Many companies have partially dived into an agile transformation, but the enterprise level of the organization and its leaders often are lagging and feeling unsure about how they are supposed to engage, inspire, lead and coach from the front.
As a result, companies are caught in the grey with one foot in agile at the team and product level, and one foot in traditional project-centric and resource management practices at the leadership level.
You already inherently know that you cannot stay in the grey. If you have one foot on the dock, and one foot in the boat, you must decide – and quickly – to move one way or the other or you’ll land right in the water. In the grey of agile delivery methods, the one foot on the dock represents the familiar, the known, the comfort blanket or worn-in pair of slippers that many refer to as traditional project management.
It’s like being in a listless or toxic relationship; you know deep down it’s not going well, but it’s at least familiar, so it’s hard to break up. The foot on the boat represents a lean-agile mindset, which is known to some extent, and you’ve been told what it can do.
The appearance is undoubtedly sleek and enticing, and it’s easy to see that the motor is running, and the possibility of freedom and where it can take your organization awaits your decision.
Another viable option is to choose to never fully commit to either option, but we all know where that will lead. Eventually, physics and gravity overtake indecision, and someone is bound to get wet. In these cases, leadership lets it all crumble, often finds a scapegoat, and then yields to just pick up the pieces and start over. But, you and I both know that this is not leadership.
Leadership is proactively sensing and instinctively knowing in your gut that things aren’t right, that we can’t stay in the grey, and that we must decide either to grab onto the pylon of safety and comfort or make the leap into the boat of unknown of endless possibilities. On the dock, you at least know what you are getting, but that does not make it the right decision. Remember, if you decide to leap into the boat, you don’t have to decide right then and there to sail around the world; you can just slowly take a nice excursion around the bay, taking in all the sights and sounds, and at some point, crank up the throttle a little bit and see what this baby can do.
There’s no doubt that we would love you to jump in the boat, but even if you don’t and you choose to stay on the dock, it’s better than being in the grey. Having one foot in a lean-agile mindset and one foot in project-centric practices is just going to eventually land you in the water, and you’ll just continue to frustrate those on both sides, yelling for you to just make a decision. It’s time to take a leap – out of the grey.
Register for a workshop to hear more about leadership engagement within Hummingbird Agile.