a09 People are the Heart of agile Mindset

The agile mindset and a corporate culture emerge from the behavior of people who do the work. Agile transformation begins with the individual. Agile Mindset brings people into the centre of agile transformation.

Decision-making processes bring people back at the centre, because they involve each individual with their diversity in a secure and open order.

Figure01: People carry the values within themselves

Agility actually empowers people with the flexibility to act in the dynamics of today’s globalized world and to respond to disruptive changes. Companies develop agility with the people who want and are allowed to belong.

How do Values develop for the agile Mindset?

People live a culture. So companies don’t really own “a culture” nor do they have values. Culture arises when people behave according to certain values. To do this, the individual people who do the work must be empowered. Even more, it must be possible for people to interact with each other according to values.

People should get a chance to do well.

If someone shows up at the Daily Stand-up and is devalued, eye level is lost. The same applies if an employee in the traditional area is criticized by his or her manager as soon as he or she openly talks about defects. Then openness and courage are guaranteed to be lost.

For values to establish themselves, they must be embedded in practicable processes that continuously and reliably produce good results. Decision-making processes and consequently agile methods are predestined for this.

If people want to work openly with focus at eye level, this first requires a decision-making process that involves everyone and respectfully commits them to their duties, so that the competencies flow into a jointly supported decision. Decision-making processes ensure this reliably.

Figure05: People develop the agile Mindset in a reliable Environment

The values must therefore be anchored in the process, which is largely guaranteed for decision-making processes that are based on the inseparability of emotions, intuition and cognition, as well as for most agile methods.
The belief that agile values would spread from the agile teams into the traditional areas of the company is an illusion. Neither can values be given in top-down processes without introducing agile methods that standardize how we deal with each other. Rather, agile methods are usually weakened and devalued.

A top-down approach requires a commitment process – especially in management – so that lip service becomes real support.

A change in values will establish itself with lived successful experience with employees, managers and all participants.

Agile Transformation is set up the wrong way round

Corporate reality shows that transformation is showing to be a difficult process. So far, better results have seldom been achieved and the desired flexibility is not achieved immediately.

The painful reality is that most transformations fail. McKinsey reports in its studies that 70 percent of large-scale change programs fail to achieve their goals.

The agile methods have provided groundbreaking agility, especially in the implementation areas. There are enough key figures available to show what can be achieved.

Now all divisions rightly want to achieve flexibility and implementation competence.

The Right Way

In the excited discussion and the failure of many agile projects, but also in light of the many successful agile projects, first the terms need to be clarified:

Digitalization converts or creates new digital services that replace classical business processes and were previously executed by humans.

If ticket sales in shop systems performed by people are converted into an app, then that is 100% digitization. The Amazon order dialog is a 100% digitization: the customer does the work and the order is 100% taken over by a services.

Digital Tansformation – is the transformation of classsical business processes into digital services. This can be done with agile or traditional methods.

Agility – is the way in which digital business processes are identified, designed and build into digital services.

Agile Transformation – is a change process that enables people to work together in a self-organized and self-responsible way at eye level. This form is superior to traditional methods.

The Change itself, agile and digital transforamtion succeed best with decision-making processes and agile methods.

Agile Methods

Agile methods, such as Scrum, are an extremely disciplined approach to successfully implementing projects. The core of any agile method is time-boxing and single-tasking.

Time-Boxing – Smallest possible units (stories) are processed in fixed time units (sprints) in order to work iteratively with timely feedback. Here one orients oneself towards human behaviour, which is also organised in time boxes, such as hours, morning and afternoon, days and weeks. Time-Boxing turns a classic procedure on its head that plans in phases of different lengths.

The belief in a perfect plan is replaced by quick feedback on the effect of decisions and actions. A compulsive final achievement of goals is abandoned and replaced by consistent continuous development and improvement.

Agile Mindset

Values are a behavioral description. If someone communicates openly or the backlog and protocols are openly accessible, the value of openness or transparency is lived.

Agile methods fundamentally renewed the understanding of initiatives and plans and consequently the interaction with all project staff. This resulted in a stable behavior (values) within the agile team and with the product owner.

