Transparency is critical for agility, but often the power of transparency is challenged by long-hold cultural norms. This article shares examples of the power of transparency and how it can be used to create breakthroughs in performance.


I was helping an organisation adopt agile ways of working across six teams. We had started well. We had a shared vision for the change and everyone felt excited. We held a series of workshops to upskill everyone and had kicked off strongly.

The teams were full of highly skilled people who knew each other well and had worked together for years. They had been granted plenty of autonomy, were all highly committed and knew the area they were working in very well.

As we progressed, I kept getting a feeling that something wasn’t right. I drive home each day feeling something was wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on what. I didn’t know the area of the business nearly as well as they did, but my gut feeling was that they should be getting through much more work than they were.

While reflecting on this I suddenly realised what I needed – transparency. Without transparency, I didn’t really know what is going on.

Creating Transparency

I decided to set up a small experiment. The CEO had made it clear that this project was the number one priority of the entire company, therefore all people working on this were dedicated to it full-time. I decided to test this.

Rather than dig into the details of what everyone was working on (micro-management), I asked them to help me create transparency about where their time was being spent. To do this, I set up a simple board where each day (at our Daily Scrum) each person recorded a green tick if they were doing the 7 hours they were supposed to, or a red cross if it was less than this.

What I saw shocked me. Everyone was red crosses!

As we worked through this, we found something significant - most people were only spending one hour a day on the project.

Despite this being the most important project of the organisation, structured to deliver the most important work first in iterations, the teams were actually working on all sorts of other things!

I remained curious and asked lots of questions. One team member shared an email that read something like this:

No transparencyIt turned out this was happening everywhere. There were literally thousands of invisible undercurrents running all the way through the organisation based on whatever work well-meaning managers were trying to get done. They had no transparency of what was actually going on.

Using The Power of Transparency

This organisation had a hierarchical culture, where success was measured by people doing what managers asked them to do. Well-meaning managers were trying to get their accountabilities delivered, but were creating a nightmare of bottlenecks, delays and dependencies across teams.

I bought the discovery to the Product Owner, who was also a senior manager with a lot of influence in the organisation. He too was shocked yet also thrilled with what we had discovered.

We designed an all-hands meeting where we shared the problem. He then empowered all the teams by asking them to say no to any work that wasn’t part of their current Sprint or was a genuine emergency that had been agreed by the Product Owner. All other incoming work to go to the relevant Product Owners to be ordered on their respective Product Backlogs.

The next Sprint productivity went through the roof. Teams were much more focused and happier. They started delivering significantly better-quality outcomes more frequently.

Winning with transparency

Breaking difficult habits

Six weeks later we hit another brick wall.

The Teams were struggling to manage the volume of support work coming through. It was impacting their ability to focus on project work. They raised it as something they needed our help with to resolve.

We asked them to estimate how much of their time was being spent on support work. They calculated 25%. When then asked them to calculate their per-Sprint capacity. As an example, one team had 8 people, each dedicated 7 hours a day over the 10-day Sprint. Therefore, their capacity was 8 x 7 x 10 = 560 hours. If 25% of their time was being spent on support work, then this was approximately 140 hours. Each team then set aside this amount of time for unpredictable incoming support work.

But to ensure we maintained transparency, we tracked how we were using this time. We created a large public whiteboard where we tracked how much of this time was being used, day by day.

What we discovered shocked us again.

After one week (half the Sprint), they had used all of their support allocation! The amount of support work was significantly more than what they had estimated.

Together, we analysed the incoming support work. It turned out that only a fraction of it was genuine support work. The rest was coming from the same managers as before, who were now gaming the system by putting through their work requests as “support work”. We still had the same problem – just in a different format.

Brick wall

Solution: Increasing the Power of Transparency

To resolve this once and for all, we made a decision to make all incoming support work transparent by putting it on the wall. Each day at our Daily Scrum, the teams and Product Owners agreed how much support work versus how much project work they would do each day.

Productivity shot up again.

