Towards an Agile Operating Model

We are on a journey to try to truly be an agile organisation. In this post, number three in the Business Agility Series, I will describe how we changed our business operating model in order to help develop new habits to step us towards our desired agile new culture.

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Considering an Agile Culture

We are on a journey to being an agile organisation. In this post, the second in the Business Agility series, I describe our thinking on the type of culture we wanted to create prior to us leaping into implementing change.

Culture trumps everything and as Simon Sinek said “people don’t ask what you do, they ask why you do it.” So, starting with a clear idea of how the Assurity of the future feels is a great starting point.

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Running our business using Agile

Agile is designed to manage complex situations where there are a large number of unknowns. It has been extremely successful in helping navigate a constantly changing environment by rapidly delivering small increments of value and using the evidence obtained to determine the next round of decision making. Given the highly competitive and rapidly changing business environment, many organisations are now asking whether Agile can be applied to running their entire organisation.

In this series I delve into how Assurity, a 200+ person consulting firm, has been running the entire company using agile techniques. As the General Manager of the second largest branch and a seasoned agile coach I am helping shape our direction. I will share our successes, our spectacular failures and some really interesting lessons in the interests of collective learning with the broader community.

3dancers

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An agile, adaptive business strategy

Agile has clearly made a significant impact on the software development industry, changing the way millions of people work to a more flexible, engaging and adaptive approach, delivering products that better meet the changing needs of the market. Agile thrives in under complexity and uncertainty – elements intrinsically inherent in business. So can agile be used for implementing a business strategy? In this post I will outline some basic principles and concepts for this.

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Social exclusion for bad apples

So far, we have learned

  1. The bad apple effect – a single, toxic team member can create group-wide dysfunction
  2. Emotions are contagious – when someone else experiences an emotion, mirror neurons light up the exact same areas of our brain as if we were experiencing that emotion ourselves.
  3. Social contracts are a nice way of establishing a set of desired group norms, and can provide a “container” for the team to manage its own conflict, including defective behaviour.

In this post, the forth in the Agile Team series, we look into techniques for working with people who continually act out of sync with the team culture and norms. In particular, we investigate how social exclusion can be used as a highly effective deterrent of bad behaviour.

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Is strategy dead?

There is a fundamental change in management happening under out feet that is challenging the very need for strategy. Small changes are happening every day and in ten years’ time we won’t recognise management as we have thought of it in the past. [Read more…]

How to make a social contract and build better teams

In post one and two in this series, we discovered how emotions and behaviours are contagious and can have a dramatic impact on a team. Let’s now explore some approaches that help encourage positive behaviour and help us manage when things get difficult.

This post, number three in The Agile Team Series, covers Social Contracts, why they are important, how to create one and how to use it. [Read more…]

Emotions are contagious: how yours impact others around you

You know how when you see someone smile, you smile too? Or when you see someone crying, you feel their sadness. Well that’s because of an incredible phenomenon called mirror neurons. Understanding mirror neurons is a critical aspect of  team development as when someone else experiences an emotion, mirror neurons light up the exact same areas of our brain, as if we were experiencing that emotion ourselves. Literally, emotions are infectious.  This is post 2 in The Agile Teams Series[Read more…]

Behaviour dynamics in agile teams: The Agile Teams Series

One of my passions is teams – working with them, helping them improve and figuring out what makes a good one.  In his book Software for your Head, Jim and Michele McCarthy made a simple statement that resonates with me: Team= Product. That is, a good team builds a good product, a bad team builds a bad product.

In my quest to understand more about teams I have been reading as much as I can. Via this new series on my blog, I am aiming to try to summarise my findings and provide references to material I have found really useful in the hope I can provide some insights to others that are useful in your daily work.

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