Workshop: Designing the Agile Organization

Workshop Objective: Successful agile projects make the organizational stresses transparent. A functional or matrixed organization may not be congruent with your need to use agile approaches to your projects.

Managers exist to ready the organization to deliver product. Once you’ve moved to agile, you don’t need to worry about tasks–the teams self organize to manage their task work. Now you have the difficult work: deciding on strategy, managing the project portfolio, initiating the hiring work, and creating an environment in which people can do their best work.

Organizational design is a way for managers to expose and use the variety of organizational pushes, pulls, stresses, and levers in a way that helps the organization work. This workshop facilitates your thinking about what your organization needs to look like, to deliver product.

Workshop Overview: This is an experiential, hands-on workshop. We will discuss your goals and experiment with different organization designs for different kinds of stresses. We will develop your strategy and mission if you don’t already have one. Then, we’ll look at the organizational goals and discuss your options for organization. Then, we’ll try some organizational structures and see what happens with the people, the product, and the strategy with each structure. You’ll have some data about how to design your agile organization.

Target Audience: Senior managers, middle managers, functional managers. Preferably leadership teams for an organization, division, or group of managers.

Prerequisites: None.

Workshop Duration: 2-3 days depending on how much mission and strategy work you’ve already done.

Workshop Outline:

  1. Introduction
    1. Goals of organizational design
    2. The role managers fill
    3. Activity (well-designed vs. not well-designed organizations)
  2. What’s your strategy?
    1. If you don’t have one, a first cut at a strategic plan. Otherwise explain the strategic plan.
    2. Activity
  3. Define your mission
    1. Starting at the top, define the mission for each level
    2. Activities for mission definition.
  4. Review the project portfolio in light of the strategy and mission
    1. Organizational goals
    2. Personal goals
    3. Activities
  5. How managers leverage the work of others
    1. What do managers do in an agile organization: Hiring, Compensation practices, Performance reviews, Feedback, Coaching, Career development
    2. Discussion and several activities
  6. Does integrating teams mean integrating managers?
    1. Implications of Product-oriented managers vs. People-oriented managers
    2. Discussion and several activities
  7. Summary and Wrap-up

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