We then kicked off a broader piece of work to address the root cause of the problem – the portfolio of work the company was trying to get done. We created an organised, structured and transparent portfolio system where all project were prioritised based on the capacity of the available teams. With all the managers involved aligned, everyone could to get their work done and be successful.


Transparency is your friend. It is easy to blame people when we are getting results we don’t expect, but it is usually the system of work that is the root cause. People don’t want to fail.

Leadership is about creating clarity and an environment where people can be successful and high-performing teams can emerge. As leaders, transparency is an important way of achieving this. Without it, it is difficult to know what is truly going on.

I encourage you to consider how your organisation uses the power of transparency. What could you do to improve it?

We have all been in meetings that don’t seem to have any purpose. You attend because you were invited and felt you should go but find the purpose of the meeting isn’t clear and the meeting itself doesn’t create any meaningful outcomes. Sound familiar? The POWER start technique results in better meetings and better outcomes.

Meetings are an essential part of work, but poor meetings are a chronic waste and can drastically hamper organisational performance and agility. This post shows you how to use the POWER start technique to keep your meetings focused, meaningful and valuable.

In our Facilitation class, we teach a technique called the POWER start. It is a simple framework, originally created by the Agile Coaching Institute to help keep meetings focused, well planned and delivering quality outcomes.

The POWER acronym stands for :

  • Purpose – what is the overall purpose of the meeting? Why is it necessary?
  • Outcomes - what outcomes do you aim to achieve in this meeting?
  • WIIFM – What is in it for the attendee? Make it clear why they should attend. One useful approach is to make it clear what they will miss out on if they don’t attend.
  • Engagement – what techniques will you use as a facilitator to keep the participants engaged?
  • Roles and responsibilities – who is going to do what in the meeting? Are you facilitating? Do you need a scribe?

How to use the POWER start technique

The POWER start helps you plan, structure and run your meeting effectively. Here is how it works. In this example, we use our simple template (download here).


Write out the purpose of the meeting in one simple paragraph. Try to use no more than three sentences and use plain language.  The point here is to make it crystal clear on why the meeting is needed and the general topic of what will be discussed. Make it clear if you intend on making a decision at the meeting.


What are the key things you want to achieve in the meeting? What will be the result that occurs from people attending this meeting?

It is critical to get this part right. People typically avoid meetings because they don’t see value in them. You need to address this by painting a very clear picture of the intended outcomes and the benefit of them attending. Otherwise, why should they care?


People will not attend meetings if they can’t relate the meeting to something that is important to them. Obviously, this is not what you want.

Start by thinking about what your attendees are trying to achieve and how this meeting relates to that. What’s important to them? What might they want to get from the meeting? By taking a few moments to map this out, you can achieve a significantly better outcome.


Engaging meetings don’t feel like meetings. They draw you into the topic and encourage healthy participation. To achieve engagement, you need to prepare well.

We work off a simple rule of thumb – for every hour of meeting you need one hour of preparation.

Sounds like a lot of effort, right?  Yes, it is more effort, but what we are after here is quality over quantity. Think about it his way.

If you have 7 people at a meeting, and their average hourly cost is $100 per hour, that is $900 (including you). If that meeting fails to reach a quality outcome, there will likely be a lot of extra emails, phone calls and discussions required. You might even need another meeting.  The cost of that can be significant. If you spend one hour preparing for the meeting, the maximum cost of that is one hour of your time - $100.

To create engagement, design activities to help achieve outcomes. For example

  • to rapidly engage everyone to create ideas: 25/10 crowdsourcing is a great technique
  • if you would like to vote on a series of options, dot voting is a powerful technique.
  • to generate quality ideas, faster than before and include everyone, 1-2-4-ALL is a great technique.

One critical consideration when planning the meeting is whether there is any information you would like attendee to read in advance.  This might be a report or similar background information.

Finally, make sure you have the agenda displayed, with timings, in an easy to read, graphical format. This will help you keep everyone focused and on schedule. A flip chart is ideal.  You may also choose to share the agenda in advance.

