Balancing “Being Agile and achieving organizational goals”

Reading time (8-10 mins)

In this post, I have shared my thoughts about getting value from different frameworks while keeping the focus on achieving organizational goals.

Stockholm Railway network.png

Question: What is more important for you and your organization?

a) Being Agile (Leadership Agility, Organisational Agility)

b) Achieve Organizational goals (More sales, Happy customers and Teams)

Please go ahead and share your thoughts in the comment section, meanwhile, I can share what are my thoughts.

Let’s explore it with a small activity. READY?

What you see in the above picture is Stockholm’s railway network map. There are different legends to help you find respective information. What you need to do is …

TASK:  Start from “UPPSALA C” and reach the destination “SICKLA UDDE” (High-resolution PDF – Railway Traffic Map)

  • Identify track type
  • Identify changes
  • List down all the stops
  • Travel Cost
  • Travel time
  • How many routes you could identify

There are several routes to reach the destination and some factors to consider are, cost, time, ease of change and route. Usually, more cost means less travel time and vice versa. It depends on if it’s worth it!

But what all this has to do with Being Agile and Organisational goals? Let’s try to put some context to the above questions…

  • Identify track type
    • What are different Agile & Lean Frameworks used in the organization
  • Identify changes
    • Common overlaps in the Frameworks (values, principles, tools & practices)
  • List down all the stops
    • Values, principles, ceremonies/events, artifacts, tools & practices
  • Travel Cost
    • The cost of implementing the framework(s)
  • Travel time
    • How effective and efficient is the route to reach the goal

What I am trying to emphasize here is that often teams and organizations stick to one and only one framework or ways of working and neither adapts nor explores other possibilities, following more best practices and less experimentation. If one team is following Scrum, Kanban or any other Framework, “Do they really have to follow each and everything as per the Framework?” or rather “Adapt the Framework to match their needs?

Frameworks are there to provide us a guideline and then as per the need of teams and organizations, better be adapted accordingly. I have worked with several Agile Teams and every time, I had to adapt to the way and needs of that specific team to get desired results.

I came across this nice visualization of different frameworks overlapping with each other. The idea is the same, in order to achieve the organizational goals we need to travel on different framework lines and explore and get the benefit of each.

Now coming back to the question

What is more important for you and your organization?

Being Agile, having Leadership Agility and Organisational Agility is excellent to adapt as per need. Is that really helping if the organizational goals are not achieved?

I think the success of Agile is measured by how effectively the organizational goals are met. Which Agile frameworks to apply should be aligned with the organizational challenges to overcome, otherwise the word Agile will be there to give a false feeling.

The Agile Manifesto also highlights “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools” which I translate to “People over Processes” and “Responding to change over following a plan” which I translate to “Adapt the Framework(s) over following it as a plan

Screen Shot 2019-01-02 at 23.54.45.png

I have been using Scrum, Kanban, ScrumBan, ScrumBut and co-created new approaches with teams to address certain challenges. It was very much related to how we would like to streamline the work, releases, internal and external team communication, and maintenance work.


three silver paint brushes on white textileIn Summary, my answer is a new option (c), a balanced approached of Being Agile and focus on achieving Organisational Goals.

It’s like painting a picture, you need different colors and brushes. You balance the colors and brush strokes.

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