What is the hardest Agile value to live and breathe in an organization?

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Embracing Openness and Transparency in Large Organizations

Introduction

In the world of Agile, certain values can be particularly challenging to fully embrace, especially within large organizations. While many might assume that the size of the organization is a significant factor, it often turns out to be a red herring. The real challenge lies in living and breathing the values of openness and transparency.

The Hardest Agile Value: Openness

Openness is the bedrock of Agile. It’s about being straightforward and honest, fostering an environment where everyone feels safe to share their thoughts and concerns. However, achieving true openness can be incredibly difficult, particularly in large, multilayered organizations.

Why Openness is Challenging

  1. Cultural Differences: In large multinational companies, cultural and language barriers can impede open communication. For instance, when people are translating multiple languages on the fly during a meeting, the nuances of open, candid conversation can easily get lost.
  2. Organizational Complexity: Large organizations often have complex structures with many layers of management. This can create a sense of distance and disconnection, making it harder for employees to feel comfortable being open.
  3. Fear of Repercussions: Employees may fear negative consequences for speaking their minds, especially in hierarchical structures where openness might be mistakenly perceived as insubordination.

Building Openness: Personal Experiences

In my experience working with global teams, I’ve seen the profound impact that openness can have. For example, in one organization, we introduced regular “open forums” where employees could voice their concerns and suggestions without fear of judgment. Initially, participation was low, but as trust built over time, these forums became a cornerstone of our culture, driving significant improvements in both morale and productivity.

The Aspect of Transparency

While openness is about sharing and listening, transparency is about clarity and visibility. It’s ensuring that everyone has access to the information they need to do their jobs effectively.

Challenges to Transparency

  1. Information Silos: Large organizations often struggle with information being siloed within departments. This can lead to duplication of effort and a lack of alignment across the organization.
  2. Overload of Information: On the flip side, too much information can be as problematic as too little. Employees need the right information at the right time, not an overwhelming deluge that obscures the important details.
  3. Technological Barriers: Ensuring that everyone has access to the same information requires robust and often expensive technology solutions, which can be a barrier for some organizations.

Fostering Transparency: Practical Advice

Based on my experience, here are some practical steps to foster transparency:

  • Regular Updates: Implement regular updates and briefings from leadership to keep everyone informed about key decisions and changes.
  • Accessible Documentation: Ensure that all important documents and data are easily accessible to everyone who needs them. Tools like shared drives and collaboration platforms can be very effective here.
  • Clear Communication Channels: Establish clear communication channels where employees can ask questions and get timely responses.

The Power of Radical Candor

Radical Candor is a concept that blends openness and transparency into actionable feedback. It’s about being direct and honest while still showing that you care personally. This can be incredibly powerful in fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

Implementing Radical Candor

  1. Create Safe Spaces: Encourage an environment where people feel safe to speak their minds without fear of negative repercussions. This can be achieved through team-building activities and open-door policies.
  2. Model the Behavior: Leaders should model radical candor by giving and receiving feedback openly. This sets the tone for the rest of the organization.
  3. Training and Development: Provide training to help employees develop the skills needed to give and receive feedback constructively.

The Role of Trust

At the heart of both openness and transparency is trust. Without trust, employees are unlikely to feel comfortable being open or transparent. Building trust requires consistent, reliable behavior from leaders and a commitment to treating all employees with respect and fairness.

Building Trust: Strategies

  • Consistency: Be consistent in your actions and decisions. This helps to build predictability and reliability.
  • Fairness: Ensure that all employees are treated fairly and that their voices are heard.
  • Empathy: Show empathy and understanding towards employees’ concerns and challenges.

Conclusion

Embracing the Agile values of openness and transparency is critical for the success of any large organization. While the challenges are significant, they are not insurmountable. By fostering a culture of radical candor, trust, and continuous learning, organizations can unlock their full potential and achieve greater success.

Key Takeaways

  • Openness and transparency are essential for Agile success but can be challenging in large organizations.
  • Cultural differences, organizational complexity, and fear of repercussions can impede openness.
  • Information silos, information overload, and technological barriers can hinder transparency.
  • Radical candor blends openness and transparency into actionable feedback.
  • Building trust is at the heart of fostering openness and transparency.

Remember, creating a culture of openness and transparency is a journey, not a destination. It requires ongoing effort, commitment, and the willingness to adapt and improve continuously. 🚀

Connect with Advanced Product Delivery.

APD offer private, tailored training courses as well as business agility and coaching. Our public training courses are delivered by practicing Agilists: Product Owners, Scrum Masters and coaches who are expert trainers and facilitators.

Whether you are looking to become a #scrummaster or #agilecoach, we have a range of internationally certified and recognised #agiletraining courses that are perfect for you. Visit Professional Scrum Training courses for more information.

If you are looking for professional, deeply experienced and skilled #agilecoaches and #agileconsultants to help you transition from traditional #projectmanagement to #agile #productdevelopment, we’ve got the ideal team to help you make that transition a success. Visit our Agile Coaching section to find out more about us.

If you have identified Lean Agile Procurement as a great opportunity to enhance #agility within your organization, visit the Lean Agile Procurement Training course or Lean Agile Procurement coaching page.

#agile #scrum #agilecoach #agileconsultant #agiletraining #agilescrumtraining #scrumtraining #scrumcertification #scrummaster #productowner #leanagileprocurement #apd #businessagility #organizationalagility #productdevelopment #projectmanagement #agileprojectmanagement #agileproductdevelopment

You may also like...

Agile Coach

Facilitation and Conflict Ground Rules

This blog discusses setting explicit guidelines for effective conflict resolution in meetings. It emphasizes asking for the group’s permission to facilitate, establishing a clear event working agreement, and maintaining neutrality. The post highlights the importance of managing time, balancing voices, and using techniques like ELMO to keep discussions focused.

Read More »
ImageNameSummaryPriceBuy

Latest Blog Posts

Image of a webinar
Leadership

Questions from Scrum.Org webinar

This blog addresses the questions that could not be answered in the webcast on Procurement in Agile Transformations. There are many challenges that parallel the agile transformations.

Read More »