2021 02 12

My take on Agile – And why it doesn’t work!

I really thought I had seen the light, but while using agile frameworks I started to realize lots of companies just use agile to patch broken things and treat symptoms - and not the organizational disease they are suffering from. I reevaluated agile, and here is my take on the needs of modern management and HR.

I never really felt at home in HR. I still remember the frustration in the eyes of managers in a large IT-company where I did my Master thesis many years ago when HR-processes were brought up. For a long time, I tried to wash away the HR stamp on my forehead and I was really happy when I found Agile. All of a sudden, I saw a way of working that would actually help rather than limit HR work and that was the beginning of a new mindset for me.

I really thought I had seen the light, but while using agile frameworks I started to realize lots of companies just use agile to patch broken things and treat symptoms – and not the organizational disease they are suffering from. I reevaluated agile, and here is my take on the needs of modern management and HR:

Focus on value is dead important. Agile can really give you that. HR processes and routines are a great example that often becomes rigid scaffolding, time consuming and seldom purposeful. An agile mindset can change how HR supports managers. For sure. In times of Covid and working from home, agile can help set targets and structure without controlling. Well aligned with modern management.

But most important to me: Agile is about learning. Continuous iterations are a perfect platform for planning & discussions, decision-making, implementation and evaluation. It creates a growth mindset and is a well needed help handling a VUCA world with accelerating change rates and big uncertainty. 

And still. It seldom works. Why? I believe because it’s about people. I see a lot of companies putting together new teams almost monthly, not giving time to develop an efficient team and not supporting the people within the organization in their personal leadership and development. We expect people to be aware of their attitudes, their behaviour and how they interact with others – without any help. 

So if you want to deliver value, create efficient teams and if you want people to prosper you need to invest in the individuals, the teams and the organizational culture. – not just implementing an agile framework. And that’s not done over night. This is definitely a threshold and the reason why I sometimes chose to step back from assignments or turn down business opportunities. Because I see that my involvement wouldn’t make a difference. 

Cocky? Yes perhaps, but I have also seen what happens when we go the long way. If you are interested in this long way, please reach out and let’s see if we can walk together for a while on this path of change…

Johan Norrfjärd
I work with people driven business development. Simply because I want to give momentum to the right kind of transformation. The transformation coming from vertical development that creates a better world for current and coming generations. I strive for trust, happiness and freedom in all collaborations and co-creations.
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