Taking A Systemic Approach to Agile Transformations - Framework Agnostic Agile

Working with teams and organizations over several years, we would often hear comments like Agile doesnt work for us, Agile is good in theory not in practice.  These responses left us wondering what was really happening and led us to what we think are critical missing links. Firstly, implementation of Agile seems very mechanistic and lacking “ a systemic view”. Secondly, frameworks (scrum, Kanban, safe etc) seem to be driving the transformation and have become the face (definition) of Agile.

We addressed some of these challenges in our work as Agile coaches and this session is to share our approach that emerged from those learnings.“System Driven Transformation (SDT) is our approach - it is not another framework, rather it’s a thinking approach like TDD (it’s a way we approach coding).

This workshop will help you understand SDT to start looking at Agile with a systemic lens based on the philosophy Framework Agnostic Agile. The philosophy is to honour the values of Agile Manifesto (www.agilemaniesto.org) and be driven by that rather than the frameworks.  The workshop will help you reflect on missing links in your own systems.

System Driven Transformation (SDT) approach to Agile keeps centre stage the need/s of the system* that is seeking change.  System can be the smallest team which is implementing Agile or the wider organisation seeking change.

Driving factor for transformation is the goal for the transformation.  This is what the system desires as outcome of Agile transformation. It is formulated by considering current state of the system; challenges the system is facing or the wishes the system has. This defines everything that is done as part of transformation process.

A critical part of defining the goal is diagnosis. It is to understand not just what can be seen – the issues / problems / challenges – which are merely the symptoms – but also to figure out the underlying reasons for these challenges. It involves diagnosis of  technology / process ( current software development process, engineering deficits), structure ( organization / team ), people (leadership, collaboration, capability), culture or strategy ( context for change).

 

The next step in our approach is to work along with the clients to determine the interventions .There can be many ways to achieve the goal but for us, solutions are guided by the values of Agile manifesto (www.agilemanifesto.org) and not constrained by existing Agile frameworks. The solution may involve using any of the existing Agile frameworks , or a combination of them. Or, it may also be a unique framework that evolves keeping in view needs of the system. Our interventions also focus on structure and people aspects of transformation so that the change effort is holistic and sustainable.

This approach is still evolving, and hence this workshop is invitation for people to expand this approach!

 

 

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

 

  1. Introduction
  2. Activity to understanding the individuals (and communities) understanding of System
  3. Activity to collate the challenges one face during Agile Transformation as Coaches.
  4. Introduction of System Driven Transformation (SDT) Approach.
  5. Activity to work with their challenges using the SDT approach.

 

Learning Outcome

  • Definition of System.
  • Understanding of the essence of “No Framework Agile”
  • Systemic thinking and approach to Agile Transformation – System Driven Transformation (SDT)

Target Audience

Agile practitioners, Coaches, Managers, teams.

schedule Submitted 2 years ago

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  • Srinath Chandrasekharan
    By Srinath Chandrasekharan  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Deepak,

     

    Please upload video of any of your earlier presentations and also slides to help us evauluate you better.

    Regards,

    Srinath

    • AgileSattva Consulting LLP
      By AgileSattva Consulting LLP  ~  1 year ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Srinath,

       I have updated the video and also slide share of the talks I have co-facilitated before. Regarding this workshop, the approach we are presenting is an output of an ongoing R&D and this conference will be the first place we would be presenting to a larger audience. http://agilesattva.com/approach/ provides the detail explanation with the diagram (I could not upload the image in the proposal, you can refer to the link of our website to view the image). Do let me know if you need any more info, I am happy to provide. 

       

  • Ellen Grove
    By Ellen Grove  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi

    I'm really interested in better understanding the workshop activities being proposed in order to be able to evaluate this proposal.  Having reviewed the website and materials, I'm not clear on what sets the System Driven Transformation approach apart from the way any coach who is not invested in a specific framework would approach a transformation situation - perhaps there is more to your model than the drawing suggests?  I'd also like to see more definition how the activities will drive the learning outcomes.

     

    Thanks! 

    • AgileSattva Consulting LLP
      By AgileSattva Consulting LLP  ~  1 year ago
      reply Reply

      HI Ellen,

                     Thanks for specific question and m glad to answer it.  SDT is an approach and not a framework in itself. Any Coach who is not invested in a specific framework may be working similar, I m not sure. I can explain the approach we take that integrates Organizational development (OD) thinking and Agile manifest Values.

