Fake Agility

December 2007, I am in an Aikido Dojo, somewhere in south of Paris. This is my first lesson. When I think about it I feel humility.

Remi, a tall man is a black Belt with few Dan. Anyway he is far more experienced than any of my peer, including me, in the Dojo that winter day. We all seat in a circle. He stands at the center. He is currently doing gesture demonstration. It looks so harmonious that I think this is like a dance.

As I told Remi about it, he invites me to join him and to attack frankly. I am taller than him by few centimeters so I gently punch him in his stomach. He avoid it in silence and ask me to make a far stronger attack. I ask for confirmation. That time I gain momentum.

My arm stil hurt me. I do not have time to understand. I lay on the ground, my arm tightly locked. I cry to stop.

Aikido mean « Way of Adapting the spirit ». That is a exactly what Agile is. At start Agile also looks like dancing to non practitioners. And this is also how it appears to really advance partitioners: As easy as having fun doing great things together. Nice Foosball, Fancy rooms with sofa and beer pomps everywhere. People looks happy. It is exactly like if they were on a nice party. Actually they are just at work.

But, you know the reputation of their company. They always deliver the best to their customer. Stakeholder and sponsors are happy. Indeed at the end it is very profitable. This is why they can afford To hire best people to play foosball and also produce high valued product .

This gives impression that Agile is an easy thing to do. So it is very tempting to buy some foosball, design great office, change the language to startup fashion having few people coming to nice training and waiting to have the same effect.

Here is a scoop: That will never work like this !

Let’s Go through example of company that has started to fail ( ans some fail the very hard way) before they succeed or not.

First example is just Google :

Testing in Google ( bases on Raj Mudahr post ; https://rmudhar.wordpress.com/2010/04/17/icst-paris-2010-innovation-in-test/)

« In 2008, the average developer spent 37 hours a month waiting for tools to spit out results. The focus was on making this shorter. Google globally executes 65k builds per day or 20 million per year. Object file output is 698 TB of data, cached for 7 days. Incremental linkers are used for builds. And on these builds, Google runs 7.5 million tests every day. Most builds take about 5 minutes, but somewhat longer at the tail end when different build targets are done. 66% of the builds require no user intervention at all – fully automated. Google invested heavily in infrastructure to make this possible. With the new infrastructure, Google saved 604 engineer years – the average developer got back 2.7 months of productivity, which could be invested in innovation. Productivity jumped from 50% to 191%. Developers get feedback in minutes, not hours, if something is broken. »

Let’s be honest here, for a large majority of legacy companies, 37 hours a month waiting for tools would be an excellent performance. Here, we speak about all to do to go from development to full deployment on the customer including the services that goes with it. It is not really fake? Well, in fact, all depends of your Driver for Agility ? Google was knowing very well where they come from and knew that scaling up almost always drive huge technical debt. They fixed it by investing a huge amount of money early enough and before growing too fast. Nothing to see with ROI of even profitability, Anyway Google was at that time loosing money. They just has a the belief and very few management layers that make such decision very simple.

My second example is another major WEB player.

Lets go back in 2007: If it would be would be a county, It would be the 5th largest country in the world just between Indonesia and Brazil. its name is Myspace : https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/mar/06/myspace-what-went-wrong-sean-percival-spotify?CMP=share_btn_tw

As Google, Myspace has been a startup. in Year 2006 to 2010, Myspace was on the top of Agile practice . As an Agile beginner I was a fan of Scott Downey. Scott was the main Myspace coach. I was also a very active Myspace customer. I was publishing my own music on it. They were offering facilities to share music far before Spotify or Deezer. This was an excellent user experience for me. I was clearly a promoter to my friends in those early days of social network.

Here is the thing: Myspace has ben acquired by New Corporation, a R.Murdock Company. This happen in 2006 just before another player Facebook propose Myspace to acquire them. Myspace refused.

The company had financial objective now. Each quarter exécutives need to increase revenue from advertising and this becomes a priority over Consumer expérience.

So disruptive advertising happen all the time. I was myself not so happy, but I remain on the site as Facebook was not offering the same offer on music sharing. Many other left and the number of view to my own site decrease suddenly. This become a place that ‘Sucks’.