Roles & Responsibilities

Finally, consider the roles and responsibilities of the attendees. Are you facilitating the meeting? If you need to participate in the content of the meeting then it might be better to engage a facilitator. Who will be capturing actions and outcomes? Are there any subject matter experts required? Who will contribute? And who will schedule any follow-up meetings required? These all are important before, during and after the meeting.


The POWER start is an excellent way of making meetings powerful, engaging and fun. Over time you will find people want to attend your meetings as they deliver results in a collaborative, engaging way.  And by achieving clear outcomes you may even be able to reduce the number of meetings your organisation needs.

POWER starts are one of the techniques we teach during our amazing Agile Team Facilitation course. We also help attendees learn how to work with difficult behaviour, how to facilitate for full participation and how to work as a servant leader to help guide your team to quality outcomes. We would love to see you on the next one.

Many organisations have adopted agile but how many ask the obvious question: What is the ROI on our investment in Agile and how will we measure it?

There are two ways I’d like to explore this topic: from the perspective of delivering an initiative (a product or project) with agile, and from the perspective of scaling this to an entire organisational (Enterprise Agility).

The ROI of Agile Delivery

fast agile

On a project or product level, the ROI on agile is without doubt orders of magnitude greater than traditional methods. There have been a number of studies, the most notable by the University of Maryland, all of which provide extremely compelling evidence.

The University of Maryland study found that agile projects were 20 times more productive, had five times better cost and quality and had a 7 times earlier breakeven point. Furthermore, agile projects had an 11 times greater ROI, 11 times higher NPV, and a 13 times higher ROA when expressed as a percentage.

This research has been backed up by several private studies.  Without doubt, the ROI on agile projects is compelling and an order of magnitude improvement over traditional methods.

The ROI of Enterprise Agility

Naturally, this has led companies to want to scale these benefits beyond single initiatives and reap the organisation-wide benefits. Who wouldn’t want significantly improved breakeven, ROI, time to market, quality and NPV – and the ability to change course as required!

At an organisational level, the ROI becomes harder to measure. This is because Enterprise Agility is about improving the entire system for all future outcomes, not just one specific project. In other words, this is a core infrastructure investment, and these types of investments take many years to pay off.

An investment in Enterprise Agility tends to yield the following benefits:

  • Customer engagement – putting the customer front and centre of our efforts and testing the validity of our assumptions by regularly releasing work and obtaining their feedback.
  • Better solutions - when complex problems are solved by interactive, cross-functional teams, the solutions tend to be more robust and of higher quality. This is because we have taken in many different perspectives on the problem – technical, sales, marketing, quality, commercial, operational, plus we have baked quality in from the outset and tested it every iteration.
  • Culture and engagement - the research on intrinsic motivation is compelling – when teams can shape the work and work in a self-directed way, engagement, creativity and productivity go through the roof.
  • Adaptability – the ability to continually adapt our strategic direction, based on evidence of what we see in front of us. Agile brings transparency and empirical data. We can use this focus on only what is important and limit having too much work in progress, thus creating the ability to pivot.
  • Value - When the above four benefits are combined, we can focus on only delivering what is of value to both the customer and our business. While this seems obvious, what is often overlooked is our ability to cull a significant number of features we assumed customers wanted. Research into feature usage shows customers often only use 25-50% of the features delivered. Imagine if you could cut your investment in features by 50%!
  • Reduced Total Cost of Ownership – TCO accounts for the lifetime cost of the product, including maintenance, enhancement, and support. In many cases, this accounts for 60-90% of TCO, making the development cost looking minimal. By only developing features customers care about, we can repurpose investment into more product places.
  • Market share – combining all the above effectively tends to result in increased market share and eventually market dominance if done well.

Clearly, these are all long-term investments in the infrastructure of our businesses, based on designing it for agility.

ROI on this sort of investment take years to measure, not months. But this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t measure it. On the contrary.

