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How to make change management happen in the most effective way

Many things can put your business at risk, including changes to your organisation, people or technology. The current pandemic has put many businesses under unprecedented pressure, and some even teetering on the brink of survival. Crises like this quickly turn change...

Future-ready part 2: Diversity – an essential ingredient for a future-ready organisation

In his seminal 1937 essay, “The nature of the firm,” the economist and eventual Nobel laureate Ronald Coase argued that corporations exist to avoid the transaction costs of the free market. Yet with transaction costs plummeting (spurred by rising connectivity)...

Future-ready part 1: What does a future-ready business look like in the new normal?

The pressure to change had been building for years. Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, senior executives routinely worried that their organisations were too slow, too siloed, too bogged down in complicated matrix structures, too bureaucratic. What many leaders feared,...

Organisation Design: Restructuring or Reshuffling to enable Strategy

Customer expectations are not just changing; they are exceeding the ability of a business to deliver on time. They are looking for alternatives, with more emphasis on experience and convenience. To keep up, companies are evolving their offering to meet the...

How to fill the gap between Strategy and Execution

Organisations are great at setting their strategy and identifying their goals, but they fall short when it comes to their operating model review and redesign, the key component that enables the strategy and drives the achievement of goals. Operating models consist of...

Culture PART 2: The role of leaders in a culture shift

In the previous article in this series we examined the effect of COVID-19 on an organisation’s culture. Now, we turn the focus onto the role of leadership and technology in leveraging culture. When an organisation decides to change its culture – be it planned or...

Culture PART 1: Did COVID-19 signal the end for hierarchical organisations?

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, human capital is defined as: “the knowledge, skills, competencies and other attributes embodied in individuals or groups of individuals acquired during their life and used to produce goods,...

Meet MAC’s Executives: Karina Jardim, Senior Executive

“Exceptionally talented consultant” “An absolute pleasure to work with” “Driven by a desire to see people grow” If you know Karina Jardim, you know that these phrases used to describe Karina ring undoubtedly true. She is a name that is valued to every MACer, whether...

Thriving in the Age of Digital Adoption: Embracing the Workforce Ecosystem (part 2)

In the first part of this series, we looked at how the fears of technological innovation are resulting in an unproductive resistance toward modernisation, even as it gains extraordinary pace in 2021. We also delved into the importance of a growth mindset in allowing...

Thriving in the Age of Digital Adoption: Overcoming the Fear of AI (part 1)

“What if artificial intelligence takes over my job? What if I become redundant?” Every one of us has experienced technology encroaching on our lives, more and more so with each year that passes. It appears that technological innovation is a certainty that is only...



Mac Consulting

The African Three-Legged Pot Analogy for Successful Agility Outcomes

When organisations decide to focus on ‘Being Agile’ or ‘Agility’, they hire agile coaches to guide their teams on this journey. Many decision-makers think that just the presence of the agile coach will guarantee agility outcomes from their delivery teams. This is a fallacy and many organisations risk their ‘Being Agile’ journey due to this assumption, which, if not dealt at the onset, can result in a lot of waste and frustration. An Agile coach’s key focus area is to help teams involved in the delivery to understand what ‘Being Agile’ is (mindset, behaviors, principles, practices, metrics, tools, and so on) and to help them tap its maximum potential in the context of their delivery or work to be done. Using the analogy of the African three-legged pot for delivery teams responsible to deliver successful agility outcomes, the three legs of the pot provide the necessary foundation. The Coach’s Commitment is one leg contributing to the foundation. Let us explore the other two legs in view of commitment from the other crucial roles. The Product Owner Commitment The type and priority of the ‘work to be done’ for desired success contributing to organisation vision is the responsibility of the Product Owner role. This role is expected to be a domain expert and must have an effective understanding of the right customers and the right value to be delivered within the desired timelines for maximum success. Sub-optimal contribution from this role may lead to an incorrect understanding of the ‘work to be done’ and, despite the team’s focus on ‘Being agile’, it will not result in the desired agility outcomes. The Leadership Commitment ‘Being Agile’ requires a shift in mindset, behaviours and a different way of understanding and doing work that contributes effectively to the organisational vision. People leadership plays a key role in ensuring the upskilling for agile ways of working is tied to development goals of each individual, which contributes to team development for ‘Being Agile’ and is aligned to enhanced work delivery outcomes. If not done, it will pose the risk of people doing work with an existing mindset, behaviours and ways of working despite the coach’s effort to upskilling the team on ‘Being Agile’. There are many different reasons for this – if not tied to development goals, the sense of urgency and it seriousness is diluted and people feel that it is optional or can be adopted when and if they feel like it, especially if their intrinsic agility is not high. This situation is worsened in delivery pressures where all the upskilling focus for agile ways of working seems to be an overhead rather than an enabler to handle delivery challenges more effectively to achieve enhanced outcomes despite constraints. Rather, people fall into existing ways of work delivery with undesired consequences of overtime, sub-optimal quality of delivery, delivery debt, people frustration, lost opportunities for success despite high effort, and so on. All work to be done, whether in agile or traditional ways requires a guiding purpose to ensure the right contribution to organisational vision. In absence of this vision, an effective team is anchorless and, despite the ‘Being Agile’ skills, they may be limited in producing desired outcomes. Leadership plays a key role in ensuring the right vision for the team. Therefore, for enabling teams to achieve successful ‘Being Agile’ or ‘Agility’ outcomes, it requires a partnership between Leadership, Product Owners and Agile Coaches to provide the right foundation to the delivery teams. Every role’s commitment is equal and crucial. Sub-optimal contribution from any role results in a sub-optimal foundation for the team – a broken three-legged pot that is unable to deliver the desired outcomes. Connect with the MAC-agile team to ensure the right partnership and synergy between the three key roles for successful agility outcomes.