Agile methods replace a traditional authoritarian understanding of leadership with an appreciative cooperation at eye level. Between the artefacts there are transitions that required commitments between roles and within the team. The roles and artefacts regulated tasks and results in an open manner as well as a secure framework for single-tasking. Time-Boxing gave the agile team the focus and the Ceromonies an open exchange of information, in which also a critical and courageous exchange became possible. Cross-functionality in the team allowed self-organization in order to achieve the goal in self-responsibility.

Agile values the root of Agile Mindset – When Scrum is applied, these values develop as a result of cooperation between all parties involved:

  • Openness
  • Focus
  • Eye level
  • Courage
  • Commitment

The values are rooted in the values of self-organization and self-responsibility which lead to the goal ownership.

Of course, other agile methods and experiences also create agile values.

However, from the point of view of the inseparability of emotions, intuition and cognition, one can safely deduce that values develop from successful experiences. Even if one can make these experiences on different ways, then this “natural way” guarantees the agile Mindset. If agile methods are successfully introduced and lived, the agile mindset will continue to develop.

With Decision-Making Processes to Agility

In companies, pioneers often opted for agile methods in selected areas.

This created a critical position (product owner) between the divisions. The different needs and the contradictory approach between the agile and traditional world must be brought together here.

With secure decision-making processes, the product owner can elegantly solve this breaking point.

Figure02: Break Point between agile and traditional Divisions

Agile areas must be protected from the influence of traditional areas.

Managers have never really captured the agile concept, according to Rigby, Sutherland, Takeuchi in Harvard Business Manager 4/2017. Thus, transformation is often obstructed with good intent. Even employees do not have sufficient know-how about agile methods, according to the Hans Böckler Foundation 2017. This area of tension often hinders agile change considerably.

Of course, this situation will resolve itself with the expansion of agile methods. However, there is a danger that by then they will be devalued and weakened. A sure way is to have decision-making processes that avoid these risks.

Lack of Commitment – the most important decision-making process – on the Part of Management

The greatest obstacle is always stated to be that the prevailing corporate culture does not fit. In fact, the values and the culture does not fit the agile mindset, as it has emerged from traditional areas with the values of leadership and control.

This complication is argued in the wrong cause-and-effect sequence. The agile implementation is subsequent to the business in the process and responsibility. It needs therefore a commitment of the management:

  1. to implement agile change in specific areas with appropriate commitments and support
  2. to introduce the transformation as a top-down process, if desired.

This is also the reason for further difficulties: Poor cooperation, inability to prioritize and commit, general communication problems, lack of agility and management support.

These difficulties can be cured in retrospect as well as taken into account during agile transformation.

A missing commitment process that reliably creates commitments prevents or destroys an already developed mindset because experiences that form the agile mindset for all parties fail.

The commitment process thus becomes the central decision-making process.

  • in the traditional area, so that a reliable target is created
  • between the areas, so that the agile teams remain shielded
  • within the agile teams, so that Ceremonies and Artefacts succeed

Transformation requires Decision-Making Processes

In order for the transformation to be successful, it requires a mandate, repeated commitments and the involvement of management. The introduction of jointly supported decision processes with an accepted evaluation, a quality, commitment and prioritization process would create the solid foundation for a change.

Figure04: Figure04 – Agility with decision-making processes and agile methods works

Some companies try to use the advantages of agility without introducing decision processes and agile methods in the traditional areas. For this purpose, they try to introduce the agile mindset or the inner attitude with various transformation processes in companies, which can only succeed to a limited extent.

In fact, companies need open, focused and courageous cooperation at eye level based on reliable commitments. From this perspective, companies are primarily concerned with changing people’s behavior.

The transformation of the inner attitude can only be achieved with successful experiences. Other paths initially achieve positive effects, which are, however, regressed by the normative effects in the company. They are a wonderful approach for the opening of the people involved, but not sufficiently effective for the robust anchoring of agility.

Figure05 – Agility without decision-making processes does not work

The failure of 70% of agile transformations shows that agile Mindset can only be achieved to a limited extent.

