3 reasons why Agile Transformation are too complex for a Big Plan approach

Have you heard of the Stacey matrix? Stacey has described the relationship between complexity in solving a problem and the different approaches that are effective.

A detailed plan can only address a situation where response to your actions remain predictable. Beyond this level of simplicity, plans don’t work. Solving your problem means “dancing” with it: entering a dynamic, engaged, and highly adaptive approach. That’s exactly the level of complexity of an Agile transformation.

What makes transforming an organisation to Agile so complex? 3 key factor comes to my mind

Your organisation will evolve all along

After your first step, the organisation has already evolved to something new. Mindsets have changed, new habits have formed, structure and processes have been changed. Heck, even people will change. It’s already a new territory, and many other steps are due.

Your organisation will react to the change

Your organisation is a living being. Every single individual, every team, every division, branch has their own context, processes and personalities, each one will respond differently. Some changes will be easy here, while extremely difficult there. Variants will appear.
This can’t be predicted.

Some fundamentals will be rocked: culture, beliefs, habits

You are going through an approach that challenges how people work together, how your organisation is structured, and how you do business. I can’t enumerate how many aspects of a business is touched, and I’m discovering new ones with my clients as we go. And so will you.

So what do you need instead of a plan? You need a vision and a strategy, and a system.

Also, you can call me 🙂

Traditional TV becoming digital heroes in 3 years

Context – national TV under pressure to be on the forefront of digital media while facing bare

  • Weekly crashes on production, low level of software and devops practices, distrust between IT and media branches
  • Digital productions under political scrutiny, asked to grow N-fold
  • Working directly with the CTO of the digital division
  • Coaching for 3 years with a pair coach, Jean-Claude Grosjean

Approach: Accompanying Digital division as a whole into an organic transformation

1. Change strategy hand in hand with the CTO

  • Change management addressed early on (establishing urgency, vision, strategy)
  • Weekly strategic follow up

2. Approaching Teams and stakeholders as one

  • Addressing media and IT as joint teams
  • 1o1 coaching of organisational roles: sponsors, agile managers, product managers

3. Organic and adaptive Agile transition in the organisation

  • Going product by product, with consideration of opportunity and strategic consideration
  • Starting with one pilot project, then
  • Coaching of every new projects to run inception and delivery the Agile way
  • Audit of existing projects, on-demand coaching when necessary
  • Always waiting for buy-in from IT and media branches, then both included in the coaching

4. Stabilization and resilience of Agile practices

  • Using simplified Agility metrics to review progress and eventual plateaux
  • Expertise and coaching on-demand with advanced teams to refine and adjust their practices
  • Training internal coaches
  • Creating Circles of Practitioners for various roles and topic of interest

Outcome – state of the art tech and practices help reach several national top audience

  • 300 people coached (IT+business)
  • Several websites and apps becoming Top 3 national audience (FranceTVSport, FranceTVInfo, CultureBox)
  • Achievement praised by government sponsorship
  • Teams now sharing their experience at Tech and Agile conferences
  • Fun fact: a channel asked for an Agile coach in the design phase of a new TV show

How to confront ideas with your team / 21-03 at Nulab Drinking Code meetup

I’ll be in Changi Business Park to talk about something I deeply care about: confronting your opinion with others. 2 reasons it’s close to my heart

Nulab Drinking Code March 2019 - Product Management
  1. it’s a key skill of high performance teams (see books like Radical Candor, Creative Inc, etc) and I love when teams kicks ass
  2. it makes people’s life better at work and in life eventually

Product Management, Strategy & Leadership

Thursday, Mar 21, 2019, 6:40 PM

51 Changi Business Park Central 2 Singapore, al

33 Members Went

It’s time for another Nulab #DrinkingCode! This edition of our meetup will be on Product Management, and we have invited 3 speakers to share their experience & insights. They are: – Jay Fong, Product Strategy Lead at honestbee – Giom, Enterprise Agile Coach at Giom Consulting – Mike Dickinson, CPO at Xendit ——————- Talks —————…

Check out this Meetup →

For a broader take on the subject, you can refer to my session at Voxxed Days SG’18 “Developer under Influence” that these lovely fellows have recorded (47 minutes though, and very dense)

How a 5 year old Agile program went through a strategic realignment

A software program stuck after 5 years running in Agile

  • 90-100 actors, 8 teams, 5 year doing Agile (Scrum)
  • metrics were sinking (velocity, business satisfaction)
  • business was about to drop support and funding
  • friction among the teams (“my Agile is better than yours”), and among the roles (support vs dev, PO vs devs, SM vs the world), among the hierarchical lines (3 hierarchy intertwined in the program)
  • an intricate complexity of legacy software services to talk to

A simple goal: project ROI back in the black

  1. Find a breakthrough strategy to turn the situation around
  2. Work better together as team of team

Approach: Strategic coaching + Agile coaching

  1. With program directors and head of division: change management coaching (inspired by Kotter model of change)
  2. With managers and team leaders: strategic coaching as a leadership circle
    • Bi-weekly coaching to become a highly performing team steering the transformation
    • Strategic Planning and Strategic follow up (workshops)
    • Systemic Thinking
    • Agile management coaching
  3. With Scrum Masters, Product Owners, teams: Agile coaching to step up their game
    • reviewing rituals and practices upon team demand (retrospective, planning, story mapping, etc.)
    • dispelling some misleading practices and myths about Agile
    • introducing sharper Agile tools and practices (facilitation skills, roles and responsibilities workshop, advanced retrospective techniques, etc.)

Outcome: a new dynamic and a situation back to green in 6 month

  • 45 days of coaching over 6 month + yearly follow up for 2 years
  • Program on track / out of “red state” after 1 year
  • Leadership circle remains the spinal chord of the project governance
  • Continuous improvement dynamic still vivid at organisation level
  • Hierarchy lines clarified / streamlined
  • Team restructured as Feature Teams
  • PO working hands in hands with their teams