Sunday, 28 April 2013

Big Bang, Inflation theory and Leading an Agile Transformation

Astronomy is one of those areas that always amazes me. I admit shamelessly that when my husband is watching a show at Discovery channel about Universe and theories related to cosmos, I never complain about changing the channel to watch something else.

One of the interesting theories is the Inflation theory. In a nutshell, Inflation theory tries to explain the rapid expansion of the Universe right after the Big Bang and how all of that slowed down to a more gradual expansion and start cooling down. The amazing part is that Inflation covers only the first seconds after Big Bang, because, as per the theory, the Universe doubled itself 100 times in 1032 of a second. To put it in perspective, it's like having a piece 1020 times smaller than a proton, and inflate it to a sphere about 10 cm across in about 15 x 1033 seconds. Because everything happens so fast, matter "freezes" and has no time to change, it just moves along.  Amazing right?!!
That's where my simple brain stops understanding, so don't ask me more.
All this reminded me a Big Bang Agile Transformation on a relatively big organization. As my friend Anirban would say, "the point is made, no need to go on with the story anymore". But I want to write a bit more.
The first couple of months after the Big Boss comes up with the "need for Transformation", a lot of things happen very fast.  Some people are let go. People kept behind go through a lot of trainings, meetings, contractors that don't know the current system come and start telling how to do things instead of the "old way". All this is so fast that "the matter" like projects, deliverables, people's mindset, technology, "old tools" and management style, have no time to catch up, so they just move along, without changing shape too much (maybe just a little bit). And then, the cooling down starts. Transformation continues but is not so strong and fast. Is more gradual and cool. This is the time when "old world" starts facing the "new world". This is where the changes happen, where mindset starts shifting, where teams start to create, where Gravity kicks in. The phase after this, is very important.
 To go back to Universe, there are different theories where we will go from here. Look at 3 of them:

Any of these could happen on a Transformation process, and maybe more. At the end, we are on a Complex system where we can only progress with hypothesis.
I think that the Leaders of the organization are Accountable and Responsible for the next step. By now, their mindset, leadership style and organization Vision, must have followed all the steps as well. By now, they should be well aware of the Gravity they have created and  what choices will keep the Transformation "Continue Forever" versus other options. This is where their maturity is put to test. This is where they will prove if they are strong leaders or just followers. Tough choices are required to make sure that the Transformation doesn't get timeboxed and put a deadline. Being soft, forgetting about the organization's Vision will only make all the effort a Fairytale, rather than a Successful story.

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