeps them moving. Set-up times, dead times and down times are influenced by the individual employees. Central control can not accomplish this. Therefore you need employees who are entrepreneurs. They act as if it were their own company – 24/7. If this momentum is kept continuously, the right activities are carried out appropriately and reliably. This drive is controlled by every employee. In the best case, these forces can be released by appropriate work conditions (e.g. flexible working hours, a pleasant workplace, and no disturbing influences).

Bottom line: Managers are focused on the Product Owner and Scrum Master. But the actual work is done by the development team. The management of the heterogeneous team members is not further described and lies in the hands of the Scrum Masters. He keeps the team together, keeps the momentum and takes care of problems. But to really ensure agility the team members need a quick comprehension, an early anticipation of changing conditions, quick reaction and adaptive abilities as well as a disciplined self-motivation. In the long run the agile organization only functions, if the agile players are people with special characteristics.

If we regulated, what we regulate

In retrospect, it was always difficult to recognize the valid set of rules in large enterprises. In the best case there was a list of officialized guidelines. In the respective list the first guideline was always the explanation of how to make a guideline. In some cultures it is crucial for the declaration that they are only obeyed, if they are integrated into the official list and are accepted in a meeting with a ritual by the concerned people. However, these regulations are only the tip of the iceberg. Besides, there are a vast number of additional conventions. Wouldn’t it be practical to make all rules visible to everybody? By regulating, what we regulate.

Regulations are continuously revised and simplified. But somehow people forget to abolish the outdated regulations. As a consequence the bureaucracy explodes. Autonomous actions have not enough elbow space, since a violation of existing rules leads quickly to contract termination. How could the regulations of an enterprise become more effective?

  • Clear definition of the rules
    Actually all involved people should have access to all relevant regulations, which they have to follow. That begins with laws, which have the strongest legally binding character. In large companies, which act globally, it is important it to clarify, which laws are valid in which country. Beyond that, the law with the ultimate binding nature has to be defined. The official company guidelines are the next level of bindingness – even if some people believe that they could override the laws. It should be clarified that the laws stand above everything. Anything else is illegal. The next stage is formed by the work instructions, which are specified by the individual areas following their strategy. They must fit to the superordinate ones. However this is rarely checked due to the absence of an overview. The simplest regulations are the algorithms, which are part in IT-programs and operational sequences. The longer they exist, the fewer people know the actual regulations, which are specified by the procedures. In these cases is no more transparency. At the end some programs run like a black box, without anybody being able to change anything.
  • A comprehensive register of all rules
    Today only a few rules are attainable in one directory. If you consider the many levels of specifications, it becomes clear that you act in a bureaucratic corset that you do not have under control. For this reason a first step is to describe them as good as possible and to make all relevant laws, guidelines, work instructions and algorithm available for all employees. At least the laws and company guidelines should be reachable at any time. A smart register of the work instructions is the next step. The algorithms you can only control, if the respective programs are switched off. Anything else would be guessing without guarantee of correctness.
  • Accessibility of the rules
    The accessibility of the rules should be no problem via the appropriate company network, the Intranet. It will be more difficult for the particular user to correctly interpret the rules without an appropriate consultation. At the same time you should be aware that rules, which someone does not understand, do not result in the desired effect. As soon as the employees do not begin to give attention to rules you loose. Compliance remains in this case an unfulfillable desire.
  • Consistency of the rules
    The valid rules should be consistent. No guideline should be written that contradicts a law. No work instruction should violate laws or guidelines. No software should operate algorithms, which contradict the entire set of rules. In principle the top management is responsible that all employees comply with the rules. Since the observation of all employees is not possible, in practice it became generally accepted to publish an instruction that asks the subordinated areas to follow the rules. That way managers feel relieved. But the rising number of law cases between enterprises and its top management shows that this is a fallacy. Therefore the companies should increase their efforts concerning the regulation of their rules and to ensure that the valid rules are consistent.
  • The agile way out
    The unsatisfactory effect of a bad leadership results in the attempt of sneaking out of responsibility by proclaiming agile approaches. That way the responsibility for acting is delegated to the employees. The areas have to become more flexible with self-organization. The fatal consequence is thereby overseen. As soon as the employees take over the control and find their way autonomously, the managers become obsolete – at least the middle levels. And thus the agility works smoothly at all; it needs a platform that makes the valid regulations available in a directory (see above).

Bottom line: The bureaucracy is an interconnected system, whose components become over time invisible, since too many rules were and are developed, without ever abolishing some. In order to be able to act really compliant, it is necessary to describe the existing set of rules, to check its meaningfulness and consistency, and, if somehow possible, to reduce them to what is really needed – regulating, what regulates.