One useful approach for measuring the ROI of Agile is Evidence Based Management (EBM). Many organisations lose sight of the real goal of agile ways of working as they get stuck focusing on improving activities and outputs instead of business outcomes.  Agile is a means to an end, not the end itself! EBM helps prevent this by focusing on the value delivered to the organisation from an investment in agile. This enables organizations to make rational, fact-based decisions, elevating conversations from preferences and opinions to empirical evidence,  logic, and insight.

If you are interested in EBM, please contact me.

Otherwise, you may find the approach and the metrics as a useful way of considering how you are going to measure your Return on Investment in agile.

Good luck!

Nobody really saw COVID-19 coming. Most people thought it would be similar to previous virus outbreaks and peter out without any meaningful impact on our daily lives. As the situation unfolded, we struggled to fully grasp the exponential nature of it.

In the business world, we continually face sudden disruption shocks in a similar way. Our senses tell us things are changing incredibly quickly, but like the COVID-19 situation, we fail to grasp the exponential nature of the change, leaving us ill-prepared to cope when it inevitably arrives.

More and more organisations are realising they need to be designed to cope with constant change. This article aims to outline 6 key principles necessary to build such a business.

  1. Structure
  2. Decentralised Decision Making
  3. Goals and Objectives
  4. Execution
  5. Alignment
  6. Leadership


Most businesses are designed for efficiency, not adaptability. The underlying philosophy is to obtain the maximum yield for an acceptable effort and to scale this as effectively as possible. Last century’s Scientific Management is the key influence.  Such businesses, by design, are not built to suddenly change course. They are designed to do key activities efficiently.

A Traditional firm is like a freight ship - efficient but difficult to change course

In contrast, a start-up is designed to be incredibly adaptable. It’s structure is fluid as it continually pivots to find the right product-market fit in order to survive. It is fast and nimble and can easy out-manoeuvre larger organisations, but it isn’t efficient and it can’t scale.

A start-up is like a fighter jet, fast, nimble but not efficient

Companies that push through the start-up phase and scale bemoan the resulting bureaucracy and structure. The original ethos and culture of the start-up is lost as it grows.

Our clients want the benefits of both. They want the innovation, speed and agility of a start-up combined with the size and scale of a larger firm. Often they are facing some sort of disruption, hence they must be able to change direction quickly.

A business that has embraced Organisational Agility can achieve this, however it requires a profoundly different structure and operating model. It is typically structured as a collection of autonomous, adaptive units working together in unison towards a common objective. They have the scale to compete, yet the agility to suddenly change course to navigate around an obstacle without the cumbersome sluggishness of centralised control. They resemble a fleet of boats, each with a crew, a mission and autonomy to sail towards an agreed objective.

Organisational Agility looks like a fleet of yachts

If new conditions emerge, they can change course accordingly, based on the conditions each of them currently face. For instance, say a pod of whales suddenly surfaces for air. Each boat can change course to sail around the whales based on the conditions they observe. Those close to the pod might rapidly tack starboard. Those further back might take a different course of action to avoid the traffic heading starboard.

Contrast that to how a large freight ship would cope. It would struggle to change course fast enough, and likely plough straight into the whales.

A firm is similar. If we are structured as a “fleet” of smaller, independent units (teams), and something suddenly appears out of nowhere, say a new competitor, a change in regulations or a global pandemic, we can change course quickly by distributing control to the independent teams.

Structure enables agility.

Decentralised Decision Making 

If we are to structure ourselves this way, we clearly need to change how decisions are made.

In a traditional firm (the freighter), intelligence and decision making is centralised. Decisions are made at the “top” of the firm and supporting directives cascade to the people doing the tasks. When decisions need to be made, they must flow back up to the centralised control and then back down again. The delay directly prevents agility.

In an adaptive firm, authority is pushed to the people with the information. In other words, the people at the coalface are empowered to make appropriate decisions as required. If the decision requires others, they find the people required and attempt to make the decision as quickly as possible.

But if we empower teams to make their own decisions, isn’t it possible they head off in random directions? Absolutely, which is why the other principles are equally as important. Read on.