When organisations decide to focus on ‘Being Agile’ or ‘Agility’, they hire agile coaches to guide their teams on this journey. Many decision-makers think that just the presence of the agile coach will guarantee agility outcomes from their delivery teams. This is a fallacy and many organisations risk their ‘Being Agile’ journey due to this assumption, which, if not dealt at the onset, can result in a lot of waste and frustration.

An Agile coach’s key focus area is to help teams involved in the delivery to understand what ‘Being Agile’ is (mindset, behaviors, principles, practices, metrics, tools, and so on) and to help them tap its maximum potential in the context of their delivery or work to be done.

Using the analogy of the African three-legged pot for delivery teams responsible to deliver successful agility outcomes, the three legs of the pot provide the necessary foundation. The Coach’s Commitment is one leg contributing to the foundation. Let us explore the other two legs in view of commitment from the other crucial roles.

  • The Product Owner Commitment

The type and priority of the ‘work to be done’ for desired success contributing to organisation vision is the responsibility of the Product Owner role. This role is expected to be a domain expert and must have an effective understanding of the right customers and the right value to be delivered within the desired timelines for maximum success. Sub-optimal contribution from this role may lead to an incorrect understanding of the ‘work to be done’ and, despite the team’s focus on ‘Being agile’, it will not result in the desired agility outcomes.

  • The Leadership Commitment

‘Being Agile’ requires a shift in mindset, behaviours and a different way of understanding and doing work that contributes effectively to the organisational vision. People leadership plays a key role in ensuring the upskilling for agile ways of working is tied to development goals of each individual, which contributes to team development for ‘Being Agile’ and is aligned to enhanced work delivery outcomes. If not done, it will pose the risk of people doing work with an existing mindset, behaviours and ways of working despite the coach’s effort to upskilling the team on ‘Being Agile’. There are many different reasons for this – if not tied to development goals, the sense of urgency and it seriousness is diluted and people feel that it is optional or can be adopted when and if they feel like it, especially if their intrinsic agility is not high. This situation is worsened in delivery pressures where all the upskilling focus for agile ways of working seems to be an overhead rather than an enabler to handle delivery challenges more effectively to achieve enhanced outcomes despite constraints. Rather, people fall into existing ways of work delivery with undesired consequences of overtime, sub-optimal quality of delivery, delivery debt, people frustration, lost opportunities for success despite high effort, and so on.

All work to be done, whether in agile or traditional ways requires a guiding purpose to ensure the right contribution to organisational vision. In absence of this vision, an effective team is anchorless and, despite the ‘Being Agile’ skills, they may be limited in producing desired outcomes. Leadership plays a key role in ensuring the right vision for the team.

Therefore, for enabling teams to achieve successful ‘Being Agile’ or ‘Agility’ outcomes, it requires a partnership between LeadershipProduct Owners and Agile Coaches to provide the right foundation to the delivery teams. Every role’s commitment is equal and crucial. Sub-optimal contribution from any role results in a sub-optimal foundation for the team – a broken three-legged pot that is unable to deliver the desired outcomes.

Connect with the MAC-agile team to ensure the right partnership and synergy between the three key roles for successful agility outcomes.

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