Engagement Is Everything

Most all the KPI (“key performance indicator”) improvement from Agile methods come from engaged people.

Yes, you can get 15 to 20 percent improvement from just doing a few things better, and actually paying attention. This is the normal pattern in typical “push style” Agile adoptions.

But– to get beyond that, to and real 2X, 3X and real improvement– that comes from engaged people. Same people, far better results. What has changed?

What has changed is the people who analyze, design and then build software are actually more engaged than previously. Paying more attention. Engaging with each other and in the work itself in a more focused way.

To engage people, ask them to make a decision. Deciding is engaging. Making a decision requires thinking, and engagement in the thinking and deciding. It requires some attention.

Just sitting there waiting to be told what to do, and then doing it, does not.

A primary way to encourage people to engage is to ask them to go somewhere, or do something. To invite them.

A legitimate invitation is one that is OK to say “no” to. A real invitation prompts a decision, a “yes” or a “no” to what is being proposed. In this way, invitations prompt decision-making and at least a little engagement in thinking about how to respond. For those who say “yes,” the engagement continues.

Everyone who said “yes” is agreeing to something. This tends to encourage feelings of control,  membership and belonging.

Everyone who said “yes” is in charge of that decision. This tends to encourage feelings of control.

Everyone who said “yes” is now a member of the group of all the people who also said “yes.” Everyone who said “yes” is in fact agreeing to something. It is useful to pause here, and reflect on this important fact.



The whole group has membership in the “yes”– in agreeing to say “yes”– to the invitation.

Everyone who said “yes” has membership with all the others who also said “yes.”

This tends to encourage feelings of belonging and membership.

A sense of belonging usually feels pretty good. Same thing with a sense of belonging. It feels good.

Inviting people delivers these feelings of control and belonging, and tends to generate real engagement.

So if you want real improvement in every KPI you are measuring, start engaging people because that is where the improvement comes from.

As a coach, learn more about the dynamics of invitation and start doing more inviting if you want more engagement.

Because that’s where all the improvement comes from.


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