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Agile in the flesh: taking context seriously

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Tom H.
Agile in the flesh: taking context seriously


Do experienced coaches adopt/adapt practices by taking context into account? Of course they do! Do a chosen set of principles produce a valuable, enduring outcome in every kind of context? Of course they don’t! Failure to sufficiently take context into account is the number one factor that limits success when adopting methods. The tendency to ignore context in our effort to simplify reality is problematic. Why then is there so little explicit guidance on the context of applicability of principles and practices except for a call for the right culture or mindset? Context is so much more than that.

In the first talk of this meetup, Patrick will talk about a powerful notation that makes context explicit. Step, by step, we will build up a context-based guidance for implementing practices and developing capabilities that goes beyond what individual methods can offer. It overcomes the divide between left-brain, methodical, thinking that does not take context into account, and right brain thinking that recognizes the importance of contextual elements such as mindset and culture, but has a hard time verbalizing those contextual elements (a mindset put into words seizes to be a mindset).

In the second part of the meetup, Arno will demonstrate examples of how qualitative feedback loops allow you to take (local) context into account when deploying a global change. By providing a multi-perspective view on impact of the change. It enables a variable and proportional change approach.

To finish, participants are invited to discuss what it takes for agility to be really “embodied” in the flesh. What does it feel for an organization to have agility in its “guts”? Is it conceivable for an organization to overcome the gap between (left-brain) abstract thinking and (right-brain) situated action?

Patrick Steyaert is founder of Okaloa. He teaches and coaches the use of powerful agile thinking models embodied in Okaloa Flowlab simulations. He is author of the “Essential upstream Kanban guide”, the guide for organizations to look at the end-to-end flow from suspected to satisfied need. He is a regular speaker at international conferences and recipient of the 2015 Brickell Key award for outstanding contribution to the Kanban community.

Arno Korpershoek is a licensed Okaloa Flowlab facilitator and creator of agile sensing. With Sensing he guides organizations making unpredictable and uncertain (complex) change processes transparent. From every fiber of the organization, insightful feedback allows the organization to build a continuous learning environment through understanding and alignment.

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