Schlagwort-Archive: Agility

Agilemma – Spirits that I’ve cited, my commands ignore

Even if you fasten your seat belt, close the door and place a group of doorwomen in front of the office, as a manager you cannot hide from the demands of the VUCA world. The speed at which you have to react and the amount of skills required no longer allow us to rely on the rigid frameworks of the past. If even the American military sets up its troops with a new managing style, it should become clear to the last one that the time has come for new leadership styles. Since the solution is different for everyone, we have to design our own approach. At the same time, we run the risk of becoming sorcerer’s apprentices and being overrun by the released forces. – Spirits that I’ve cited, my commands ignore.

There are three aspects that tear you apart as a leader and give rise to the fear that you will lose control forever, once you have opened the floodgates.

  • New concepts
    What does it take to let go and engage in spontaneous improvisations that lead to a convincing result done by the self-organized participants? So far, everyone’s commitment has been crushed by distributing tasks, competence and responsibility on different shoulders. The greatest effect is achieved when everything is in one hand and the group takes responsibility for the result. People do not only spare the unproductive time of detailed planning, the slowing down of colleagues due to excessive control or the relief that is created by assigning blame to others. Those who do not drive these changes forward will be driven by the changes – now, or perhaps not before tomorrow.
  • Different leadership styles
    The troops stand no longer in line and follow orders. They have their own ideas and conceptions which they want to implement. The competition stops taking place between the own team mates but with other groups. In the future the individual destiny will depend on the fate of the whole team. This means for the manager that the organization is no longer developed by designing the positions and regularly control the behavior of the employees. The boss is now a coach, fostering his employees as an available contact person and solving the insolvable issues. The group is promoted as a whole, learns together and shares the joy and sorrow of the outcomes. If you don’t get involved, you lose the loyalty of your employees and thus your purpose as a manager.
  • Value-based governance
    In the past nothing functioned without governance and in groups it will never work without it. The personal commitment is the main reason for the willingness of the employees to get involved. The laws, standards and guidelines are the regulations that you HAVE to follow – otherwise you will receive more or less defined sanctions. In the end, this leads to doing things right – especially in the economic sense. This type of governance is exacerbated by filtered information, whose credo is shaped by “knowledge is power” – it is not entirely wrong to either speak of censorship. The new approach focuses on doing the right thing out of inner conviction. The fuel is not the fear of punishment, but the intrinsic commitment to your task. This requires information distributors, who keep the involved people up to date. Those who cannot apply this value-based management are crushed by the old rules and eventually become obsolete.

This does not mean that doors and ways are opened to anarchy. It is about giving the team, and thus each individual employee, the freedom to achieve more with the existing strengths, instead of exhausting oneself with senseless and futile (self-) limitations.

Bottom line: The master of these magical powers is not the sorcerer’s apprentice, but the master. The loss of control of the trainee comes from the fact that he did not practice enough yet. That is why he formulates a bit early:

Bubble! Bubble!
Some route,
that, for the purpose,
water flows
and with a rich, full flood
to pour to the bath.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

without having the capability to reverse the command. One or the other can certainly imagine the helplessness of the sorcerer’s apprentice. All concerned people are still integrated into the old structures. At the same time, many recognize the opportunities, but do not want to get into the situation of the sorcerer’s apprentice. For this reason, you should pro-actively take care of the new approaches of agility. In delimited special operation zones, which are exempt from the old rules, these new concepts, different management styles and value-based governance can be practiced by everybody. The Agilemma will slowly dissolve that way and the spirits that one has cited, you no longer want to get rid of, but to use it in growing circles.

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.