Be a Little Bolder Today

Photo by DAT Space

Photo by DAT Space

What would you do if you could not fail?

Your answer may reveal something about your purpose, your strengths, and your wildest hopes. Yet too often we let fear drive our actions. After all, the status quo is hard to change. Most organizational change efforts fail--articles and presentations remind us of this continually. The odds are against us.

And yet we persist.

Dreamers, futurists, believers, builders--people who see an alternative to the current reality--continue to shift the world by connecting to their purpose, using their strengths, and sharing their wildest hopes. What would you like to do today?

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.

The Path to Transformation

Photo by Daisy Gutierrez

Photo by Daisy Gutierrez

People sometimes act as if there is a prescribed way to "install the agile" within their organization, but the truth is, adopting agile across the organization is a culture change. 

We can talk about being prescriptive so people have a framework to operate within and rules to abide by, but while they learn the "muscle memory" of going through these new agile motions, how do we insure they're getting the benefits?  I've observed teams that aren't continually improving; they're unwilling to experiment with the way they work when their current practices are working.  There's no drive to do more, do better, and innovate.

The path to agility--to transformation--is dependent on people.  We must never forget that because we must talk to people, often one-on-one, to coach them through transformation.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.

Ideally, By the Book, and Why They Matter

Photo by Keith Williamson

Photo by Keith Williamson

Yesterday I attended a DFW Scrum user group meeting, and Gary commented that coaches and consultants often start with, "Ideally..." and then move on to later talk about what to do given the current environment.  Why do we talk about the ideal when we're trying to encourage change?  Why don't we start with the "real world" answer?

Jim Highsmithrecently posted that there are different types of change and the need for different tools to address each:

Much of the industry discourse on change, and the innovation to respond to it, reminds me of a story told by the head of a teacher’s organization in Utah years ago. The person sitting beside her on a flight asked, “What’s the one thing we need to do to fix education?” To which she replied, “Get rid of all the people who think there is one thing that will fix education.” The parallel here is that how we approach change should be multi-dimensional and contextual. Whatever answers we come up with have to fit a particular context, within a certain period of time until that context changes. There isn’t one answer.

If there isn't one answer, why does there seem to be a single ideal answer we can give?  Isn't it just a "by the book" answer that is impossible to reach?  There's more to it.  The ideal answer is not based on ideal situations--it's often related to proven practices or characteristics that lead to success.  It's based on empirical data.  As such, we owe our audiences--be it our teams or other stakeholders--deeper explanation of those ideal answers.  Let's delve into the why behind the answer and give examples.  The proof is out there--it just needs to be shown to further encourage change to become closer to the ideal.  It's the ideal practices and characteristics that can make the path to success more visible to us.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.

The Change Agent

Photo by Amanda Udoff

Photo by Amanda Udoff

I am one of those people who is rarely satisfied by the status quo in an organization and looks for opportunities to improve.  Given my involvement in a variety of organizations, I wanted a blog that would allow me to speak to a wide variety of my experiences, which is how I arrived at the broad [yet popular] topic of being a change agent.  

So what is a change agent?  I think of it as someone who acts as a catalyst for change--one who causes or accelerates a change.  After looking for a better definition online, I found this article that I like very much:

  • A change agent lives in the future, not the present.
  • A change agent is fueled by passion, and inspires passion in others.
  • A change agent has a strong ability to self-motivate.
  • A change agent must understand people.

Honestly, I don't talk very often about the futures I envision for my organizations, but I know they hold a significant amount of untapped potential; personally, I need to work on this because it is by sharing passion with others that we can find other change agents.  There are obstacles to change in any organization, and it can feel like insanity when we continue to push for change without much movement.  But it is passion and conviction in our beliefs that help us stay motivated as we change the world.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.