Conserve energy in agile activities

Agile activities are determined by the acting people, who produce seizable results. Each particular aspect that makes a contribution to the overall outcome is thereby of interest. These are on the one hand the memetic results – ideas, topics, concepts, models, plans and practices. On the other hand it’s a matter of the physical products – prototypes, parts, components and assemblies. In order to exploit the opportunities of agility, the acting people need a constant energy level. Nothing else remains to be done by the managers than tackling things or doing anything, so that the involved people do not work to hard, not to burn out, but to conserve their energy.

The stamina of employees in the context of agile projects and, above all, the duration of a high agile energy level are apparently not yet analyzed. Factors that affect the duration and encourage on a long-term basis are among other things the following aspects.

  • Positive self-image
    A positive assessment of the self-esteem results from the own, recognized strengths (e.g. skills, creativity) and the controllable weaknesses (e.g. impatience, being nutty on details). The self-image is often reinforced by the comparison with other people.
    The manager should suppress all disturbing impulses, like the feeling of competing with the employees, in order not to put scratches on their self-image.
  • Aligned doing
    As soon as the employees have found their direction; they become bound to everything that goes into this direction. All thoughts turn around planning, execution and implementation of the various parts as well as around similar results that other people created.
    The manager can foster this momentum, by providing appropriate material, trainings and events for the employee.
  • Real autonomy
    The feeling of having control of your own fate and to determine your own career with suitable measures create self-confidence that allows admitting difficult tasks. This results in a confident attitude that achieves more than a negative.
    The manager is crucial for the elbow spaces that are available to the employees. This takes place on the one hand through the fact that they do not interfere into each detail as well as to prevent on the other hand that others limit the autonomy of the employees.
  • Official acknowledgment
    The results that are obtained by the employees, should be honored by the internal public. This can take place through respective publications in the available media, mentions within given events or through appropriate trophies (e.g. certificates, cups, and badges).
    The manager is responsible to take care that the employees are praised and/or for the fact that deliverables become officially visible.
  • Equal workload
    Dependent on the employee type they work with their personal rhythm. There are morning and evening beauties, short-distance and long haul runners as well as short- and long-winded, rhythmic and flowing characters. It is common for all that an interruption of their work is counter productive, since the resumption of the thread always takes a lot of time.
    The manager should know the rhythms of their employees and do everything that they are not thrown out of their rhythm or will be interrupted.

Whereas leaders in the past intervened from above with defaults, demands and instructions in order to prove themselves, now the conception of the world is put upside down. With the old approach they would destroy the mechanisms that keep the employees moving. In agile environments they carry the needs of all employees on their shoulders.

Bottom line: The pro-active actors are located in the center of a self-organized world. Their positive self-image, their aligned doing, their need for real autonomy, their official acknowledgment and their equal workload are apart from other aspects the pre-requisites for agile approaches. The managers have the duty to support the employees in all areas. Thus, the energy is extensively longer conserved in agile activities.

(Fr)agile

Companies that already exist and grew for a long time mastered many challenges – changed market requirements, new technologies, and various cooperation styles. Over time these companies developed a custom-made armor of rules and stipulations of organizational structures and procedures, which should cover, if possible, every eventuality. As the armament of a knight meant an additional weight of 30 kg, the enterprises also carry around enormous ballast of guidelines. Even if this armor is adapted to the proportions of its user, it limits the mobility and thus creates certain fragility. How to get rid off the “Fr”?

An armament consists of different metal plates that were forged for certain parts of the body of a distinct person – the helmet, the piece of chest, the arm things, the thigh cover, the elbow, the knee piece, the leg tube and much more. Also the enterprise develops internally regulations for its different areas. In order to become agile it is crucial, to consider the following aspects.

