Weekly newsletter of John Coleman Agility Chef — Issue #1
Unlocking sustainable authentic organizational agility, one step at a time, one behavior at a time
The case for Agile Kata
The “being doing gap”
You don’t need to be Agile to be agile, even if Agile is mainstream. Other options include DevOps, Lean, Product Management, Modern Agile, and Shape Up.
We need to focus more on product and customer jobs, and less on the process, don’t you think? Very few change agents and leaders get that balance right.
Whatever kind of agility you pursue, agility is not a team sport (Klaus Leopold). Telling a flower to grow has little utility (Pia-Maria Thorén). What’s needed is a behavior set that demonstrates agility in action — perception, sense, results, and improvement.
Yet managers over-fill the hopper with work, and refuse to prioritize within capacity, all the while asking for more velocity without cultivating an environment where performance can improve. Even worse, the honoring of commitments is given more respect than the next right thing to do.
Agility cannot be bought in a box. Sustainable growth of authentic organization agility is often missing in action. Executive, senior, and mid-senior management needs to truly empower teams or be proactive themselves to declutter workflows, processes, systems, and impediments.
But where to start from here?
It’s like being lost as a tourist in a foreign land. If you look for travel directions when you get lost, some unhelpful locals might tell you “well, I wouldn’t start from here”. “Yes, thanks a million for that,” we might think:).
The more things change the more they stay the same. The current track record of agile adoptions is not very promising. Most of all agile transformations fail to achieve their goals and therefore miss out on the huge positive impact it has on employee engagement, customer satisfaction, operational performance, and time-to-market. Is it because companies see Agile as an organization process update and not as a cultural shift?
Is “agile” another buzzword or fad in your organization, which is difficult to break down into digestible pieces?
But where to start from here? Do we really have to “throw out the baby with the bathwater”?
Are your existing teams looking for new ways of triggering organizational change or looking for a new way of working? The list of challenges can be long.
The most popular options are beneficial, but they often get broken or just don’t feel right. We have to be careful; evidence-based data-informed thinking is needed to deal with complexity.
Teams become apathetic due to feelings of lack of agency and a lack of agile management behavior set. Queues build up between teams.
So where to start from here? Do we really have to “throw out the baby with the bathwater”?
The Agile Kata
The Agile Kata is versatile and can provide answers to these common questions and challenges. It combines a proven practice, which has been applied for decades in lean manufacturing, with a clear alignment to agile values and principles.
See how scientific thinking and practical hands-on application work well together. The Agile Kata is a pattern that helps you create your own rhythm, specific to your organizational needs and goals.
What people are saying about Agile Kata
“If I did return to Tesla, I would recommend Agile Kata” — Joe Justice (Agile@Tesla Transformation Lead)
“Agile Kata — More Agile than Agile!” — Chris Lennon (Spark Telecom)
“What I have seen is that organizations declare they want to be agile, start a significant (and often expensive) transformation effort, and it typically fails to take hold and the only result is a new vocabulary for the same old processes. There is no substantive change in behavior. What is needed is a different mindset and behaviors. The Agile Kata approach of deliberate practice is truly the only way to get there. “ — Richard Sheridan (CEO of Menlo and Author of Joy Inc.)
About Agile Kata
Be agile about becoming agile. For example, use “openspace” or liberating structures rather than boring meeting rooms.
Understand the long-term direction. Select a tangible challenge on the way to that long-term direction. Use the starter improvement kata with a daily starter coaching kata cycle. Rinse & repeat. Free yourself of the starter kata over time and find a better way to improve scientifically in a direction of agility. Use agile leadership, agility coaching, and the agile principles to guide that direction.
Use Agile Kata at any level to improve. Use Agile Kata when you’re stuck. Let Agile Kata help you to get free from the sticky mud. Try Agile Kata to rejuvenate and improves how it looks and how it feels.
https://x-agility.com/executive-agility-leadership-training/certified-agile-kata-practitioner-akp-level-1/ — get trained on Agile Kata
https://linkpop.com/orderlydisruption — order training from John Coleman
https://linktr.ee/johncolemanxagility — John Coleman’s social links