In December of 2016, when I retired from the telecommunications industry after 29 years (including 15 years in process optimization and continuous improvement) and embarked on my Pyxis journey, I considered myself to be an “Everyday Agilist” because I constantly saw people applying Agile practices in many aspects of daily life.
I saw athletes and caregivers using feedback loops and incremental changes to improve performance and care respectively. I saw grandsons and grandfathers applying an empirical method in pure unadulterated play with some Hot Wheel cars and tracks. I saw artists using Agile values to improve their work collectively and individually.
I still believe that I was onto something back then, but my journey of the last several months has made me far more aware of the depth of my daily rituals and what is ultimately the source of my deepening passion. The single undercurrent for my passion is values. But let me share my journey with you…
When I joined Pyxis, I knew that I had truly found an organization where I could learn, grow and create value. Although I related to the values of Pyxis and was delighted to have found such a warm and welcoming home, my journey had just begun. I needed to learn where I really fit in the Agile world. I had many wonderful mentors and tutors including (in no particular order): Marie- Christine, Pierre, Pawel, Mathieu, Steffan, Daniel, Gabriel, etc.
Related post : Being the new kid on the block
The turning point in my journey came when Pawel and Mathieu introduced me to “The Agile Organization”, I was so enamoured with it. I actually carry the poster board that Mathieu drew at a joint training session and often refer to it. For those of you who have not did the chance to see Mathieu narrate and draw it simultaneously, it is truly a work of performance art. Here is the picture that I carry:
This one single page brought everything into clear focus and set me on a path of learning that I continue to follow. My first realization was that I had spent most of my career on the right side of the drawing, in the world of Operations. It was wonderful to realize that my new Scrum training and certifications were a left side balance to the wheel.
More importantly, the authors’ names in blue ink along the outside of the wheel provided me with a reading list that has been my constant companion for several months, including during a trip to Ireland, through days by the lake and while standing in lineups. As I continue to read, I am realizing that Agility is truly about the whole organization. Daily, I am discovering new ways to be the “Everyday Agilist” through my readings which include to date:
• “Software in 30 Days: How Agile Managers Beat the Odds, Delight their Customers, and leave Competitors in the dust” by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland
• “Agile Project Management with Scrum” by Ken Schwaber
• “The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer” by Jeffrey K. Liker
• “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable” by Patrick Lencioni
• “Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders” by Jurgen Appelo
• “Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization” by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright
• “Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business” by David J. Anderson
My experiences with clients have led me to several conclusions along the same line. From the client who requested Scrum training and sent mostly people from Operations, I learned that Scrum is not enough. From the client who trained members of two full Scrum teams in order to go Agile, I learned that the Tribal Leadership Theory and Management 3.0 principles were required to build a culture for long-term Agility.
I am sure there will be many more similar learning as I read my way around the Agile Organization Wheel, which I guess is just another aspect of being an “Everyday Agilist”. There is always more to learn!
Watch for my next blog “The Value of Values”.