Agile to Agility Highlights with Jesse Fewell and Miljan Bajic

Agile to Agility Highlights: Transformation With Jesse Fewell and Miljan Bajic

How coaches and leaders can optimize the Agile transformation process

By GWW Staff

In his book, Untapped Agility: Seven Leadership Moves to Take your Transformation to the Next Level, Jesse Fewell (that’s pronounced fuel) assures leaders that when an Agile transformation feels like a failure, don’t worry, that’s normal. “If you are not running into issues,” he says in a podcast about the book from PMO Strategies, “you are probably not having any impact.”

An author, coach, and trainer who helps senior leaders transform their organizations, Fewell outlines three key steps to expect in any Agile transformation journey. First comes “the boost,” which is the result of the initial gains from logical first steps. Next comes “the barrier,” or the unavoidable roadblock that makes the transformation feel like a failure. At this point, leaders should not despair, but look for “the rebound,” which is the way forward by leaning into the concept of the original boost.

In our latest edition of Agile to Agility Highlights, Miljan Bajic and Fewell talk about how coaches and leaders can optimize the Agile transformation process.

What is the goal of your book Untapped Agility?

Leadership is about directing attention. We are in the 20th anniversary of the Agile movement, and one of the patterns that shows up over and over is Agile sectarianism. We throw judgement bombs at each other over whether transformation should be about the mindset or the methods.

The point in the book is that if you want to have a successful transformation, you have to address the contextual methods and practices, and you need to operationalize your mindset.

How do you get people on the same page about mindset?

Coaching is leadership. Effective leadership involves coaching, but the nuance is where do you begin, where is your starting point? Leadership is being authentic to who you are, and sensitive to the people around you.

As the leader, I assert the singular core value that I believe in and emphasize, but then I include the unique elements that other people are bringing in. As a coach I can defer to the dominant culture, but insert new information into the culture.

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