Why is it that some agile adoptions succeed and others fail?

To me it is clear. “Ownership.” Teams take ownership of the delivery, the processes, and their own effectiveness.

Unfortunately, under micromanagement regimes, teams develop a bad case of learned helplessness. And after a while, they find it’s not so bad. They can’t be accountable. They don’t fail, the process didn’t work. They come to work, do a bit of work, and go home. Not everyone likes this and they don’t stay long under such management. Those that do stay are operating at 50% productivity or less!

Getting such teams to take ownership takes good leadership. Leaders must create a culture of trust, be trustworthy, not take ownership away from the teams, and be consistent. They must also help teams to take ownership.

The best thing a leader can do is to not give answers. Once a leader gives an answer, the leader haves the ownership and just took it away from the team or individual.

Ask questions! Such as, “How do you want to solve that?” “What do you want me to do?” “How on the team can help you with this?” “What options have you tried?” and there are many more.

Ownership. When teams take ownership of delivering high quality, working solutions to customers and refining the process to improve their own performance, then we have the beginnings of an agile mindset.

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