Regarding: The coach vacating the organization for at least 30 days following the 2nd Open Space in Open Agile Adoption.
The 2nd Open Space event in Open Agile Adoption (OAA) is a closure event. It serves to delineate the boundary between the previous chapter of organizational learning and the next one. It is the terminating point in the organizational passage rite that Open Agile Adoption is implementing. For the passage rite process to work, the organization must have a sense of “leveling up” or graduating.
Using a different venue and different Facilitator for the 2nd Open Space event is recommended. Making these changes avoids the feeling of a “re-run” and supports a sense of progress. The requirement that “the coach’s role must change” also supporting “leveling up” and a strong sense-of-progress and moving to the “next grade” or level. It supports feelings of graduation.
If the coach role does not change, there is a diminished sense of progress. The coaches role must change. The goal of OAA is to bring the organization to a state of self-sustaining, “freestanding” agility as soon as possible. For this to happen, diminishing the coach’s role and perceived authority with the teams is absolutely essential.
It’s important to note that, by vacating the organization for a time, the Agile coach is also vacating the role of Master of Ceremonies (MC) in the months-long passage rite that OAA is implementing. For that OAA passage rite to stick, it is essential that the MC role is temporary, and that it ends upon the end of the ritual itself. Passage rites by definition have an MC, and also by definition, passage rites have a beginning, a middle and an end. The MC role (in the canonical form of a passage rite) is temporary by design.
By vacating, the authority projected upon the Agile coach by the organization (as coach and as MC of the OAA passage rite) runs out of gas. The 2nd Open Space was yesterday. The coach has vacated.
The game is over. It’s JUST US. Now what?
On Vacating the Organization
I’ve done some experiments taking this concept one (radical) step further. Before the 2nd Open Space I now foreshadow that I am not available AT ALL after that event- no phone calls, no email– for 30 days. The idea is to get the org to realize that it is all alone– and always has been. And that it now has all the know-how (and everything else it needs) to continually improve…. without an “external authority” telling it what it “should” do.
I am pleased to report that this technique works very well. Amazing actually! The org realizes that it has learned a lot and initiates experiments to improve… all by itself. What they do takes on many forms. The org might make changes to existing meetings, and replaces long and poorly structured meetings with shorter, focused meetings. In one client a key manager who was an obstacle to org improvement felt the shift in the culture and quit. In general, the general tolerance for wasteful practices across the entire org decreases dramatically as the people who do the work come to enjoy taking action, being in control of it and improving their results.
So: IN OAA, the last act of the coach is to VACATE COMPLETELY for 30 days. Doing so punctuates THE END of something old, and THE BEGINNING of something new. Thereafter, the coach may reenter, in a new role, for example coaching just Scrum Masters, or just executive leadership. Vacating the org is an extremely powerful way to make the passage rite very REAL for the organization. As such, vacating for 30 days after the passage rite it is now incorporated into OAA and is a core and essential aspect of the Open Agile Adoption method.
Open Agile Adoption Components