The worse Is that many employees were perfectly understanding what happened but no one sounds to have enough power to stop the breaking machine at the top of the company .They also make some other hubris mistake like doing their own content delivery network competing with another player that did it really great. Name here are Amazon or Netflix.

In 2013, all page member has been destroyed. In 2016 they face one of the biggest data hacking. In 2019 myspace announce having lost all content prior to 2016 including all my songs and comments.

Today Myspace still exist but is a shadow of himself. I left and use streaming platform and had to use Facebook since this is where people ask me to have my music event visible. ( Hopefully the new generation sounds to be more critic regarding fecebook)

As said Scott D. Anthony in Harvard business review :

« It seems that MySpace is an example of a company that suffered from the seemingly sensible desire by News Corp to set a strategy, focus on execution, and achieve rapid growth ».

Sadly this is a very classical default of pure « Top down approach » in a supposed Agile company . This is probably the top real Agile-anti-pattern. Myspace downward spiral example has the advantage of being close to a caricature. It is also well documented. Let say this is an easy « after the fact » talk. The reality is not about the mistake they did but the fact that Myspace has significantly failed to take action based on the very first learning.

As ScottD Anthony said « it often takes a few twists and turns before a disruptor figures out the right business model. »

The funny things Myspace was disrupting the former Friendster (who turn to have lots of technology problem). Then logically failure from Myspace provides a great learning to many other: This is why no Agile could be conceived today without Hypothesis backlog and early test in the market (Search for Canary testing to get an example). I would say that the room for excuse has just narrowed. However, the best chance of survival come from the fact to be able to realise we are wrong soon enough.

In the next example, let see a very courageous organisation to admit their fakeness of agility:

Recognise Fake agility is the cornerstone of recovery.

This third example comes from the last organisation I would have granted for transparency. However, they exposed publicly their weakness. And this time, this is not just another social network or any volatile workplace but the legacy of the legacy.

Its name is America Department of Defense and we are in now march 2019.

This is not a surprise to me to know they are embracing Agile even at large scale. Agile has been successfully used by US Army since long and lead many success. ( I recommend the books « Team of Team » written by Stanley MacChrystal that gives good example of that) So It is work on the war Theatre, why not using that in the DOD office.

But having them admitting their failure is more astonishing :

Here here an extract of Steve Denning article on DOD

« In March 2019, the Defense Innovation Board concluded that DoD’s “current approach to software development is broken.” “it takes too long, is too expensive, and exposes warfighter to unacceptable risk by delaying their access to tools they need to ensure mission success. Instead, software should enable a more effective joint force, strengthen our ability to work with allies, and improve the business processes of the DoD enterprise.”

SO here what they are doing. The did a a guide called “Detecting Agile BS” 

That is quite interesting to see such awareness and call for action and its publicly announcement outside the company.

The learning is that any company able to recognise that they are wrong and take action to improve is actually an Agile company even if Agility is actually failing at first.

That means the worse is being a Fake Agile company without naming it. The good thing here is to take action. It is why you will find so many health check: I has many opportunity to go through many health-checks. All ( almost) are valuable to asses Agile practices. I personally generally come back to the Nokia Test for its simplicity. But its does not target the Entreprise Agility:

Enterprise Agility main principle: it is about Decentralised decision

Do not look for a new manifesto. Agile entreprise just follow the same Manifesto.

They just add one principle: Pull ,do not push !

As we see on Myspace example, the anti-pattern is to adopt the classical path of change management: The top level set a strategy, charge change agent to focus on change execution, and put target to fastest change and make sure the change is under control. This approach really make sense to fix issues in a repeatable work unfortunately this fail to address fast moving target such as competitors, changing regulation, political or financial uncertainty or Scarcity of skills on the market.

Embracing Agility at the enterprise level mean first to deeply embrace the approach of decentralised decision. Top down will not work (Steve Denning « Radical management » book describes that very well). That does not mean the absence of pattern for success. Nor the importance of a strong wiliness from the top for it to happen. People will pull it from the top:

Here is why: People follow leaders who consistently walk the talk in a very transparent and humble way. If you want teams to perform at their best, you need to put on yourself the highest possible expectation and have enough humility to accept failure when data show you you are wrong.

