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

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    Colleen Esposito
    Colleen Esposito
    Agile Coach
    schedule 2 years ago
    Sold Out!
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