The agile tranformation is a complex and fragile process. A sustainable change requires attentiveness and an excellent change design, followed by consistent implementation and supported by decison-making processes.

How the agile Mindset develops in Scrum

To show how the agile mindset develops with agile methods, Scrum is chosen here.

The regular ceremonies, artefacts and clear roles encourage the development of the agile mindset by all involved. Repeated successful experiences in fixed ceremonies are a reliable way to develop the agile mindset with all participants.

In retrospective, the team can live openness, focus, eye level, courage and commitment in a protected space.
In the Sprint Review, the agile team and the product owner receive appreciation for their performance and can continuously develop from the feedback.

Ceremonies are rituals that develop personal skills and values due to the inseparability of emotions, intuition and cognition.

Figure – How DecisionMaking grows neurological emotional Structures

However, already the risk becomes visible, namely when the ceremonies, artefacts and roles are not successfully applied, the devaluation and the loss of the agile mindset begins.

This can be counteracted with jointly supported decision-making processes.

Stable and Consistent Culture

Culture only emerges when people behave consistently according to values that are experienced in successful decision-making processes. Values such as openness, focus, eye level, courage and commitment should not be prescribed, nor should they be demanded. They arise when they are embedded in accepted processes and applied. A commitment process is also a mandatory prerequisite for this.

Decision-making processes thus bring people back to the centre, precisely because they involve each individual in his or her diversity in a secure and open order.

Accordingly, a cultural change is then set in motion for each individual, in traditional areas as well as in agile teams.

The Decision-Making Processes for Agile Methods – www.-k-i-e.com

Only by embedding agile methods in a functional decision management system can the real potential be exploited. Decision processes would equip the agile methods with processes that reliably produce the results.

In Sprint Planning, the Development Team, the Scrum Master and the Product Owner determine which stories are implemented in the Sprint. The following decision-making processes are required for this: Rating, individual decision-making, insure the quality, prioritization, commitment and resource question. In advance, the product owner must have prioritized the stories (prioritization process) and described them with appropriate quality (quality process).

Ceremonies such as Daily Stand-up, Sprint Review, Retrospective and Refinement also require decision-making processes to ensure that good results are achieved and to prevent excessive group dynamics. Traditional decision-making processes are only suitable for this purpose to a limited extent.

K-i-E Scale – A unsiversal Rating System

The basis of all ceremonies for safe and rapid decisions is a standardized and accepted evaluation. This applies to individual and especially team decisions.

The K-i-E scale allows a fast and precise evaluation as a prerequisite for a clear decision. Its flexibility makes it a universal, accepted and standardized rating system for all ceremonies and decision-making processes.

The internal structure of the K-i-E scale is suitable for precisely mapping the little differentiated impulse from intuition. This characteristic forms the congenial bridge to combine intuition and cognition into a single decision strategy. Its transparency opens the way for using group competence.

The K-i-E Intuition – Consciously Using the Intelligence of Intuition

The natural intuition that every human being has, becomes the K-i-E Intuition, when it is expressed in a standardized and selective way through the K-i-E scale. With the K-i-E Intuition, the expert knowledge of all can be accessed in a flash, in order to make a first coherent individual decision for all ceremonies and artefacts. The K-i-E Intuition is the ingenious basis for lightning-fast communication without words in small and large teams.

K-i-E Resource Question – The integrative Way to a Solution

The resource question triggers a clear procedure that activates the necessary actions to make success possible. It is therefore a basic building block for all ceremonies and artefacts. The parties involved are obliged to make their contribution to a solution. Instead of criticizing, illuminating the problem or investigating the causes, a retrospective view is avoided.

Instead, competence is stringently demanded, and it quickly becomes apparent what and how much is necessary for success.

This shortens discussions about factors. Useful actions are worked out and as an accompanying effect it becomes visible how supportive someone behaves.