There another advantage of Pull versus Push is Speed . Unfortunately the intuitive way to go faster is to put more pressure and stress into the system. This is based on assumption that people are lazy and that they work better under pressure. In cognitive jobs, it is now proven to just create overload. You ll just get slowness. Pull is used in all good lean factory to produce the right amount of material and keep inventory ans waste at the minimum possible level the current context allow to do. Change follows that rule the same way. We all have a limit of change at the same time, but no one indeed has the same. Each part of the organisation will go on its speed dictate by its own contraint ( that should be identified and leveraged). Then and only then they will genuinely go.

The issue is that it sounds so obvious that many organisations fail to follow those and they end up blaming their framework. To me Scrum or SAFe or Less are very valuable framework ( My Area of knowledge is about legacy large entreprise that really want to embrace Agility as a culture). They works because they are all founded on Agile principle and this principles of decentralised decision. In addition, they offer many safety nets that, when well applied, will reduce the cost of failure that will flow from it.

So why fake agile. After all no one want to kill his organisation? Why it is so difficult? Traditional management tends to put at the top of entreprise people that are strong and hard worker. The thing is that generally those people do not like to admit failure at least publicly. To fix that they need to allocate into their agenda time for personal development. Then and only then they will learn to be like Aikido masters. They need to be the champion of « the art of adapting their spirit »

They also need to operate at the highest possible level of motivation and this is impossible to dictate motivation :

To paraphrase Simon Sinek : start with why :

I suggest anyone who is interested into agile to first reflect on « what made you choose to do your Job. ? »

A good way to do it is just to close your eyes. Imagine you are back to your childhood. « What are your child dreams ? »

No back to where you are today, « would this child be proud of what you are doing today at work? » »

I have done the exercice myself and my driver was to create something very useful so that I would feel the humanity to be a little better. With Humility I do not claim a full success but probably my biggest win in professional life were done thanks to Agile.

Then you can check if there is a link between the gap you have and typical issue company fixes when embracing Agility :

  • To long Time to Market,
  • To expensive,
  • Lack of Flexibility,
  • Not enough Customer Collaboration,
  • Poor visibility to Customer,
  • Quality issues,
  • Not the value we want on Market,
  • We are not sustainable,
  • Lack of Predictability,
  • ..

As This is just my own list of typical Why. You will find many other issues organisation has fixed by being more Agile. Maybe your goal will be better addressed by something else. That is perfectly ok ( Why ‘NOT‘ ). I would recommend to read more on what is really Agile and makes some pilots even where it is not so obvious. I am surprised everyday about people coming back to me with some Agile experience in area such as distribution, shipment and even factory floor. As Agile is young you might also be a pioneer in your area. ( Why not ?)

Why « Why » « Why NOT » or « Why not? » are so important question: Two reasons :

  • As in any pull system, we pull the highest priority first so if Agility transformation is not a priority probably wait for it to be the top priority. If not you, be ready for Fake Agile.
  • This create motivation. And Motivation is a key driver for speed. All coaches face one day an announcement like « We are Agile here, thanks to ring next door!  »

Then and only then you can define what it is:

Agile is just a set of Values. Actually the manifesto was just trying to see what is in common to many pioneer practice around development software. And few were using also those for more than Software ( Scrum name came from Hardware project first) .

The manifesto is simple : https://agilemanifesto.org/

8 things that matters. 4 matters more.

Personally I like the Alistair Cockburn heart of Agile simplification:

  • Collaborate
  • Deliver
  • Reflect
  • Improve.

Progress by Step, anyway your will fail. Better to fail early on micro step than failing hard :

Then let’s remember about Aikido. The very first stage was to know I was not knowing. And I describe that already. Then my next step was to spend 2 years as a beginner. I copied the master gesture .This stage is called in Aikido, SHU. This mean « learning fundamentals ». It is about Obeying to program procedural memory. At that stage you brain start to feel that your body is the real master. The master show and the correct you.

Next stage HA is about breaking the tradition . This is where I start to discover new technics or approaches. Exactly what Teenagers do about life. In early days of Aikido , one Japanese teacher invite some on his french students to go in bars to provoke (verbally) drunk men. Then they learn by responding to their attacks (There is not such a things as non violence if your intention is to be violent ). This is about HA level. The goal is mainly about getting self-confidence in art mastery.

The third stage is called RI. This is about Transcendence. At that stage technics does not matter anymore. It is natural like if it was in your DNA. This means you do without any need to think of it anymore.

