[video] How to run your transformation right (Voxxed Days)

“How to run your transformation right” is out on YouTube.

For the impatient, the 4 lines take away is at 30’30”, timed link https://youtu.be/zl5SAbduXlE?t=1833

Here’s a table of content with timed links

0′ – intro – the sensitive coaching case that led me to “Transformation”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zl5SAbduXlE
2’15” – inherent complexity of transformations and the failure of planhttps://youtu.be/zl5SAbduXlE?t=136
8’20” – Principles for a transformation to address complexityhttps://youtu.be/zl5SAbduXlE?t=500
9’00” – My main 2 books on transformationshttps://youtu.be/zl5SAbduXlE?t=540
9’35” – Strategy instead of planhttps://youtu.be/zl5SAbduXlE?t=574
12’15” – Being Great is the goalhttps://youtu.be/zl5SAbduXlE?t=738
13’35” – First, Do it Righthttps://youtu.be/zl5SAbduXlE?t=815
14’09”- Gardening an organic growthhttps://youtu.be/zl5SAbduXlE?t=849
16’50” – The time cost of a failed attempt at transforminghttps://youtu.be/zl5SAbduXlE?t=1010
19’20” – Going slow is much fasterhttps://youtu.be/zl5SAbduXlE?t=1160
20’44” – Nurture, don’t scalehttps://youtu.be/zl5SAbduXlE?t=1244
21’15” – Do you really need an Agile framework?https://youtu.be/zl5SAbduXlE?t=1276
22’50” – Loosen Uphttps://youtu.be/zl5SAbduXlE?t=1368
24’30” – The Secret Sauce of transformation no one talks abouthttps://youtu.be/zl5SAbduXlE?t=1470
27’19” – The problem with the scholarship attitude (vs learning organisation)https://youtu.be/zl5SAbduXlE?t=1639
29’10” – The problem with Transformation Teams and coach armies (aka change high)https://youtu.be/zl5SAbduXlE?t=1754
30’30” – Take away & conclusionhttps://youtu.be/zl5SAbduXlE?t=1833

Tell me in the comments if there’s any topic you want me to dig in!

Lateral Insight – on company afterwork, yoga sessions, financial rewards

Where I beg to differ –
Company weekend gateway, in-house wellness sessions, incentives, are missing the point

While crossing books lately from Good to Great (Jim Collins), 6 Simple Rules (Yves Morieux), Drive (Dan Pink) and a couple of others, a general principle have surfaced: 

You change the way people work by changing the work itself or the work context
Introducing external, non-work related elements don’t really improves how people work

This dismisses many mainstream company practices such as

  • organised afterwork to build trust between coworkers
  • in-house yoga and giant floor pillows to improve personal wellness
  • financial incentive to motivate employees

This connects to a more general idea : most of the time the best solutions are the one you find within the problem (strong guiding principle in my coaching). It’s a reminder to look further into a situation in order to improve it instead of looking outside of it or looking to adding more external things to it.

What I‘m busy with –

  • working while traveling a bit in the philippines
  • finding my pace with blogging
  • reshaping my session “How to do your transformation right” in a more natural fashion, eventually split in “what doesn’t work ; what works”

Question in my head

Why I can’t find any “Agile Transformation team” example that got a transformation done well? Is this inherently a false good idea? Good to Great has some brutal findings on this topic. My feeling is that the way to have such a team makes it practically not a team but more of a “chapter” (topic-oriented network going across the organisation structure). 

This was Lateral Insight, your weekly dose of lateral thinking by Giom
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Any topic I’m missing? Ask me on twitter @duquesnay or comment on this post

Lateral Insight – Certified Scrum Master training should be retired

Where I beg to differ –

Scrum Master training certification has worn off

For some years, anytime a client brings a Scrum Master fresh out of Certified Scrum Master training I have to clean up the mess. Some key mistakes are taught, and I’m not talking about details or things that the learner have misunderstood, I see them in learning materials:

  • iteration planning being scope oriented (nope, it’s goal oriented but the scope is totally flexible)
  • Scrum Master to assign tasks to teammates (nope, teammates assign tasks to themselves in a self-organised and concerted fashion, SM helps by facilitating the discussion eventually)
  • Progress forecast done by planning tasks estimated in man.hours or man.days (nope, progress is forecasted a projection of past performances, and work chunks just loosely weighted relative to past work chunks, in points or size categories for example)

I had to fix these mistakes probably 80-90% of the time, to the point were I prefer my clients to not have undergo a CSM if I don’t know their trainer. So should we keep running this training at all?

I relate this to the attention to certification. 

