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Sparkling the Second Wave of Agile Revolution

Updated: Nov 18, 2023


Is Agile dead? It depends on what you mean by 'Agile'. If you mean that the organizations are not getting the promised benefits because they were focusing too much on the team-level agile "ways of working" instead of systemic global improvements -- then we are in agreement. It is a misunderstanding of Agility that led us down a dead-end.

At Org Topologies, we see bright sparks -- the signs of the 'second wave of Agile' as we call

It. The emphasis is shifting towards both in-team and inter-team collaboration. Team autonomy and broad product ownership. And we want to support and amplify this movement.

"We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it." Preface to the Agile Manifesto.

And we still are!

The discourse is on

We hear constant whispers and loud voices saying: "Agile is dead!" While such statements could be dismissed as mere hyperbole, they open up a fascinating discourse. Is the Agile movement truly dead? Or has its meaning been relegated merely to represent team-level agility?

We've discussed this topic on LinkedIn, and the quoted below post attracted thousands of views and hundreds of reactions:

What's the buzz?

Understanding the Shift

The essence of agile for many of us, practitioners has always been centered around teamwork and creating great teams. The scrum boards, stand-up meetings, and constant feedback loops were crafted to propel teams into a state of perpetual productivity. However, as solutions evolve, they often give birth to newer problems. The very emphasis on team-level agility has inadvertently spawned the necessity for scaling.

Scaling: A Self-Inflicted Conundrum

By concentrating predominantly on micro, team-level agility, we've managed to sidestep a crucial aspect – system thinking. The inevitable need to scale becomes a challenge rather than a solution, a self-afflicted issue born from a tunnel-vision focus on the immediate team.

The Emergence of Business Agility

In this chaotic scenario, a new buzzword has gained traction: 'business agility'. The concept posits that agility should not be confined to development teams but should envelop the entire business entity.

But this raises a question - hasn't agility always been meant for everyone: developers, customers, and other stakeholders?

"Business people and developers must work together daily ..." - claims the Agile Manifesto signed more than 20 years agoo.

The fact that we've reached a point where we need a term like 'business agility' is a stark indicator of a systemic failure.

Org Topologies: Charting a New Course

At Org Topologies, we hold a different view. We staunchly believe that agile is neither dead nor confined to business agility. What we need is a rejuvenation, a second wave of the agile revolution.

Our emphasis should not just be on in-team dynamics but also on inter-team collaboration. Merely focusing on team-level metrics like the flow of change isn't sufficient. It's time to expand our horizons and appreciate value-creating ecosystems.

Org Topologies serves as an excellent tool in this context. It provides a comprehensive mapping of different organizational archetypes in their relationships to organizational adaptability, acting as a catalyst for introspection and path determination.

Navigating the Journey with Org Topologies

Using Org Topologies, organizations can identify their current position in the agile journey. It becomes a catalyst for conversations about where the organization aspires to be, thereby allowing organizations to chart their path towards perfection.

Conclusion: Sparkling the Second Wave by Creating Space for Collaboration

In conclusion, agile is far from dead. But we need to broaden our perspective. We must start understanding "agile" beyond team-level agility and embracing a holistic view encapsulating in-team and inter-team collaboration, then we can truly ride the second wave of agile.

Let's not see business agility as a separate entity but as an inherent part of a much-needed agile revolution. With tools like Org Topologies, we can strategically navigate our journey, ensuring that agile principles remain vibrant, relevant, and, most importantly, value-driven for everyone involved.

We are uncovering better ways... Let's keep learning and improving beyond dualistic ideas. Let's keep creating adaptive organizations that bring resilience to business and fun to work.

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