Back to Agile manifesto, it is made of values. Valuer describe this RI stage. This is also a perfect description of the ‘non Fake Agile’. So per definition, SHU and HA are just Fake, they are stage for learning. The goal is always to reach and stay at the RI level ( or not )

Now you have 2 type of company ( at least ). Startup has no really other choice than making very tight circle. Reflect Deliver Learn Improve, and they need to do this as close as possible to their customers. The reason is simple; Survival .

Large majority of legacy company has been startups. Maybe it was a very long time ago. from then the system has lost its early days agility. This is mainly because the need of survival has disappear for something like being the first one, i.e beating the competitors.

In other words , almost all company has started by an Agile RI state. Their race for rapid growth and need to over specialised teams make them go away. And this ran for decades.

Those companies will have to take the costly SHUHARI way. They will need to do before being disrupted out the market. Myspace, but also Nortel Enron and many other failing company has shown that this is more about internal issues than outside pressure. The external context might just speed up failure.

Agile is not just Scrum or Kanban. At large scale Agile is not « Agile at scale » « Less(r) » or « Safe(r) » . But they have all implemented a very well documented SHU and HA level.

This is why Spotify has make some radical choice to stay on the RI level :« The problems that a company like Spotify faces on a day-to-day basis trying to serve twenty million daily active users ….So our approach is what futurist Warren Benes calls an ad-hocracy, an organization intentionally designed for flexibility and adaptation, … is maybe less concerned about extracting every last dollar of every activity that you engage in, …what this means that we have a relatively high tolerance for failure. And we have a relatively high tolerance for inefficiency in the name of making sure that we are doing the right thing».- Simon Marcus Head of People Operations (2014)

For all others company knowing , all teams could make a fair assumption of the stage they are and have a right progression step .

Typical question to ask according to where you are in SHU-HA-RI:

With assuming where you are, It is quite easy to test against your assumption. My colleague coaches and I spent some time putting a very reduce set of question ( 39 actually) for the 4 pillars of agility and the 3 levels.

Here are some example per category:

Deliver :


  • Constantly refine “Minimum Viable Constraints”  for the Value Stream ( Definition Of Done) & dependencies , Minimum Common Tools & Measurement ). Team self-organized for everything else.
  • Team Stop developing as soon as a bug appears.


  • Wip limit set for stories feature and other backlog item.
  • Continuous Integration is in place.


  • Stable cross functional team ( Feature team )



  • Tester/Reviewer skills in each team.
  • No one is taking a new task  story or feature before checking we are ok on highest priority.


  • Pair working used
  • All Customers for the value stream defined.
  • at scale , A full system demo is organized every iteration ( typically 2 weeks ) with all concerned customer attending.


  • Team members sacrifice their own interests for the good of the team.



  • Data driven retrospective at team level at each iteration and Inspect and Adapt with all stakeholder at release end. (Collective Intelligence)


  • •Happiness Index is used to keep/improve motivation.


  • Innovation Accounting used Upfront ( part of Definition Of Ready) to make sure to do the right things.



  • People in the value stream feel their team is a place where they can speak up, offer ideas, and ask questions without fear of being punished or embarrassed.


  • Team have time to expand their knowledge for both Agile and non Agile new skills and practices.


  • Pivot: Abort iteration and Release when wrong with deep root cause analysis for learning.

In short

Being Fake Agile is always a matter of comparing where you are to your expectation and expectation might be very different from one person to the others.

This always start by what is our desire. What are we trying to do better ?

Then we think why agile would do toward this goal and what It will not do. Sometime we ends up with no obvious solution, this is a place for experimentation following the lean startup logics.

Regarding company current state, There are many different tools. Kanban, Scrum , Safe, Less etc.. could be best approach but Agile is not a framework. Like Aikido is a way of adapting the spirit Agile is a way of adapting to the business spirit.


ICST Paris 2010 – Innovation in Test ; Raj Mudhar https://rmudhar.wordpress.com/2010/04/17/icst-paris-2010-innovation-in-test/

Lesson from Myspace Scott D. Anthony https://hbr.org/2009/12/lessons-from-myspace

How Fake Agile At DoD Risks National Security: Steve Denning, https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2019/09/22/how-fake-agile-at-dod-risks-national-security/#321e72278fa8

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World : McChrystal, Stanley

Radical Management : Steve Denning, http://www.stevedenning.com/Radical-Management/

Un petit pas pour l’homme un grand pas pour l’humilité !