      1.       We look at transformation from systemic lens that looks at the team beyond the team and considering all impacting subsystems.

      2.       We look at diagnosis at different levels, and not just at process and technology. This means the group dynamics in the system, management styles, motivational factors, accountability that team takes, organizational values and realities that exist. This is something that we borrow from OD.

      3.       The interventions are not to suggest working methods or fix things that are not working, instead we present the observation from diagnosis to the system. We facilitate discussions around building a framework based on the diagnosis. For example, if diagnosis throws up as “lack of trust”, then facilitation is to discuss the ways trust can be built in the team. This we found is important differentiating factor.

      4.       If the team suggest a framework, we also use manifesto values to validate if it adheres to it or deviates from it. For example if a team suggest track all decisions on an email or excel to fix trust issue, we would open up discussions around “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools” and facilitate to explore other options of achieving the same.

       

      In Summary, we look beyond what we see and the under currents in the system. The impact of other systems on the current system instead of telling what is Agile and How to be doing Agile. We believe in Being Agile.

       

                      The learning outcome:

      • Definition of System.
      • Understanding of the essence of “No Framework Agile”
      • Systemic thinking and approach to Agile Transformation – System Driven Transformation (SDT)

      Activities:

      1. Introduction
      2. Activity to understanding the individuals (and communities) understanding of System – The activity is to represent unconscious view of what the system is for each individual in the workshop. This will identify what parts of the system they have excluded, where do they see themselves in the system etc. More of specific details can be shared over call as it will give away the spontaneity that is required by the participants.  – This will help in defining the “System”
      3. Activity to collate the challenges one face during Agile Transformation as Coaches. – This activity is open space discussions in smaller groups to identify pattern of challenges each coach go through. This is to bring out the importance of going back to Agile values and emphasis on “No Framework Agile”.
      4. Introduction of System Driven Transformation (SDT) Approach.
      5. Activity to work with their challenges using the SDT approach. – This activity is a toolkit to look at one aspect of diagnosis and how to do intervention using “Contracting” concept of Transactional Analysis.

      This approach is still evolving and formed by experiences that we have had during coaching teams with challenges faced during implementation of frameworks. Le tme know if you need more information.

       

      warmly,

      Deepak

  • Balaji.M
    By Balaji.M  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Deepak,

    Appreciate the idea of agilemanifesto.org oriented for tranfomation. Wanted to understand more how you are deciding the kind of Interventions to be done based on the diagonosis to acheieve the desired state/goal. Please can you elaborate.

    Best Regards

    Balaji.M

    • AgileSattva Consulting LLP
      By AgileSattva Consulting LLP  ~  1 year ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Balaji,

                       System Driven Transformation is an approach and not a framework by itself. The fundamental premise is that its not enough to treat Agile transformations as technology or process changes but to look at them holistically to include people, structure, culture and strategy issues too. 



      Hence, the diagnosis is done at many levels and not just the process . The output of diagnosis is the observation about the system in its current state. This is presented to the system (Team) to decide what solutions work best given their context. This process of presenting to the system and facilitating the building of frameworks that work for them is an intervention by itself.  The frameworks the system define for self will be adhering to the values of the manifesto (an example is quoted in the reply to Ellen's comment)

      For example, In a team that I was coaching the team had bandwidth issues of having a dedicated person as scrum master, the goal was to have effective self organized team. The diagnosis was not just about the bandwidth, but also the lack of ownership by each individuals. This lack of ownership was also because of lack of motivation and fear of failure. The intervention then was not just at finding bandwidth for the scrum master but to present this observation to the team and facilitate discussions around

      What would motivate individuals

      What is the lacking factor for taking ownership

      Building a safe environment for team to take risks.

      These discussions resulted in the system (Team + management) sharing their views and opinions on what could work for them, what they need and how they will support each other. Manager agreed to provide vision and space for innovation, change ways of handling failures in the team, teams agreed to have effective communication between each other and stakeholders to resolve issues.

       This is the essence of SDT - driven by needs of the system within the boundaries defined by the Agile manifesto.