On a sunny Edinburgh day Alan Furlong was a guest speak at the Agile Scotland spring event. Alan is a former senior HR professional, two times successful entrepreneur and a passionate advocate for the people aspects of digital transformation. At Radtac he uses his wealth of experience and authentic people skills to accelerate our transformations.
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Culture impacts all areas of our lives. Some are obvious such as religion, family values. Many, however, fall below the radar but still have lasting effects. In this article we will look how you could create an alignment between your organisational culture and the Agile framework you choose to adopt.
What is Culture?
I don’t think you can go far wrong with William Schneider’s definition of Culture: How we do things around here to succeed.
Schneider describes four distinct cultures summarised below in his model, as illustrated by Michael Sahota in his book ‘An Agile Adoption and Transformation Survival Guide’.
Radtac 3-Stage Value Growth Model
Businesses need to have a culture and this culture requires consistency with enough flexibility to adjust to differing business requirements. As a result of that, Radtac has created a simple to understand model that helps the organisations we work with combine culture with the flexible working model. The model represents how we communicate about a project we are working on, and, therefore, which measures we are going to use to show progress and return on investment (ROI).
The Radtac 3-Stage Value Growth Model allows organisations to position their need and possible solution discussion against standard business terms. It moves the discussion from process or methodology into practical delivery of value, through actions with defined outcomes using business value measurement, for example P+L or Balance Sheet.
Last year, whilst scribbling away at Lean Agile Scotland, the Agile Testing Days in Berlin and the Scrum Gathering in Prague, I was drawn (no pun intended) to the intriguing topic of holacracy.
I have recently taken up playing golf again.
I’m not really sure what made me make this rash decision, maybe it's because I’ve just turned 53 and need some exercise, maybe it's because I’ve decided being a CEO isn’t stressful enough and I need something else to worry about; maybe it’s just because I secretly like wearing loud trousers.
I don’t really know.
What I do know is that now I’ve started to take golf semi-seriously, I’ve suddenly realized how complicated the game is. I keep expecting an epiphany when I’ll start playing like Jack Nicklaus, but instead I keep going out and playing more like Jacques Tati!
What have I learned from this experience?
As a teenager, I used to row for a local club. I remember I preferred rowing practice on the river to the gym and dry land exercises. There was something really exciting about being surrounded by fast moving water, first using its flow to get to the end of the planned track and then fighting against it to return to the club. And then doing it all over again.
Retail banking in many ways has been at the forefront of innovation with hole in the wall cash machines, telephone, then internet, then mobile banking, secure payments, we could go on. However they are also running the new appearance on some very old and not fit for purpose IT systems. How have they survived FTSE / S&P churn and will they survive going into the future?
If we look at the FTSE 100 companies we are left to ponder an interesting fact: only 24% of them survive since the FTSE was founded in 1984. This general deterioration in length of survival as a FTSE firm is also consistent with the findings for the S&P indexfrom the same year.
Any one who is close to me will know that I don’t like being out of my comfort zone, so when after being in my job for 2 and a half years I am asked to contribute to writing blogs for the company, you can probably imagine my reaction!
So many things went through my head! ‘I can’t write a blog – I’m not clever enough’ ‘what do I write about?’ How do I try and make it tie in with what the company does… AGILE! Tough one huh! Well for me I thought it would be impossible until I came across this quote:
The secret to getting ahead is getting started. The secret to getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.
I have tried to write this blog three times in the past year and have always ended up canning it. You know, “not quite the right alignment of purpose and insight”, “too long winded”, “boring marketing analysis” or “death through the turgidity of accounting”. But now it has come together.
While I would like to write specifically, with examples, I realised that the value was in the generic….oh and advice from the lawyers. I still have the original safely tucked away.