Disciplined Agile

DA Transformation Mindset

To capture the mindset for effective organizational transformation, we extend the principles, promises, and guidelines of the Disciplined Agile® (DA) mindset with philosophies.

Transformation Mindset

Figure 1. The Disciplined Agile (DA) mindset for organizational transformation (click to enlarge).

To be effective at organizational transformation, we embrace these philosophies:

  1. Purposeful north star. Why are you transforming? Successful transformations have a purposeful north star that they are aiming for. People are motivated by purposeful aspirations, such as helping people and improving the environment, not by business goals such as increasing profit or market share.
  2. Motivate and empower. Organizational transformation is really about people transformation. People need to be motivated to transform, to invest the time and effort required to change the way that they behave and think. They also need to be empowered, to be provided with an environment in which they can safely learn and experiment with new ways of working (WoW).
  3. Invest in people. Everyone within your organization will need training and education in new techniques, in new WoW, and of course in DA. They will very likely also need coaching from people to support their learning and improvement journeys. This investment needs to occur at all levels of your organization, including senior leadership.
  4. Culture follows behavior. It is very difficult to change culture directly. Instead, help people to adopt new, desirable behaviors and then their culture will evolve to reflect those new behaviors.
  5. Connect people. The wider reaching your transformation is, the greater the chance that different groups of people are learning the same lessons in parallel with one another. Strive to connect people so they can share these learnings.
  6. Embrace experimentation. Your people and teams are unique, facing a unique situation that evolves over time. There are no best practices that work in all situations. Instead, practices are contextual in nature, working well in some situations and poorly in others. The implication is that your teams need to be allowed to experiment with new WoW to see if it works for them in their situation. Context counts.
  7. Small incremental changes. Successful transformations tend to occur as a series of small changes over time that work towards your north star.
  8. Improvement journey. Transformations will sometimes start out as a project, there is often a desire by senior leadership to change quickly and then move on, but successful transformations typically evolve into a multi-year improvement journey. The goal isn’t to adopt a new method or framework, it isn’t simply to solve an immediate problem, but instead it is to become a learning organization.
  9. Transparent change. Transformations are scary. By making your north star, your strategy to reach that north star, and your progress in doing so visible to the rest of the organization you help to make the transformation less scary to everyone involved.
  10. Own the change. Successful transformations require leaders at all levels of the organization. These leaders should be both responsible and accountable for their part of the overall transformation initiative.
  11. Communicate, communicate, communicate. There should be a constant drumbeat of information regarding what you are doing, why you are doing it, how far along you are, what people can expect in the future, and what is the north star that you are aiming for. While this communication is critical it will unfortunately become tedious due to the need to repeat the same message multiple times.