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The Agile Workplace

From the article:

The study found that agility — the ability of the workplace to adapt to change — has emerged as the single highest priority in the workplace industry. The agile workplace needs to be flexible enough to support many ways of working — no one size fits all — and its boundaries need to expand to support work at any time, in any place, with anyone.

The study also examined the effects of the agile workplace. It discovered, for example, that organizational structures tend to be more team-oriented and less hierarchical when it’s easier for workers to collaborate across the boundaries of time, space and geography.

Cause or effect? I suspect that there is a positive feedback cycle at work here. As teams and organizations adopt agile practices, they adapt their workspaces to be more suitable. As the workspaces change, the organization is able to more effectively adopt agile practices.

At a team level this is certainly true in my experience. At first, many organizations adopt agile practices without, for example, having the team sit all in the same room. As the team becomes more proficient at the agile practices, it becomes more and more of a burden that the team is not co-located. At some point, it becomes critical for the team to be co-located if they are to become any more efficient. The organization/team then bends itself to enabling co-location. Once the team has found itself a space and moved in, it reaches a new level of effectiveness… until the next environmental constraint is encountered.


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Interesting Article by Scott Berkun

Why smart people defend bad ideas by Scott Berkun looks at a fascinating, and fairly common, problem. Interestingly, this problem of smart people doing dumb things / defending bad ideas, is often related to perception. Agile principles and practices are about aligning perception among all the stakeholders, and in particular, between an execution team and the rest of the stakeholders. By aligning perception, the best environment is created for doing the right thing. In the case of a business, your project teams are the experts in “how” to do stuff, and your business teams are the experts in “why” to do stuff. This combination of “how” and “why” is done as efficiently as possible using agile work methods.


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