Thursday, July 31, 2008

Agile and New Ideas for the Enterprise

In a previous post, I commented on what to do after successful implementation of agile to an IT team. What I found from others was that the next step is to move towards the agile enterprise, and I pointed to looking at the P & L and what drives ROI. A complement to this "what" is "how", and a great book on how to introduce this agile growth, and other new ideas, is Fearless Change by Mary Lynn Manns and Linda Rising. It is a book of very practical and comprehensive patterns to use to get support and buy-in, and it is the sum of collected experiences from many professionals.

Despite my best efforts, I often see problems and opportunities through my lens and not through the lens of those I work with. The book references work by E.M. Rogers which breaks down people into groups of Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority and Laggards. While I and others in IT, web 2.0, or project management might be Innovators or Early Adopters, two thirds of the world around us are Early Majority or Late Majority. These groups need to see others successful with an idea first, or are naturally cautious or skeptical (they could have the theme Deliberative). Moving a new idea such as Agile Enterprise, with all the visibility and accountability, is a paradigm shift, foreign and likely scary for some of the very people that will not only benefit most from it, but also whom you vitally need their support. From my initial reading of Fearless Change, I believe this book will be a significant help in getting you there. Also, understanding the strengths of these stakeholders will help you speak their language and motivate them.