Originally, the certification served as a guarantee about the content and the delivery of the training, but to which extent can you guarantee that? This training has been around for more than a decade and now the Agile mass adoption is here. There is a huge market of consumers for this training and it attracts a lot business attention. I’ve been contacted numerous time by business contacts willing to get their “share of the cake” (true quote) with relative disregard for the quality of the training. If the quality of the certification can’t be enforced, it becomes a cheap token of reputation to sell a training.

Last comment: honestly CSM was never a good Scrum Master training! It’s a general Scrum training, and it doesn’t teach the skills required to be a Scrum Master (that’s why I train to Agile Facilitation instead).

My take today after pondering a lot on this for the last years: I think we should take CSM to retirement. It was useful but now we know better and the certification has worm off. Get the client back to the old school way of finding an appropriate training: what’s the reputation of the training? what’s the reputation of the trainer? 

What I’m busy with –

  • reusing the immense material that came up while building “Transformations done right” at Voxxed Days
  • setting up new workshops for Startupers who care to become great bosses
  • finding partnerships to build Agile trainings that don’t suck

Questions in my head –

Are Scrum Masters going to disappear? 

I see already extended variants of this role: melting the role to a set of activities handled collectively by the team ; or evolving to an organisation coach helping inter-team cooperation. Here and there some company see SM as best positioned to be delivery managers with a very empowering management style (manager coach / servant leadership). If done right, I don’t disagree, I coached some managers Scrum Master myself and it made sense.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we were about to see the Scrum Masters role pattern disappear and some new organisational pattern emerge in its wake in the coming years.

This was Lateral Insight, your weekly dose of lateral thinking by Giom
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Any topic I’m missing? Ask me on twitter @duquesnay or comment on this post

Lateral Insight – when gamification is misleading

I beg to differ —

Against gamification when it comes to team practices
Gamification has popped up a lot lately on my social medias as a way for a team to improve. More precisely, it’s about using achievement badges and scores. That’s where I beg to differ ✋🏻.
I see how attractively fun it seems, but in my experience it encourages a misleading pursuit that many passionate practioners fall into. In gaming linguo let me call it “practice hunting”. New automated testing framework, new iteration retrospective format, more elaborated kanban, higher “done” criterias, catch’em all!

This pursuance contradicts several high performance principles

  1. do not fix what is not broken
  2. repetition and consistency lead to mastery

On the later, the more you do something the better you get at it, and in this sense boredom is to be seek for a technique to be mastered. If you’re out for novelty, disciplined practice means the novelty is to be found first in the evolution and betterment of a known technique, not in the discovery in yet another technique.

Practices are not pokemons, you don’t need to catch them all

What’s keeping me busy these days —

I’m trying to reach a new type of clientele and be more differentiated but that gets my work a bit all over the place to be honest so I’m having a hard time prioritizing my next steps. On top of if

  • sorting out the most sticky messages for my talk on Doing Transformations Right at Voxxed Days 2019. Only 30 minutes, dang
  • crafting a set of services for startups in a more biteable size, like workshops and one time coaching sessions
  • adapting an Agile Management program I’m running to be more relatable to an asian / non-westerner audience

oh gosh, there’s so much more on this list. Well, you know my struggle now

Questions I’m trying to sort —

I have the intuition that bringing an army of Agile coach is counter-efficient to scale up a transformation, but I’m still not deadshot clear about why. I feel it’s violating a couple of change principles but I want more practical examples of what’s wrong with it.

My best work in scaling Agile was solo or in teams of 2 or 3 coaches when there was no option to bring more coach. Our options were limited to adapting our approach and leveraging more on the people of the organisation themselves. Am I biased by that experience?


This was Lateral Intake, your weekly dose of lateral thinking by Giom
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Agile Dojo Singapore – practice is learnt by practice

My long due project of Agile Dojos in Singapore have started and I’m so thrilled. It’s the first Tuesday of every month and anyone can register on Meetup.com.

I believe that at some level, practice can only be learnt by practice. In this regard I’ve been longing for a meetup where I could exercise with other Agile practitioners and learn by comparing our approaches. In short: an Agile dojo.If you want to review the various sessions and register on meetup, here it is

To ensure the focus will stay on practice, here’s the charter synthetising the spirit

  • it’s a place and time focussed on practice
  • we favour transmission of knowledge by practicing together (companionship) instead of being taught
  • the dojo belongs to attenders. Act like it’s yours, make it interesting, bring ideas, raise your thoughts, convey people to join
  • not confidential: what is said and seen can be shared outside
  • diversity of practitioners improves the learning: brings your teammate, your colleague, your client, experts _and_ beginners

Agile Dojo Singapore

Singapore, SG
66 Agile practioners

We believe that Agile practices are better learnt by practice. Ever wonder how others do their Story Map? How many styles there could be to write a user story? To prioritize a…

Next Meetup

Agile Dojo – June

Tuesday, Jun 4, 2019, 7:00 PM
4 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →