Identify Motives – Enterprise Agile Manifesto

1024 578 Michelangelo Canonico

We are clear in our purpose for embracing agility.  Our unique and compelling reason will be clearly articulated and transparent across the whole organisation.

The purpose of this series of articles is to walk the reader through the principles of the Enterprise Agile Manifesto, sharing experience and opinions taken from the trenches on what Agile means at an enterprise level.

In September 2017 at Schaeffergaarden in Gentofte, Denmark, five people met during the Scrum Coaching Retreat, found common grounds and focus on a shared vision, help coaches to understand what are the principles and values that enable true agility at an enterprise level.

 The outcome was The Enterprise Agile Manifesto, a manifesto for Agile Coaches to understand the principles that allow for enterprise agility to flourish.

In this article, I will explore why Identify Motives has been put at the first place, what it is all about, and what kind of implication can arise from neglecting to identify motives and reasons at the first stance of any coaching engagement.

 Agile initiatives like organisational transformation, change the ways of working, or anything that introduces extensively Agile practices and methods, will end up in involving Agile and coaching. Agile Coaching, As a practice and development discipline, that aims to maximise people potential and guide the entire organisation throughout the challenges they will encounter during the journey to becoming more agile.

So far so good but taken for granted that an Agile Coach should be well knowledgeable about Agile and Lean, other disciplines must be taken into account like teaching, mentoring, facilitating and notably pure coaching for development, improvement, and change behaviour.

While for instance, a Scrum Master works predominantly at a team level, an Agile coach operates at the organisational system level, which in turn includes teams as well, but with more focus on system dynamics, paying attention to groups rather than to each single team member like a Scrum Master does.

Your client has for sure reasons behind the adoption of Agile, which isn’t saying all people in the organisation well understand agile and Agile coaching.  

What are your reasons and what the strategy will be to communicating those reasons clearly enough to be understood by people who are not well acquainted with what Agile is? 

How your intention will be translated into action perceivable with transparency by the client?

When the engagement commences, you might think to have understood entirely the coaching objectives and the purpose why you are there. Still, the reality is much complicated with plenty of different goals and hurdles most of the time incompatible to each other.

It is widespread to see the client ask for general help, without to be very specific on how to develop improvements purposefully.

Most often, it is a request to speed up the delivery process they’ve been trying to achieve in vain for years. Now, because Agile coaching is not very clear as a discipline to understand, neither its boundaries alongside teaching and consulting, the Agile coach is often seen as the last resort before throwing the towel, get back to the old habits and hope to a better future.

The reality is that Agile Coaches are not always well understood for both coaches and clients.

This is the moment when you must reflect based on the information you have got, and articulate and share the reason that has brought you there.

The more articulated the journey will be, the more the blending of different roles like trainer, facilitator, coach and mentor will arise to compensate for the whirling rush dictated by the pace of the current business.

Agile coaches should commit to helping the client usefully understanding and adopting Agile alongside the relentless desire to find a new balance for the organisation.

Here the three areas of intervention that I found useful to focus on as enterprise coach to identify motives and reasons for Agile Systemic Intervention:

Understanding Agile practices:

  • Agile Frameworks implementation and adoption
  • Improve collaboration and communication
  • Inspire through the concept of shared leadership
  • Ignite the responsibility process

Systemic coaching objectives:

  • Understand the “truth” of the system
  • Map out the tribe’s journey
  • Identify systemic issues
  • Improve the level of awareness and transparency throughout the organisation.
  • Exploit tactics for implementing change strategies

Identify motives for systemic coaching intervention:

  • Restore system coherence
  • Illuminate invisible dynamics
  • Help people learn and adopt an Agile mindset

That is why define the compelling reason will state your role as a coach.  It is more than clarify responsibility and expectations, it is about to draw the foundation and build up the blocks of the future agile organisation together.

  • 5