K-i-E Decision Strategy – Safe Decision-Making

With the individual decision strategy, agile team members as well as Scrum Master and Product Owner decide quickly and reliably. The distorting influence of the emotional system is reduced and the conscious use of intuition is integrated. Everyone knows – in the traditional and agile world – which deficiencies individual decisions have. For this reason, further decision-making processes are absolutely necessary for Scrum to succeed in its tasks and to integrate group competence.

Quality Process – Jointly Accepted Quality for all Artefacts

All artefacts such as the stories in the product as well as in the sprint backlog are created with appropriate resources and in appropriate quality. The quality is already produced in early phases, which limits later problems and efforts.

The quality process creates a self-organized process that enables those involved in the process to produce quality in a self-determined manner.

Quality problems in the backlog create the biggest problems, both in classical and agile methods. People get with the K-i-E Quality Process a chance to do it well.

The Motivation Triangle – Goals will be achieved

Goals will be achieved, conflicts will be resolved and projects become successful if the appropriate skills are developed, internal or external permission is given and the will of those involved is sufficiently present.

The K-i-E motivation triangle is a practice-oriented application of the K-i-E scale. It is a transparent tool with which candidates can be assessed in a comprehensible way.
With its help it can be derived how great the chances for the success of a project will be.

Commitment Process for Jointly Supported Decisions

Identification and loyalty to the goal are the essential success factors for all ceremonies par excellence. The commitment process involves all participants 100%. The process forces all participants to express themselves and to take an evaluable standpoint. Diverging points of view become visible right at the beginning and are brought to a common constructive solution through the supportive collaboration of all.

Obstacles, risks and hidden conflicts are identified in early phases. In later project phases they would cause cost increases and delays after considerable investments have already been made. This situation is counteracted even before the start of a project and the actions to ensure success are worked out jointly. The effect in the subsequent implementation is central to success.

Prioritization Process – Common Selection and Order of Topics

With the prioritization process, the core question – what is implemented in the sprint and what is not done – is solved together with the Development Team, the Scrum Master and the Product Owner. The topics to be worked on are then put in order by the Development Team.

For each sprint, various stories compete for the limited resources of time, budget, competencies, focus and implementation capacity. The prioritization process achieves the goal of finding a common set of requirements within a given timeframe.

Briefing Process for a successful Delegation – to get what you want

The delegation process ensures that you get what you need from internal and external teams to produce a good overall result. Prerequisites for the delegation process: a standardized evaluation with the K-i-E scale, the resource question, the quality, commitment and prioritization process and the motivation triangle.

The New Decision-Making Culture – The Book

The K-i-E theory of the inseparability of emotions, intuition and cognition provides the scientific basis for the agile methods and decision-making processes and thus places them on a solid foundation.

The decision-making processes for overcoming entrepreneurial challenges are described in practical terms for agile transformation in my book “Die neue Entscheidungskultur”, Hanser Verlag 2018.
More on my Homepage –  www.k-i-e.com

The New Decision-Making Culture – The Seminar (2 days)

Produce decisions instead of deciding. The inseparability of emotions, intuition and cognition is explained in a practical way. Practice-proven tools for 100% participation.

Next Seminar: Friday 25th and Saturday 26th January 2019

Location: Frankfurt am Main

The emotional system is the origin and end of all thinking. New thinking with conscious emotional logic expands human and artificial intelligence.

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Blog Series – How Agile Change succeeds

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  • The jointly supported decision as a superior form of decision-making
  • Why is an accepted and standardized evaluation so important?
  • What motivates people instead of criticizing to share their contribution to a solution?
  • How to consciously use the competence of intuition
  • The individual decision-making strategy als a foundation for every good decision maker
  • Quality as a prerequisite for personal responsibility and joint success
  • Commitment process – a self-organized process for a culture of openness, commitment, honesty, safety and trust
  • Prioritisation process – What is done and what is not done?
  • Embedding of agile methods in a functional decision management system
  • Decision-Making processes create a new decision-making culture
  • Calibrated emotional loops
  • Decision processes solve the leadership dilemma
  • The lack of support is homemade
  • The entrepreneurial reality
  • Agile change succeeds with decision management
  • Inseparability of emotions, intuition and cognition and the importance for decision-making and agile cooperation

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