Agile approaches are enjoying a very bright place in the sun. And that is to some extent deserved; they represent a very different way of working, especially when we are dealing with ill-defined problems and a need for experimentation and search. At the same time, we often define agile as needing to be different than what came before. The implication being that predecessor capabilities are inadequate, inappropriate and best relegated to the dustbin of history. The reality is very different.
We fall in love with our models, our processes and our standards. They’re helpful when they help us to make sense of the world, but they can also get in the way. What we sometimes forget is that they were all invented to provide a perspective on a problem. That means we can change them, adapt them, evolve them and dispense with them when they stop providing value.
How we think about change is stuck in the past. Judging by the way we organize, there are those who would like to keep it that way. We need to think differently about how we organize for change. And we need to change our organizations.
We have a deeply ambivalent relationship with uncertainty. In part, we are hard-wired to like clarity, and black-and-white world-views are as tempting as they are dangerous. So when we are faced with situations where there are no clear answers or easy choices, we find ourselves squirming in acute discomfort.