  • Vision
    The picture of an ideal, in the future agile state of the enterprise forms the basis for the renouncement of over years developed, detailed determinations. The vision is built upon the ideal employee conception, the other resources and the customer-oriented cooperation. The elements that obstruct this vision have to be dissolved.
  • Convictions
    All involved people developed by and by mindsets that disturb the agilization. The employees have to let the expectation go that they have to be motivated, trained and assigned from the outside. The managers must let go that they directly steer, control, and sanction the employees. The magic word of the future is self-organization.
  • Intrinsic motivation
    In order to keep the momentum in an enterprise, appropriate extrinsic rewards and incentives were developed – the payment, the bonus, the career, and the training. In self-organization other incentives that drive the employee from the inside become important – the satisfaction to accomplish an activity, to have a skill, being able to satisfy one’s curiosity or to be able to reach a personal purpose with the activity.
  • Trust
    The company owners have to carry out the greatest deal of trust. They can’t avoid to give up the direct influence and to believe that the internal society, the employees, steer the economic fate in such a way that the enterprise remains economically viable and lucrative. The confidence that the intrinsic motivation guarantees the necessary employee interaction and that way productive results appear spontaneously is the pre-requisite for the fact that the employees after all get the chance to prove themselves.
  • Organizational openness
    To open the existing chain mail, in order to let evolve the possibility for self-organized networking and team building, requires great courage. The corporate DNA is burned into the consciousness of the employees in such a way that it requires a large effort to get away from the cherished sense of security. One company and two approaches require neutral zones, where the employees can try themselves out, without having to follow the established, old way.
  • Governance
    The introduction of a fundamental set of rules that describes briefly and easy to understand the new principles, the ways of alignment, the common view and clear tasks, authority and responsibility, is an important pre-requisite. It is conceivable to introduce special areas, as China did with its special economic zones (e.g. Shenzhen, Hainan, and Hong Kong). In this area completely new approaches can be tested – Holacracy, pods, platforms.
  • Platform
    Self-organized units are focused on their topic. Repeating activities and generally needed services disturb thereby. For this reason, it is smart to liberate the teams from certain basic tasks. The bundling of these items in a platform increases the effectiveness of the units. In the platform you can find standardized procedures and tools as a service – IT, infrastructure, logistics, etc.

In the course (Fr)agility, the employees consist not only of the executing people, but also the steering ones, the so-called management. The upcoming loss of power that results from the self-organization is the largest challenge, since guidance results in the future out of context and no more from the classical career. The person will lead, who inspires and engages people at most and no more the best adapted careerist.

Bottom line: The (Fr)agility of companies is determined by the armament that limits the mobility. This includes the structures and procedures, the established set of rules that tries to regulate every detail. In order to create the transformation to an agile organization, it needs a vision, common convictions, an intrinsic motivation, trust, an organizational openness, governance and a common platform that is available for the agile units. The agility is threatened by those, who loose the most – the leaders. For this reason, they need perspectives that show them opportunities for survival.

Becoming agile! But how?

After years of productivity increase through standardization, we now arrived in a dead end. The formal requirements pollute the actual work more and more. The creation of a plan became the central task of project management. Thus, the fulfillment of the standards increases the work load. The introduction of agile actions promises a way out. Based on the agile manifesto work is deregulated. The following values put the emphasis on the left side of the table, even if the right side remains important.

Individuals and interactions
Working solutions
Customer collaboration
Responding to change

over

processes and tools
comprehensive documentation
contract negotiation
following a plan

Most people already understood the need of dusting off the currently overwhelming formal requirements. We will become more agile. But how?

Agilisierung

Let’s look at four alternative ways.

  1. Revolutionary
    Either one of the other is carried away by the conclusive perspective. These zealots dream about the possibility of introducing the agile values by shifting a lever from today to tomorrow. Since in a running company initiatives are continuously accomplished and the employees are not able to simply change their work style, this approach creates stress and a high risk for the fulfillment of the initiatives. Eventually the current and newly started projects are shaken by incompetency. They fail thereby.
  2. Evolutionary
    Less decisive people desire a smooth transition from classical to agile methods. However, employees work in different projects. If one takes place in a classical and the other in an agile way, the load of the change has the individual employee. Beyond that, the responsible people of the overall portfolio can only manage parts, since agile projects do not provide the relevant information any longer due to a lack of an appropriate planning. To what extent agility could be slowly implemented that way remains to be seen.
  3. Need orientation
    Pragmatics expect the possibility to install the one or the other procedure punctually, the way it appears most useful. Individual building blocks of a venture are selected for using agile mechanisms. A team of agile experts could take care of these tasks and exploit the advantages in the context of classical projects. The challenge is the interface to the classical activities and their bureaucratic needs – the clear direction, specific components and results.
  4. Separatist
    Some enterprises create a parallel playing field for the new ideas. On the one side projects are classically completed and on the other side accomplished agilely. In the long run the better one may win. Those parallel universes mean to the employees that sometimes they are included in the classical, bureaucratic environment and sometimes they have to cooperate agilely. The good news is that the employees can participate easily in the agile world. To what extent the classical projects are thereby contaminated in the short and medium term should be observed.

Bottom line: The introduction of agility is an extensive cut into the established practices of an enterprise. The roles of the employees, the reporting duty and the planning of individual and cross-functional projects are changed in the core – off taut clarity, towards flexible, trustfully cooperation. The solution is again the focal point of work, any more the formal administration. No matter how you decide, you should make clear, how to cooperate as well as to provide corresponding training courses for the employees.