I’m often called in to help when Agile transformations are stalling out “in the real world”. I’m sure you have your own stories about that! I also get calls when a tool-stack modernization can’t get off the ground or has a slumping adoption rate… again, a common issue. I’m a huge fan of Agile and a bigger fan of DevOps (not that they are comparable) and modernizing our tools, but the notion that an Agile transformation is too disruptive to add major changes to tools and tech stacks at the same time is simply not true. In fact, out here in the real world many of the problems my team helps to solve came into being because our clients did one with little forethought or concern about the other.

Living in an Ecosystem

Every organization is an ecosystem, and it can only be optimized globally. Imagine a rainforest, and how the introduction of a new species in one corner can lead to unpredictable failures that cascade throughout the system. Now think of all the tool types that allow your company to create value efficiently- that make up your organization’s “production ecosystem”: communications, documentation, storage, distribution, and production itself. Now let’s pick an easy one, documentation:

Do we have multiple ways of creating and storing documents?

Do people need to be re-trained on a new documentation tool when the change departments?

Do we have to duplicate documents from one tool to another across work areas, resulting in multiple vendors?

If you answered “yes”, your organization may have a traditional reward structure which can accidentally incentivize managers to keep their solutions to themselves and fail to reward cooperation and facilitating others’ success. Ask yourself similar questions about differing expectations, tools, and procedures around communication, production, and the other aspects of your business. Finding ways to reward coordination across departments and finding global solutions frees managers to reduce redundancies in the organization as a whole.