Discover more from Jurriaan Kamer's Newsletter
🚨 New article: Don't Get Stuck in Agile Bureaucracy
Six ways to revitalize your agile transformation.
It’s a tale as old as time. A leader’s ready to future-proof their organization — to eliminate layers of management and slow bureaucratic processes in order to increase speed and agility. Several of their competitors have started an “agile transformation,” and they’re even reading about said transformations in Harvard Business Review. Clearly, an agile transformation is the modernization they need, so they pick a proven framework promising better business results.
But over time, they realize the transformation isn’t achieving its full potential. Employees are still stuck in unnecessary meetings; engagement is still stalling out; any innovation that’s happening feels limited; and the organization is still struggling to meet the market quickly enough. “What’s happening?” they wonder.
At The Ready, we’ve seen leaders and organizations get “stuck” in a form of agile that starts to look like the bureaucracy they initially wanted to bust; instead, they become an agile bureaucracy. Let’s pick the term apart.
A bureaucracy is designed to maintain uniformity and control within an organization. It does that through the specialization of functions, adherence to fixed rules, and a hierarchy of authority. In an agile bureaucracy, leaders continue to operate with a command-and-control mindset and give teams little to no freedom to adapt their ways of working, demanding they conform to (agile) processes and standards.
If you feel like your organization has fallen into this pattern and needs a reset, explore these six ways to help revitalize your agile transformation.
Examine beliefs about people in the workplace
Reground the transformation’s strategic purpose and principles
Review your current framework and practices
Enable people to adapt how they work to their context
Shed outdated processes
Use experimentation to continuously evolve the organization
Thanks for reading Jurriaan Kamer's Newsletter! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Here are a few more resources related to the subject:
We’re stuck in agile bureaucracy — but there is hope! (36 min keynote)
Agile in the Boardroom and Beyond (25 min video)
Beyond Agile: Why Agile Hasn’t Fixed Your Problems (7 min read)
I hope you enjoyed this newsletter. If so, maybe you’ll also enjoy my book. I’d love to connect and hear from you!