More often than not I get the feeling of transforming into a politician. All agile undertakings I dealt with so far, start with convincing, continue with convincing, and conclude with convincing. It is all about selling your truth, only you are a bit shifted toward the future. You kind of see what others don't and then want to preach about it and ask for buy-in; you seek voters per se! The stronger the voter pool the higher the chances are you will succeed in your pursuit.


The inception phase of every major agile transformation is much like a presidential race; you step on the podium, the audience eagerly awaits to hear something new but meaningful and realistic from you, and then you either make it or break it. It is as simple as that. You either sell what you know or wish to be true (even if it implies sacrifices on your audience's behalf) or fail and retreat.


Now the audience consists of two major casts; the believers which are there in their truthfulness hoping that you will manage the change they crave for, and the sabotagers, ney sayers that even when their mind knows you're right, they're far too attached to their norms to make room for your brainchild. And typically those people sit high on the corporate ladder so you're running against odds with them.


Now I want to talk about suits; beautiful (expensive) factory suits that the politician can equip his wardrobe with and wear depending on the gig. The blue one for large hearings, the grey one for senior audiences, the black one for national broadcasting, and so on. There's a certain ease in having predetermined solutions (suits) tied to every appearance and one needs to look and dig no further. And this color code slowly becomes your routine, and less and less you're able to see if the suit works for you anymore. Does it shine on you still or does it look weary and inappropriate in cases? But you never question your code, its blue for large hearings, grey for senior audiences, black for national broadcasting, and so on.


The ney sayers demand that you study them, get to know what fixes them and what frustrates them. How far you can push; where you stop and draw a line. The ney sayers demand that you wear a custom made suit for them. They will object (right or wrong is irrelevant) to any off-the-shelf solution (suit). And that's where politics begins. Sell your story but only if it has been tailored to the needs of your audience. Escape the one size fits all (or kind of) approach and be bold enough to admit that you either have what it takes to create custom made solutions or abort the game.


Transforming needs all 6 senses. At all times. At all costs. Right-of-the-shelf solutions are responsible for 75% of all failures I have witnessed so far. Foundation principles will work across, but how one builds up from there is so greatly different that it cannot be easily put to words, and certainly not slides to share across!


I am an agile project politician, and with less, I need to create more and sell it to you dearly. See you at the ballot!


Author: Lampros Lamprou.