Evolving Identities

In the previous post I was mentioning that a company culture is anyway emergent and what emerges cannot really be predicted, but can be influenced in many different ways.

Here’s one way to do that, which I found very useful when working with agile teams.

A big part of the agility is based on values and principles, be it the XP ones or the Agile Manifesto ones, or the lean ones. But how are values and principles playing together? How do they exactly help us?

Values, principles and beliefs are actually interworking together to define the identities of individuals, teams and organisations. As a change agent in an organisation, one of my objectives is to support a common identity in the teams (even better in the whole company) as this will create alignment, agreement and, in the end, teamwork.

evolving identities

So here are the driving questions your team should answer in this type of work:

  1. What are the values and principles you want to promote in your team? There are a lot to choose from in all the agile practices!
  2. What are the values and principles that give you most of the value in improving the team?
  3. How do you set up a feedback mechanism to enable your self-organising teams to improve themselves based on those values? Hint: solution focused scales and retrospectives!
  4. How do you set up a feedback mechanism to enable your self-organising teams to reflect on what values and principles they need to work next? Hint: retrospectives again!
  5. What are the values that are instead damaging the team and should be dampened?

By raising awareness on values and principles, we are effectively stimulating an evolution of the emergent identity in a direction that will eventually support an effective agile implementation.

P.S. Be aware values work is not for the faint-hearted and it’s not easy: consider that conflicts can be re-conducted to a values disagreement!