The Commitment to be Great - the Number One characteristic of an Agile OrganizationAnd the number #1 Characteristic of an Agile Organization is…

“The Commitment to be Great”

The ability to make the commitment to be more than just good comes from the ability to drive a culture of discipline that balances the metrics of profitability and reputation.  Hopefully you have seen and heard that message come through in the other items in our top 10 list; I applied these concepts from Jim Collins’ in “Good to Great.”

“Greatness is not a function of circumstance.  Greatness is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.”

In the world of software development, an agile organization does not settle for having agile stuck in ghettos.  An agile organization makes the commitment to go up the learning curve and blow past amateurism.  As Jim describes this takes an organization that can increase the discipline to support increasing levels and scale of agility. Discipline to:

  • Regularly plan at the five levels (daily, iteration, release, roadmap and long-term vision)
  • Regularly make and meet the commitments you make based on a sustainable pace
  • Regularly inspect the progress & metrics and adapt the plans at each level
  • Make decisions based on the data, culture, and purpose

As Alan talks about at Amazon, it was just the OK from management that was needed.  As Israel talks about at BMC, it was a Social Contract.   You know what kind of commitment you need at your organization to scale agile.  You need to get it to really improve and make your transition happen.  Please, don’t settle for a weak commitment.  It leads to isolated adoption,  ghettos, and a slow, muddling adoption process.  Scaling agility beyond just the development teams can be simple and rewarding, as long as you start with the commitment.

Here is a quick refresher of the complete Top 10  list:

#1 Commitment to be great; disciplined culture and metrics

#2 Creating Your Own Reality and Corporate Vision

#3 Quality and Faster

#4 Personal Flexibility and Rhythm

#5 Bottom-up and Top-down Decision Making

#6 Collaborative and Smart

#7 Contributing to the Community and Maintaining a Profitable Company

#8 Sustainable and Successful

#9 Servant and Leader

#10 Work/Life Balance and Consistent Delivery

I hope you have enjoyed our series on the top 10 Characteristics of an Agile organization, it was a pleasure doing this with Jean, Anne and Grant.

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