Monday, 4 December 2017


Back in October I attended a very thought provoking talk titled “Why Agile Transformations Fail (and what you can do to prevent it…)” by Gez Smith at Agile Tour London.  Gez hosts a podcast at which is a collection of interviews exploring the title of the blog.  He has a great cross selection roles impacted by agile transformations from Developers, Agile Coaches to recruitment consultants. If you have time to listen to the interviews, I would recommend downloading the podcast.  The talk at agile tour London was made up of a number of quotes from the podcast that highlight some themes and challenges to implementing agile in organisations.

Episode 6 of the podcast, an interview with Andrew Horn, is particularly interesting for me.  Andrew talks about the failure of organisations and some of the root causes of failure.  He argues that even profitable companies can be on the verge of failure when we consider market disruptors and the impact of organisational rigidity on innovation.  He introduces the Fractal Model for organisations.  You can read more about this model here.  There a number of parallels with Agile ways of working and in particular the moving of delivery responsibility to those closest the customer/user.  I particularly like the example of Traffic Lights and Roundabouts.

This brings me on to a great book that I would highly recommend.  Reinventing Organisation by Frederic Laloux.  Frederic talks about his research into organisations that are structured in quite radical ways.  With many cases having a completely decentralised organisation structure.  He categories these organisations as Teal, you will have to read the book to discover the other colours and their meanings, but I would be very interested to hear your views on which colour you think your company is?   What this book doesn’t give you is a blueprint for this kind of new organisation.  No two organisations implement a wholly comparable system.  However there are common traits to these organisations.  Again there are strong parallels to agile ways of work, in particular - delegated responsibility.  As such a number of commentators in the agile community are referencing ideas from Laloux’s book.  Definitely worth a read.