Mirror mirror on the wall (1 of 4)
  • John Coleman

Mirror mirror on the wall (1 of 4)

Updated: Apr 29

I already wrote the following posts which are useful reading for this post:


I have noticed a pattern for how one can grow agility sustainably, directions of travel one might start with. Whilst avoiding recipes, I noticed these patterns:

  1. Faking it but getting away from it via Kanban or some framework

  2. Deliver faster (even if it's wrong) via a Trojan Horse

  3. Deliver better value faster (but sticking with the functional org)

  4. Experiment, be adaptive enough to turn on a dime for a dime (moving to a cross-functional org)

  5. Back to the Future ( a framework free zone, or maybe XP - just talk to the customer and ask what they want next)

The above 3, 4, and 5 would be supporting by "Respecting No".





directions of travel

Kanban can operate for most directions for travel as per the Kanban Maturity Model. It takes a lot of discipline to stop starting and start finishing to get the benefits.


Many organizations just have appetite for going "broad & shallow" in the hope that they can:

  • copy, paste, and adapt something that works well in another industry / organization - that might that work with an experimentation mindset to discover which of what we copy works or doesn't work, perhaps supported by Toyota Kata. We can experiment beyond good.

  • attain agility while still stuck with a Theory X oriented organization, whilst injecting the organization with practices for agility, e.g., original Lean, SAFe (or new 4.6 at the time of writing with support for government as well as enterprise) , Scrum @ Scale, Spotify/ING copy, paste & adapt, Kanban

  • attain agility while still stuck with traditional roles that we lack the stomach to deprecate right now

  • service customers better than before with faster delivery

  • get positively infected by a "Trojan Horse" of new behaviors, cadences, roles, and processes

  • attain as much agility as is possible at this point in time that is at least not faking agility (if implemented well)

  • still support projects with not so long-lived teams, perhaps with external suppliers also

  • get some shock therapy to shake out of WaterScrumFall without fully complying with the full empiricism of Scrum (for example this genius move by SAFe)

Even for Trojan Horse adoptions, I believe in volunteering to the extent that when I detect NoNos on Scrum teams, I try to help the individuals involved to leave their Scrum team for their own sakes and for the sake of their teams. I am referring to people who will never say yes to change, not people who could perhaps be convinced. So I create an island for comfort with now, respecting no as as answer. I believe that should be the case unless Tipping Point Leadership is used.




Delivering faster is useful to a point. Once "plumbing problems" get resolved, appetite to deliver better value becomes more prominent, even if the organization is not ready to "flip". Check out my next post.


See also:

  • When is SAFe safe? - http://www.valueglide.com/blog/when-is-safe-not-safe



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