Goals and Objectives

To make sensible decisions, teams must understand the broader outcomes the organisation is aiming to achieve.  To support this, teams undertake planning collectively to break down larger objectives into ones their team can effetely own.

"Stay home to save lives" is a clear goal (although lacks measures). Set by the NZ Government for the COVID-19 crisis, it is obvious what is being asked, but more importantly, why. It turns out "why" is deeply important to humans.

The goal doesn’t have to be perfect with answers for all contingencies, but it does need to be clear, explain why, and needs to be supported by the ability for people to clarify the goal. To turn the goal into an objective, it needs to include tangible measures.

OKR's have recently become a useful way of expressing objectives.

Objectives are memorable qualitative descriptions of what you want to achieve. Objectives should be short, inspirational and engaging. An Objective should motivate and challenge the team.

Key Results are a set of metrics that measure your progress towards the Objective. For each Objective, you should have a set of 2 to 5 Key Results. More than that and no one will remember them.

The reason objectives are important is that they enable better execution.


Traditional management is based on humans being analogous to machines, whereas Organisational Agility is designed to bring out the chaotic, messy, creative brilliance of humans.

To demonstrate, let’s contrast two different organisations - Traditional Company and Modern Company.

Traditional Company

Traditional Company uses traditional management techniques. The Executive Leadership Team (ELT) develop long-range strategies and the Senior Management Team (SMT) turn those into annual plans and budgets and manage execution.

Decision-making is centralised in two different forums – the ELT for things that impact strategy and the SMT for execution-level decision making. Each forum meets fortnightly.

The culture tends to value conformance, adherence to plan and outputs. People tend to be rewarded for either tenure or delivering work on time and under budget. People have managers who allocate tasks and give appraisals of performance.

Work is usually delivered via projects. Projects break work down into smaller chunks and assign tasks resources who are managed to execute. Sometimes, resources comment that they are unsure of why they are doing the work, by just get on with the job.

If a project needs to change direction, it has to submit a change request for either the SMT or ELT fortnightly meeting. This is quite an intimidating process to go through so is generally discouraged. Sometimes the ELT discover “watermelon projects” – projects that have status reports that indicate green (everything is fine) but the project is actually red on the inside (in trouble). These projects are terminated.  Traditional Company estimates that on an average year it wastes $72M on either watermelon projects or projects that require additional funding.

Overall, people at Traditional Company reasonably happy, although staff mention they are worried about the new competitors springing up and how quickly customers jump ship given the chance. Customers also seem to be more informed than they used to, often demanding new products and services.

Modern Company

Modern Company has embraced organisational agility. The Executive Leadership Team develop long-range strategies and communicate these via outcomes they would like to see the firm achieve, expressed as OKRs.

Decision-making is pushed to as close to the people with the appropriate information as possible. Sometimes this means decision making at “tribe” level (a tribe being a collection of teams). Other times it means decisions are made by the teams themselves.

Modern Company has invested in developing its culture. It values delivering amazing customer experiences ahead of following the plan. This often requires staff to be creative. People work in teams, each with its own style of sub-culture. Across all teams though, there is a culture of constant feedback and growth. Everyone is aware of the growth areas and openly pursue opportunities to address them.

Teams obtain work as part of Modern Company’s quarterly planning sessions. They use a technique called Big Room Planning out of which comes their Team OKR for the quarter. They then break this down into a number of “Sprints” (two-week chunks) that deliver a piece of the OKR. They regularly review progress and discuss whether they need to change direction.

They’re less concerned about following plans. At first, managers were anxious about this, but when they saw the results of focusing on customer outcomes they relaxed.

They don’t have people managing them to execute, but they do have people who are dedicated to helping them learn and grow. Their key role is to help develop their competence.

Work is delivered by teams. Some teams are part of a larger group called a Tribe. Work exists in a backlog – a prioritised list of things required to achieve their OKR. Each Sprint, Teams select work from their backlog.

