Agile/Lean Product Development and Delivery: Mastering the Art of Change


In conclusion the first requirement for change is having the strongest intention to do so, deeply wanting to change and being able to see the big picture. It is all important to recognize we need to accept that the world is constantly changing, and we are a part of that change.

We have to be ego-less, to make new choices and let go of thoughts, emotions and actions that aren’t helpful. It takes a commitment and awareness to acknowledge that change must come first from within and then do something about it. The individual and the team need to rally around and believe in what they are doing and share a willingness to start doing something together resulting in operational or commercial value in a world of uncertainty.

One needs to accept you can’t control everything. I think we all know this at some level, but the way we think and act and feel many times contradicts this basic truth. We don’t control what the entire organization does, and yet we seem to wish we could.

Most of the time we can’t even control everything within your own little sphere of influence — you can influence things, but many things are simply out of your control. So as you are faced with the many things that we cannot control as you walk down the path of agile software development, we need to accept that, or we will constantly be frustrated and stopped in our tracks.

In order to make change a reality one also needs to understand people are motivated from within. This having been said leaders can set up an environment in which people are able to motivate themselves.

To set up an environment that enables employees to be motivated, leaders need to understand what the motivational needs of individuals and groups are.

Determining the ?what's in it for me? for individual employees and workgroups that is consistent with goals and strategies of the organization is the key to improving motivation for individuals and groups of employees.

Frederick Irving Herzberg (1923–2000) was a psychologist who became one of the most influential names in business management. He is most famous for introducing job enrichment and the Motivator-Hygiene theory.

Herzberg proposed the Motivation-Hygiene Theory, also known as the two factor theory (1959) of job satisfaction. According to his theory, people are influenced by two sets of factors as depicted in Figure 7.0.

Figure 7.0 – Frederick Herzberg’s Motivator-Hygiene Theory

He proposed several key findings as a result of this identification.

  1. People are made dissatisfied by a bad environment, but they are seldom made satisfied by a good environment.
  2. The prevention of dissatisfaction is just as important as encouragement of motivator satisfaction.
  3. Hygiene factors operate independently of motivation factors. An individual can be highly motivated in his work and be dissatisfied with his work environment.
  4. All hygiene factors are equally important, although their frequency of occurrence differs considerably.
  5. Hygiene improvements have short-term effects. Any improvements result in a short-term removal of, or prevention of, dissatisfaction.
  6. Hygiene needs are cyclical in nature and come back to a starting point. This leads to the "What have you done for me lately?" syndrome.
  7. Hygiene needs have an escalating zero point and no final answer.

People who inspect and adapt are able to organize their thoughts in ways that generate appropriate and positive actions. Adaptive abilities are necessary as changes occur in individuals and their circumstances.

If we inspect and we are adaptive, we will react to change in creative or constructive ways. An adaptive individual is able to refocus the mind in new directions and make choices based on his or her desired outcomes.

Unlike Dorothy, clicking our heels will not magically turn us into wizardly agile and lean practitioners. But, like the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion,

" of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one's own ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought." - Albert Einstein

As Steve Brunkhorst so aptly puts it ?it is the set of the sail that matters—not the direction of the wind.

About the Author
Russell Pannone is the Founder of We Be Agile and the Agile Lean Phoenix User Group, as well as the Agile-Lean Adoption Lead. With almost 30 years of system-software development and delivery experience, my focus is on working side-by-side with folks on real projects helping them deliver valuable system-software to production early and often, giving those I collaborate with the best opportunity to beat the competition to market, realize revenue and discover insights that we can use to help us improve.

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