Agile – an engine for social impact?


Manager: Excellent. Let me sum up the discussion: customer focus, continuous learning, professionalism – these are our values.

Employee: Fun. We want to have fun at work.

Manager: I don’t agree that this will be a value… we come to work to work, not hang out and have fun. 

Employee: But it will improve our work

Manager: I‘m against it. It’s a bonus. It’s not a value.

A real conversation from one of our workshops around defining organizational values. 

We were thrilled when we were chosen as one of the top 46 management consulting firms and start-ups in Israel.

We tried to understand what were the selection parameters and understand what do customers think – what makes a company a good company?

There were 4 parameters:

    • Innovation

    • Growth

    • Management

    • Social impact

The Lean-Agile approach and transformation from ‘doing agile’ to ‘being agile’ supports parameters such as innovation (encourage creative thinking, trial and error, understanding that failure creates an opportunity to learn, empowering teams…), growth (identifying opportunities and providing a quick response, flexibility to change…), and management – Agile leadership (but this is a topic for a separate post, so stay tuned).

But in this post, we would like to focus on the social impact parameter, and I go back to the beginning of the post and the dialogue between the employee and the manager.

Really? Is there no fun place to work?  Shouldn’t it be value in every workplace?

Much has been said about the ‘golden cage’ trap in high-tech and about the increased burnout and fatigue. We change this with Agile:

    • We’ve replaced the word ‘sprint’ with ‘iteration’. Why? Because we don’t want to end the two weeks iteration with our tongues hanging out, we want to work at a pace that can be sustainable.

    • We put the commitment to the team or group at the center and by doing so, the role of the manager changes: the manger is no longer responsible for dispatching tasks to his/her employees. The commitment to the team is a much healthier motivation, it is long-term and rewarding – and it’s fun.

But the key point is the retrospective meeting:

    • I see employees’ eyes light up when I tell them about the retrospective meeting: how can we make tomorrow better than today? There is hope, hope that the workplace will be more humane, hope that we’ll work without being afraid of our managers, hope that it will be fun. That we’ll be glad to come to work.

And when I’m asked why I love being an Agile coach so much, my answer is: that the Agile approach brings with it hope and partnership in joy and success. In this way, an Agile coach, beyond all the other topics he deals with, makes a social impact.

The link to the article on the 46 leading consulting firms and start-ups in the field of management in Israel: 

46 Top Israeli Management Consulting Companies and Startups