Agile Adoption Needs Your Time



Last weekend, I showed my father Instagram. Both amateur photographers, we were discussing how photography has been, and continues to be, disrupted by technology. He remembers the days of SCUBA diving with a rented film camera and waterproof case. He would have to take the same photo three different ways, in hopes that one of them will turn out. I remember all those slides…

He wasn’t impressed with Instagram. He didn’t get it. Then I showed him my friend’s account, specializing in GoPro underwater scenes in Hawaii. A few yellow tangs, spinner dolphins, and sea turtles, and he was hooked.

In the world of Agile adoption, teams and leaders are all change leaders. This means you! Change leaders need to take precious time with others to find out where people are in their Agile adoption journey. When you do this, you will engage with people who don’t get it…every day. You can’t push aside those who don’t get it. They need you, even if they don’t know it yet, and you need them, because Agile involves everyone.

There is a broad spectrum of not getting it, so don’t lump everyone into the same Don’t Get It Bucket. One end of the don’t get it spectrum is resistance; the other end is innocence. Both are equally destructive to Agile adoption.



Change leaders tend to spend more time on the resistance end. That makes sense, for this is the noisiest, most obvious group! Of course you can’t win them all, but you can win many. They need you to connect them to the value of what you are doing. What’s in it for them? Why should they care? My father wasn’t impressed with Instagram until he saw something he valued being applied in the app. This group needs your time and your storytelling. But, don’t be fooled into thinking that if you can get the resistors to get it, you’ll have smooth sailing.

The innocents need your attention, too. They don’t know what they don’t know. Sort of like why new drivers have such high accident rates. And then their parents don’t let them take the car anymore. And, the innocents don’t know who to ask about their confusion. Ever look for something at a store, and then give up when you couldn’t find it? You need people to be excited and motivated, not defeated before they even begin.

Connecting with those on the Agile journey is easier said than done, for our schedules are full, and we have pressure to deliver. Spend the time now, in the name of innovation, motivation, and teamwork; delay it until later, in the name of rework, rehashing, renegotiating…

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