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Agile Week 3: Flexibility vs Structured Chaos

A key component of Agile is that teams are primarily self-governing. However without structure and basic rules of engagement innovation can easily be stymied by inefficiencies, miscommunication, and lack of focus.

Scrums, sprints, and boards provide a framework to create forward momentum and transparency. ING crafted "tribes" around core business functions Experience, Service, and Enabling, to ensure alignment on goals and strategies across Agile teams. Each tribe drafted a purpose statement and wrote quarterly business reviews of their achievements and future plans.

Agile teams require discipline and documentation. It is not a free-for-all; there are parameters to ensure safety and consistency. So what are stakeholders and partners doing while employees are problem solving?

The role of HR is to fulfill the Rights: getting the Right people with the Right skills at the Right time. Agile requires a different type of recruitment strategy and process, one that is skills-based including soft skills such as cultural competency and self-motivation.


Based on course readings the role of the stakeholders and senior leadership appears to be "set the course and get out of the way". That is oversimplifying but not by much. Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos references Daniel McGregor's Theory Y:

Listen, don't tell. Trust and believe in your people. Encourage them to take responsibility.

Strong and purposeful leadership will communicate the noble mission clearly, and in a way that everyone understands their role in achieving it. In this way they create trust and commitment from employees. Psychological safety supports motivation and created an environment that fosters high quality work product.



Set a course and let them fly. Copyright K. Colyer-Brown


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