If Teams need to change course, they have the freedom to do so, as long as they remain committed to their OKR. If throughout the courses of their work they find the OKR needs to change, they immediately engage whoever they require to discuss and re-plan. They success based on customer value and business value delivered, not time and budget.

Overall, staff at Modern Company say they feel highly engaged. The company has a really eclectic mix of people, from analytical to creative. Staff often say they are excited about what opportunities future technologies will enable and what this might mean for their customers. Customers rate Modern Company highly, even participating in the development of new products and services.

As you can tell, these two companies execute very differently because they are designed and structured differently.


When work is being done by many small, autonomous teams, it is easy for them to drift off in random directions.  There are a number of techniques to keep teams aligned without reverting back to centralised control.

  • Daily alignment - a 15-minute daily meeting to inspect progress towards our goal(s) and adapt accordingly. This is an opportunity to get our heads out of the weeds to ensure we heading in the right direction.
  • Scrum of Scrums - a simple way for teams to keep across progress of other teams and order to avoid overlaps and dependencies. After each daily alignment meeting, 1-2 representatives of each team go to a Scrum of Scrums meeting and share progress, obstacles and challenges.
  • Sprint Reviews are open meetings anyone in the company can attend. Teams demonstrate tangible progress and obtain feedback. Sprint Reviews occur at the end of every single Sprint and are a powerful way for a team to ensure what it is delivering is both of value and aligned to the organisational objectives.
  • Big Room Planning is a way of all teams planning the next stage of the journey together. We take the outcomes of last period as input and together plan out what we, as a company, aim to achieve for the next quarter, including which teams will be working on what and whether they think it is achievable. It is a combination of top-down and bottom-up planning that includes teams involved. It typically results in significantly increased buy-in and engagement.


Clearly, this type of firm requires different leadership. Thankfully, one of the most successful nuclear submarine commanders in history who ran his vessel this way wrote an outstanding book on how he achieved this and it’s enduring impacts, tried and tested in numerous mission-critical situations.

Control, clarity and competence

He shares three critical principles leaders must embrace to be successful with Organisational Agility:

  1. Clarity on the objective and why it is important
  2. Control - delegating control & decision making as much as is practical
  3. Competence - if we are going to decentralise decision making then we need to ensure the people doing the work are technically competent to make the decisions they need to make.

We’ve covered Clarity in “Goals and Objectives” above and we’ve covered Control in “Decentralised Decision Making”, “Execution” and to some extend “Alignment”. If you are interested in diving deeper on these topics, I recommend David Marquet’s website and book.


Over the years I’ve worked with many firms who have attempted to apply the principles I have outlined in this article. In my experience, one of the key reasons they fail is that they give too much control without developing competency. You cant simply transition from one culture to another overnight and expect to succeed. Building competency in people is utterly vital.

Many of us have been raised based on traditional thinking. It was the underlying principle in our schooling and careers. To work in this way we have a significant amount of re-wiring to do, which takes time. Learning new ways of working is one thing. Applying them is another. It requires patience and support from people who know what they are doing and can guide you.

Our approach is to first give a small amount of control to uncover the gaps in competence and clarity. The step is small and calculated to uncover gaps. Competence is developed through training, mentoring and coaching. If the step is too big, chaos will ensue. Equally, developing a highly trained team without giving them control will result in frustrations and departures.

Balancing Control with Competence and Clarity

The idea is to instil a culture of leadership that gives others the opportunity to grow by inviting them to the next level. For example, if someone wants to be told what to do, the best response is to ask them what they think or see, and so on.

Leadership Ladder

If you are interested in understanding this better, please contact us.


COVID-19 will change the world. All of us will learn from this situation and make our businesses more adaptable and responsive. This can be significantly accelerated through a fundamentally different system of work based on distributed intelligence.

Once you have stabilised, please don’t forget to invest in your organisation to help avoid learning lessons the hard and expensive way. Together, let’s build better businesses that progressively shape the world for good.


Forward thinking firms are realising that in order to thrive in a world of uncertainty they need to fundamentally rethink themselves beyond the tactical “doing” mindset (processes, frameworks and methodologies), to an adaptive mindset, based on a culture of collaboration and a team-centered approach to problem solving.

