Lift13, The Agile Enterprise: Daniel Freitag

Here are my live notes of the Lift Conference session “The Agile Enterprise: Rethinking what it means to manage”. Keep an eye open for mistakes, inaccuracies, and other flakiness due to live-blogging.
Daniel Freitag

Won’t talk about trucks and transit graphics today, and all the bag-making stuff.

Agility: not the agility of the early days, you’re always agile in a pioneering phase — natural agility. At some point you need to be more professional, have specialized people, build departments, and end up with an org chart and all the problems it entails.

What we need after that is pods, integration.

Scrum. We’re familiar with scrum, but not much outside IT… Daniel was really excited about Scrum, watched lots of videos on YouTube, got post-its, but he was the only one doing it… spent a lot of time running around the company extolling the virtues of the backlog. It probably helped getting the company into an agile mentality but…

Product owner doesn’t work for them. Products are bags. Review? Death valley.

After his first experience with scrum, another challenge: beautiful factory in ZH, but had to move out. Oerlikon. New building built for them and other companies from the creative industry.

A chance to rethink the way they wanted to work, store things, sit, what tools, waste, collaboration…

You need room in time and room in space, to be creative. Holes in every company wall where you can hang “green boards”, very useful. Architecture has to be seen as embodiment of an agile organization.

Conservative company from a certain point of view: same product and processes for 20 years. Not just about innovative projects, but a lot about the operative process.

Different organization for projects and daily business. Also “beyond budgeting”. Eliminated their budget in January. No financial budget. Counter-productive for agility. In Feb your financial plan is already bust. Not worth it. Agility therefore supported top-down. No “be adaptive, agile, but hey, stick to the plans and the budget, right”.

Shared values. How do you keep your values when you grow? Notebooks: What the F, how and why. Inspirational little booklet, not a heavy manifest.

Don’t plan. Speculate instead. Speculation has failure built in, whereas planning is in denial. Don’t tell me, show me. Drawing pictures. Draw on post-its. Daniel believes it might very well be possible to lead the company with a pen and post-its :-)

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