Open Agile Adoption Simplified

Here is Open Agile Adoption (OAA) in summary form: it’s not complicated….





  • Formally authorized leadership defines a 90-day period of time (minimum) for “authorized experimentation” with various Agile practices. Formally authorized leadership invites everyone in the organization to do this. The intent is to ENGAGE everyone.
  • It starts with an “all hands” (Open Space) meeting. This is a 100% opt-in meeting. The Open Space meeting format creates ENGAGEMENT. Everyone is invited. Everyone— in all affected business units and everyone– at all authorization levels, from high to low–  are invited. As a result, there is a huge mixing of people & ideas.
  • At that 1st Open Space, in the closing circle, everyone learns that there will be another meeting just like this one….in 90 days. Everyone learns that the organization is serious about inspecting results and making adjustments.
  • After the first Open Space, teams “suspend disbelief.”
  • After the first Open Space, teams “act as if.”
  • After the first Open Space, teams “pretend these practices can work.”
  • After the first Open Space, teams understand they are authorized ..and they then commit to experiments. They enter a period of “committed experimentation.”
  • The teams experiment with using any practice that aligns with the Agile Manifesto: the 4 values and 12 principles. This is the single constraint. There are no other constraints. This is a firm constraint- if an experimental practice obviously offends the spirit of the Manifesto it is out of bounds. If a practice does not align with the Manifesto, it is not a valid practice to play with during this 90-day period.
  • Other than this single constraint and the 90 days, there is no prescription of practices. Teams find practices that work– within the boundary of the Manifesto.
  • The emphasis is on learning…learning reinforced by formally authorized leaders. The emphasis is on learning what agile practices are and how to use them in a way that fits the organization’s mission, current position, and context.
  • Ideally, the formally authorized leadership team also experiments with Agile practices, like:  short daily meetings, iterations and retrospectives. This sends all the right signals. This tells a coherent leadership story.
  • After the 90 days are up, that period of experimentation ends— in Open Space. This “all hands”, 100% opt-in meeting is a look-back AND a look-ahead. One chapter ends- a new one begins.
  • The previous chapter is closed— and a new chapter of experimentation is opened. By that 2nd meeting, teams have unanimous agreement on what is working well, and how they want to work. And they start noticing what has to change.
  • A massively high volume of  self-organization occurs up and down the organization. The entire organizations begins a shift- a shift AWAY FROM mediocrity and TOWARDS excellence via continuous improvement.
  • Huge progress across the entire (invited) group is the result.

It’s really very simple. It scales. It’s not complicated.

Self-management (self-organization) at massive scale is deeply mysterious.

Creating the conditions for it to take place is not !!


Related Links:

Open Agile Adoption Home Page (link)