Culture, HR, intrinsic motivation & emotional EQ are converging with agile, servant leadership, the growth mindset & customer empathy to fundamentally reshape what it means to be a modern organisation.

The winners in the current climate are not just embracing modern technology; they are fundamentally redeveloping their core DNA in order to detect new opportunities. And this change is increasingly being led as a culture-first initiative.

Much of the work we are currently doing is less about responding to a particular crisis, rather it is more focused on creating new capabilities to enable our clients to continually adapt and respond to almost any situation. We call this agility. In practical terms, what does this involve?

From years of working at the coal face of adopting agile ways of working, we have learned that a holistic approach radically increases your chances of success. We therefore approach it as two interrelated pieces – Business Design and Transformation, with the overlap, validation, playing a vital role in road-testing the change.

Business Design

Business Design is about designing the business to help it best achieve its strategy. It is vital, yet in our experience many organisations skip this and leap straight into “implementing agile”. The result is a transformation with no real substance, no compelling call to action, no North Star. And firms wonder why so many transformations fail!

At Radically we take a very pragmatic view:

  • First, understand the core strategy. What space does the firm play in? What unique combination of drivers enable it to win in this space?
  • Design an Operating Model that will enable this strategy, empowering and aligning all the key business functions towards the same outcome.
  • Get explicitly clear on the target culture required to achieve this. What does it look and feel like? What will leaders do to role model this? How do we reward and recognise people demonstrating the desired behaviours?
  • Review and align the Organisational Structure to support the above. If our Operating Model is strongly agile based, then a different org structure is often required. What does this look like and what changes are required to get there?
  • Ways of Working – clearly design how we will approach our work. What work should be approached with an agile model? What work should be delivered by a traditional model? How will these interact? Who will do what? How will we measure success of this?
  • Funding & Governance – an agile enterprise tends to adopt an experimental mindset, delivering quick iterations of value that can be quickly tested with customers, resulting in continual course correction. Traditional funding and governance models tends to focus on adherence to a fixed plan. So how should a more modern funding and governance model work?
  • Leadership – given the above, what should our approach to leadership look like? How will we live the values as behaviours each and every day?

Sadly, most agile transformations we have seen in New Zealand completely fail to consider these fundamental building blocks. Instead, they tend to take an “agile practitioner” approach, focusing on frameworks, methodologies and processes. In our experience, these firms are unlikely to achieve their desired business outcomes.


Transformation is the art of moving the business to the new model.

This is when the ‘people aspect’ of change truly kicks in. If you think about what we are actually transforming, it is people and people are the trickiest part to change; processes and models are relatively easy. The human shift must be designed with a human-centred approach. We find that by taking a leadership and mentoring approach, our job is to guide all levels through the change and build the capability and mindset within the staff to be self-sustaining into the future.


In our experience, no design is perfect. There is low value in trying to design a perfect design as no such thing exists, and secondly it will change as you implement it through transformation. Transformation validates design, yet transformation without design is folly.



In summary, we urge you to take a strategic focus when embracing agility. Are all the pieces of the firm aligned to the same vision, model and approach? Are we all completely clear why we are doing this and what outcomes we want to achieve? If you can’t answer yes to these foundational questions then it is time to re-think what you are doing.

Don’t “go agile”. Instead, design your business for agility, break the cycle of failed transformation and realise the true benefits from your investment.

Vodafone has accelerated their digital journey through the adoption of agile ways of working. In parallel, other parts of the business started to look at Agile to leverage new ways of working outside of IT with a firm focus on how to better win in the market, and better deliver strategic objectives. Vodafone engaged us to help achieve this by designing & embedding new ways of working for strategic business teams responsible for managing the key consumer products like broadband, mobile plans and pre-paid offers. In this webinar, we discuss how we use different tools, models and frameworks to help Vodafone’s business teams, along with the cultural & leadership changes needed to enable agile ways of working.