Understanding Agility through “Natural Selection”
Charles Darwin - “It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, or the most intelligent. It’s the one that is most adaptable to change.”
There is more than meets the eye from this process of Natural Selection. From years, hundreds of species have adapted to change in order to survive. Put it simple - They have all been “Agile”. If they have survived then can we learn something from them that will help us structure or re-structure our Organization in such a way that they are built to fight the changes of tomorrow.
There are so many examples to learn from but my research is based on “Ants”. In this presentation I want to talk about the behaviour of an “Ant Organization” and I want to tie that up with how an Organization needs to function/behave. I will also discuss some of the advantages of these behaviours and also link how there is a striking similarity mentioned even in the “Agile Manifesto”.
- Ants are Goal driven - Primary goal of all the skilled workers is to serve the queen and expand the colony. They work towards that primary goal
o Organizational Behaviour - Organizations need to be based on Goals supported by values and principles that exhibit Agility
o Agile Manifesto - “Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.”
- Ants exhibit servant leadership - The Queen does not “Command and control” the colony. The ants self-organize themselves to do execute what it takes to serve the queen and expand the colony.
o Organizational Behaviour - Organizations need to create an eco-system that fathoms self-organization than command and control. The HR policies and the culture of an Organization need to exhibit this behaviour. The leaders need to be less “power centric” and more collaborative.
o Agile Manifesto - The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
- One Goal driven teams - If you drop a few sugar crystals around the Ant colony, you will see that there are more ants that are suddenly gathered to dispatch the food. A “Foraging Ant” lets the “Nest Maintenance Ants” know that there is more food and they unite to bring food to the colony.
o Organizational Behaviour - Organizations need to create cross functional teams, as component teams increase the “cycle time”. Further they cause delays and at an Org level also cause demotivation and frustration amongst team members.
o Agile Manifesto - Individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
- Ants are constantly communicating - Ants communicate using pheromones through their antennae. This how they get help during any kind of unknown change that occurs to the colony.
o Organizational Behaviour - Organization needs to be modelled in such a way that it gives its employees a forum to communicate frequently and with ease. The closed cubical or office rooms for CXO’s prove to be a barrier in communication.
o Agile Manifesto - The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
This is just a snap shot of what i want to share, more on this in the presentation. Hope this will help shed some light .....
Outline/Structure of the Talk
The is a 40mins talk, followed by 10 mins Q&A
Understanding beyond 4 values and 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto
Doing SCRUM is NOT the “be all and end all” of being Agile, there is more than meets the eye
Different characteristics of a "Learning Organization"
Examples of some of the behaviours exhibited by existing Organization (what we can learn from them)
Key things to consider while structuring/re-structuring an Organization
Management, Entrepreneurs, Leaders