Using tribes, squads, and gilds is not Agile by itself

Many Czech corporations are now starting their Agile journey, at least they say so. Despite fancy labels, they don’t have any desire to change so, unfortunately, you can only expect some ‘fake Agile & Scrum’ and no real outcomes nor fun. How do you recognize them? Most of them got inspired by so-called “Spotify model” (which was never supposed to be any model to follow anyway) or got it second-hand from Dutch ING. Both were just a case-studies how they work at the given time. Both case-studies have one thing in common – both organizations went through a significant change in their values, approaches, and culture. Those who only follow what they shared usually don’t get such a culture and don’t pay any attention to the mindset change either. Just re-structure departments to tribes, squads, and guilds, it’s cool, so it must be the right Agile. But unfortunately using cool labels is not enough to be successful so such organizations who blindly followed what the others wrote about in the case-studies are failing miserably in a few months.Agile Transformation

One example from a huge corporation who applied ‘Spotify model’ – after a year of implementing it, they end up in such a mess that they had to throw away a year of the development and start from scratch again. Quite painful. And expensive. They faced the same issues as the most of such corporations. Not enough of collaboration, culture, and mindset. After all, they didn’t really want any change. They just want to mark it ‘done’. We implemented Agile, we are cool. The similar business model like SAFe (apply new process and terminology, you don’t have to change the mindset or your way of working), just in this case we don’t use any ‘trains’ which if you thought about it are out of fashion for years now, but a modern terminology of tribes, squads and guilds. Nonetheless, the result is similar. Unfortunately. One huge American corporation recently started their 13thAgile transformation. How fascinating. The rumors say that this time they are going to make it. It seems they finally understand that Agile transformation is a journey. It’s not about new terminology, it’s not about tools, practices or processes. It’s a different way of working, a different mindset. So even if it looks like a disaster right now, don’t cry :)… another five attempts and you make it as well. You just need to be patient and wait for the right moment. After all, it’s not that hard. Just stop pretending the change is not needed, and start the real transformation. Change your mindset. Change the way you work.

Any change starts small, with a sense of urgency. Only when you have a strong enough strategic reason, you will change. Remember that Agile is not your goal, it’s only the best way how to achieve your goals in the nowadays constantly changing complex world.


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