Improve Your Agile Transformation Success by Applying the Lens of Spiral Dynamics Integral (SDi) and AQAL

Changing the practices, behaviors, and beliefs of people and teams is hard; and organizations are many multiples harder. As agilest, we are educated to seek and deliver value. But that is one of the first big issues. What are the chances that we can know what is truly valuable for the people within the team or organization, both individually and collectively?

Another big issue is that most agilists are well-educated in frameworks, practices, and tools, but our training doesn’t generally prepare us for the other aspects imperative to implementing lasting agility and change. There is little focus in our standard training on the impact of systems and structures, and even less on internal aspects such as morals/ethics, ego, psychology, and culture.

I would like to present to you two models which opened my eyes over the past 6 years to a much larger awareness and understanding of how to approach agile transformation for impactful lasting change, and show you how to apply them to your work efforts. Seeing people, teams, and organizations through the lens of these models has greatly changed my understanding and approach and I believe has strongly benefited the outcomes of my efforts.

Spiral Dynamics Integral (SDi) is a bio-psycho-social developmental model showing itself through color bands representing levels of increasing inclusive evolution. AQAL – All Quadrants, All Levels [All Lines] – models a set of quadrants depicting our internal and external, individual and collective attributes and aspects. Woah! Don’t be thrown by that crazy-sounding stuff. Stick with me.

While those models might not sound very applicable to decreasing your cycle time to deliver your latest microservices through your fully-automated DevSecOps pipeline, without awareness of these models, you may never actually lead your team(s) to the point of decreasing cycle times, much less get your organization to the point of benefiting from DevSecOps practices.

Please join us for this session as we explore how these models allow us to be more successful in our work as Scrum Masters, Coaches, and/or Leaders. Benefit from learning new ways to see your system, avoiding and removing challenges and impediments you face in your sluggish, stuck, or failing agile journeys. Begin to see the world in a whole new way, not just at work, but in all aspects of life.

 
 

Outline/Structure of the Talk

Note: this is a new presentation that I am pulling together at this time; a graduation from a number of presentations I have done in the past at meetups and conferences. Those were mostly focused on learning the Spiral Dynamics, Integral Theory, and AQAL models. This presentation is focused on agile transformation, with an awareness that these models show us essential information I believe we have been missing in our efforts. I will reference/link these earlier example presentations but please note that the intent of this one is not to teach models (as those presentations did focus on) but to improve our agile transformation success.

Set the Stage (5 mins)

  • Introduce myself, the topic, and the learning objectives
  • Share application to Agile team, program, and organization
  • Share examples of impediments and limitations to agile transformation
    • Single team through organization-wide
    • Technical challenges, process challenges, behavior challenges, etc.
  • Ask two-to-three audience members for relevant examples of issues they have experienced – to be referred back to throughout the presentation

Primer on Spiral Dynamics Integral (SDi) (Graves, Cowan, Beck, Wilber) (8 mins)

  • Since this presentation is not intended to be a deep dive into these models, but rather an encouragement to improve agile transformation by seeing the engagement through these models, I will present enough of an overview of SDi to appreciate that people and organization evolve differently and “light-up” in different levels, thus we can’t expect processes, practices, and tools to net us the intended results without taking this into account.
  • The SDi information is helpful in understanding where people and organizations “are;” what they are motivated by, what they might be willing to endure, what success likely looks like to them.
  • I will also briefly acknowledge that additional constructive developmental perspective (i.e. Kegan and Cook-Greuter) illustrates how our ability to make sense of what we are experiencing (sense-making, meaning-making, and action logics) evolves in a similar pattern, and an awareness to our team’s or organization’s current stage of development, as well as our own, will greatly increase the probability of successful agile adoption.

Primer on Ken Wilber’s All Quadrants, All Lines, All Levels (AQAL) (12 mins)

  • The AQAL information is vital to seeing the multiple facets required in achieving change that sticks.
    • Interior and Exterior, Individual and Collective quadrants represented by “I,” “We,” “It,” and “Its”
    • These quadrants bring to light people’s morals, ethics, personal values and attitudes, and when in community with others, their shared values, relationships, and culture.
    • They bring to light people’s skills, behaviors, processes, practices, and tools, and when in community with others, their organizational system and structures.
  • I will bring awareness that process, practices, and tools alone cannot make this happen
  • I will additionally inform how AQAL quadrants apply to the SDi levels

Further tying SDi and AQAL to agile transformation (10 mins)

  • Greatest focus on the AQAL quadrants and making sure all quadrants are satisfied in our approaches to adopting agililty
  • Provide matrix of practices and techniques to covers aspects of the quadrants for people and organizations at different levels
  • If still outstanding, reframe the 2-3 audience issues from earlier through the lens of our discussion so that we can make the learning that much more tangible, and valuable

Questions and Discussion (10 mins)

  • Attempt to lock in learning by bringing discussion back to their current realities and encouraging questions from them that leave them excited to apply their learning immediately

Learning Outcome

  • An awareness that processes, practices, and tools themselves are only a part of the change equation (1/4 part actually)
  • An ability to see their own adoption impediments using a different lens (AQAL and SDi)
  • A practical framework for incorporating the AQAL quadrants and SDi awareness into agile transformation for increased success
  • A map of techniques and practices aligning to the maturity levels for each of the quadrants to take back with them and accelerate their improvements

Target Audience

Scrum Masters, Coaches, Leaders, Organizational Designers, lifelong learners

Prerequisites for Attendees

A foundational understanding of agile and a good breakfast to fuel your mind

schedule Submitted 1 year ago

  • George Dinwiddie
    keyboard_arrow_down

    George Dinwiddie - Making sure the submission system is open

  • John Hughes
    keyboard_arrow_down

    John Hughes / Tara Lemieux - Value-driven CMMI: An Agile Approach to CMMI for Agile Companies

    45 Mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    CMMI and agile haven't shared many beers at the bar over the years. But there is no reason they shouldn’t be best of friends. They both long for continuous improvement, creating learning organizations that strive to reduce risk and increase quality. I believe that a major cause of dissonance is the lack of perceived value in the way the CMMI models have been applied and appraisals performed in the past.

