November 3, 2014

Agile will change the world

As the foreword in Scott Ambler’s book says ‘The process wars are over and Agile won’. Agile is now being adopted in the largest organisations and the smallest all over the world. It’s no longer a question of ‘if’, it’s just a question of ‘when’.

If you don’t become more agile, then you have more risk, less flexibility, less customer value and higher failure rates. Companies who have that, simply won’t survive in the long term by the law of averages and market forces

Agile is only for I.T. Isn’t it?

I.T. is everywhere. It’s running the banks, government, the schools, the corporations, retail, media, the SMEs, the military, and the start ups. And I.T. is going Agile. Anyone who has been part of an Agile transformation will know that the idea of ‘the business’ being separate than IT is simply ridiculous. Agile, when done well, removes the distinction and as a result, the entire organisation changes to become more agile, more responsive.

Agile is based upon human values such as honesty, trust, communication, transparency, courage and openness.

Management, for example, have the role of empowering their workforce. The role of the manager becomes an empowering agent to help those they manage be more effective and get their job done. The role of the employee is to be empowered and to empower those around them. Motivation increases and staff really do have a sense of purpose, mastery and autonomy (freedom to make a difference). Organisational structure flattens and people self-organise.

As our organisations start to value people who are empowered and who can empower others, education will follow suit and the great educational machine will produce empowered people. I would expect to see modules in school on empowerment, self organisation and servant-leadership.

With social media and automated virtual democracy, decisions can be made by hundreds of thousands of people very quickly. We have a new generation who are computer and web literate, who can find what they want and what they are interested in almost immediately, virally spread it to friends across the globe and vote on important issues almost instantly, who demand rapid updates, rapid feedback cycles, amazing user experiences and feel empowered by the whole experience.

Are we going to want a political structure based on command and control, that changes once every 4 years and can at best manage only a handful of items in a manifesto we all know is impossible to live up to? Sound familiar? Sound like waterfall?
Imagine a governmental system that employs Agile principles and adapts to citizens needs on ever-decreasing cycle times. The good news is, Government is changing services along these lines. This is already happening, and it’s amazing.

Corporations, Education, Government. And everyone else too. Even NASA is using Agile to launch rockets into space.

Global organisations, relationships and business based on honesty, trust, communication, transparency, courage, openness and respect for each other and ourselves. That is something worth being a part of.

We want to be a part of this move to a more human world, where we become Human Beings, instead of Human Doings. That is why we have set up a global Community of Practice called Adventures with Agile to help facilitate this process. Join our community and be a part of this huge change.

We are the people we have been waiting for – James Priest

Watch this space.

Agile will change the world.

Simon Powers
Simon Powers is an Agile Coach specialising in large scale transformations and agile adoption. He has a background in very large enterprise architecture which has led on to organisational design and agile process refinement. Simon is the founder of Adventures with Agile.