    So, what would it look like to implement CMMI and prepare for an appraisal focusing all of our effort into creating value and removing waste, instead of adding it? That was the question we tackled this past year and are seeing a completely different practice and outcome given our approach, including enthusiasm and appreciation from the project teams for this approach as opposed to the more typical dread.

    Participants in this presentation will hear from both a CMMI Lead Appraiser and an agilest who lead this value-driven approach to CMMI. They will learn how agile mindset, practices, and tools can be used to apply the CMMI model to our delivery, with intentional focus on creating an ever-maturing practice that reduces risk and increases quality. Participants will also hear how agile was used in the appraisal preparation, enabling continuous improvement across the organization and even reducing the amount of time and effort needed for the SCAMPI A appraisal.

  • Raj Indugula
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Raj Indugula / George Lively - Being Test-driven: It's Not Really About Testing

    45 Mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    Good news: Test-driven practices have jumped the chasm to general acceptance! The bad news, though, is that while TDD, BDD, and ATDD are prominent buzzwords in the industry today, they are rife with misconceptions, with many people incorrectly assuming that being test-driven is all about testing.

    In this talk, learners will leave with a clearer understanding of Test-Driven Development (TDD), Behavior Driven-Development (BDD), and Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD), and gain practical insights into how these practices can help teams develop better software. We will gain an appreciation for TDD as being primarily a specification and design technique, and how to get the whole team involved earlier in the delivery cycle using a BDD approach.

  • Colleen Esposito
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Colleen Esposito - Beyond Prioritization: How to Make an Impact for your Customers

    Colleen Esposito
    Colleen Esposito
    Agile Coach
    Assurant
    schedule 1 year ago
    Sold Out!
    45 Mins
    Workshop/Game
    Beginner

    If you’ve been exploring agile methods, you probably want to deliver the most value in the least amount of time possible. But what if the best prioritization and planning just isn’t enough to keep your organization at the top of your market?

    Enter Impact Mapping, an approach that reveals the hidden assumptions that keep you from reaching your goal. This technique helps when you're looking for innovative solutions to tough business problems because you'll bring in strategic thinking skills as you identify the ones most likely to reach your goal. Even better, you'll know upfront how to measure the impact of those solutions, so you won't invest more than you need.

    This workshop is hands-on, so get ready to learn while you’re working!

  • David Fogel
    keyboard_arrow_down

    David Fogel / David Bujard - Nine levels of Agile Hell... and how to get out!

    45 Mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    Government Agile transformations can feel like overwhelming efforts – but do not abandon hope! This interactive, audience-driven presentation reviews how government and large organizations ESCAPE common Agile adoption challenges.
    You - the audience - will prioritize your pain points; we’ll focus on the five Agile hells most highly prioritized. We will discuss real examples of “escaping” out of each Agile hell, with pro tips and success patterns you can apply.
    The Agile hells we've escaped include:

    • No Transformation hell - A federal program or department wants to change but can’t start or can’t finish
    • Too Fast hell - Newly Agile federal programs sometimes respond TOO rapidly, too often changing priorities.
    • Technical hell - Programs can become bogged down in technical debt and manual processes.
    • No Trust hell - Government delivery can be slowed by lack of trust between contractors and feds, between business and IT, or between compliance and delivery groups.
    • Product Owners hell - Government Product Owners can be unavailable, think they are managers, aren’t empowered to provide vision, or struggle with prioritization
    • Too Big hell- A frequent pattern in federal Agile! Large batches produce slow progress, low visibility and high complexity, seen in big programs, big deployments, and big contracts.
    • Collaboration hell - Government teams can struggle with collaboration within the same organization across roles and across the fed-contractor divide.
    • Stove-piped hell - Government organizations can struggle to collaborate across contractual or organizational boundaries within the same enterprise
    • Leadership hell - An organization can only be as agile as its leadership. In the government, how can you work with leaders who aren't ready to be agile?

    For each Agile hell, we focus on successful techniques to escape from these common dynamics. Unlike other presentations, we won't be doing a deep dive, but we will cover the most important challenges our audience face.

  • Scott Showalter
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Scott Showalter / Justin Beall - Icebox Zero: Agile UX and the Lean Backlog

    45 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    One of the most disregarded principles of the Agile Manifesto is one of the most important: Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done. Simplicity seems simple enough, but in reality it’s as complicated as the work we are so often asked to deliver on—work that we may ultimately find was not worth doing. This session explores the complexities of this sort of counter-intuitive workstream optimization, with low-effort tactical approaches to preventing such waste in software and product development. The session attempts to codify the things teams need to do to truly execute on simplicity, and as a bonus, fulfill what is likely the most important principle of the Agile Manifesto: satisfying the customer.

  • Allan Guyet
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Allan Guyet - The Agile Coaching Secret Sauce - Being Intentional In All Things

    45 Mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    We all know the Agile Frameworks - Scrum, Kanban...they are on the web for all to see, but what brings Agile to life? In this discussion, Allan Guyet, Agile Coaching Practice Leader, will discuss how "being intentional" in your role as a coach will 10x the performance of your Agile teams and create excited teams and customers.

    Geared toward new Coaches but with plenty of tricks for veterans, Allan will share his experiences on how "being intentional" helped prioritize features, build trust with stakeholders, and shift mindsets. Filled with his classic anecdotes and analogies, the stories will make you feel like you were there.