Un petit pas pour l’homme un grand pas pour l’humilité !

Avant hier, Mardi 5 novembre 2019, j’ai assisté à la soirée de lancement de la communauté des leaders éclairés ! 

Ce fut un moment  de communion, de re-connexions à nos racines terrestres. Un moyen  de nous replonger dans notre  humus celui qui nourrit le mot « humilité ».  

Mais c’est quoi l’enjeu ? Sauver la planète. Ah ? rien que ça ?


Le constat est simple, nous nous dirigerions tout droit vers la sixième extinction de la biodiversité . 

Mais c’est quoi au juste une extinction de masse. Quelles sont donc les cinq premières : déjà un point commun, une extinction de masse c’est quand une moyenne de 75 % des espèces animales et végétales présente sur la terre et nos océans disparaissent.

Ok donc jusque-là tout va bien. Il suffit de faire partie des 25 % qui restent?

Faisons une lecture bien plus emphatique que scientifique. Car si on n’était rationnel, j’enfourcherai mon vélo, ou j »écrirai des truc légers. Je me ferai juste plaisir et non mon devoir de rendre l’appareil par rapport à ce que j’ai reçu avant hier soir.

La première extinction c’est celle de Ordovicien: À cette époque pas de mammifères, pas même de reptiles, d ailleurs aucune vie sur terre. Bref c’est dans l’eau que ça se passe. On y trouve essentiellement des gros mollusques, des coquillages et des tout petits poissons. Bon l’aquarium parfait à l’exception sans doute de ces énormes scorpions de mer . 

Mais voilà. Pas de chance, une étoile avait explosé à plusieurs années lumières de la terre . Cela s’appelle une Supernova. La conséquence: des rayons gamma qui détruisent l’atmosphère en la traversant. Cela chauffe si fort que même le plancton brûle: Aller, famine pour tous! Donc faire partie de 25 % d’espèces qui survivent c’est pas vraiment la fête.

Alors la deuxième, sans doute plus cool ? C’était environ une centaine de millions d’années après celle de l’Ordivicien. Bon elle était plus lente que la première, ça a duré juste 3 million d’années. Sur terre, c’était la jungle avec comme faune surtout des insectes.  Les causes de cette extinctions sont multiples: réchauffement climatique, impacts extraterrestres, explosion volcanique. Résultat de nouveau 75 % des espèces disparus. Après tout, ce ne sont que des insectes. Les espèces qui restent, c’est grâce aux arbres qui ont continué à produire de l’oxygène, une denrée rare à l’époque. 

La troisième, c’est de nouveau une destruction graduelle de l oxygène des océans et l’aridité sur la terre. Surement un coup des météorites.  Elles auraient même chamboulés nos fameuses plaques terrestres. Plus qu’un seul super-continent après cela: la Pangée. Bon, ce coup ci c’est pas 75 % c’est 95% dans la mer à 70 % sur terre.

La quatrième  c’est celle du Trias Jurassique.  Bon, personne n’est vraiment d’accord sur la cause mais les faits c’était bien une nouvelle extinction. Bon, les grands gagnants, ce sont les dinosaures. Un beau succès de cinéma non ?

Et la cinquième, Et toc un astéroïde qui frappe la terre dans la province du Yucatan au Mexique. Juste 1 milliard de fois plus puissant que la bombe atomique d Hiroshima. Les Dinosaures n’ont pas vraiment aimé. C’est fragile ces grosses bêtes. Non les mammifères, on a tenu le coup. Imaginez vous que vous soyez un mulot ( C’est mignon un mulot ). Vous échappez à la grosse bestiole qui veut vous bouffer et vous commencez à cramer sur place… sauf que vous tombez dans un trou et, coup de bol, vous rebondissez sans vous casser la colonne vertébrale. Et là, par miracle vous survivez au flamme de l’enfer. ouf tout va donc parfaitement bien surtout que vous allez gravir les échelons. Pardon, pas vous, vos cousins mammifères, ce sont eux qui vont devenir les nouveaux maitres du monde. Les dinosaures n’ont survécu qu’à peine plus de 200 millions d’années. On fera évidemment bien mieux ! 

D’ailleurs il y a un autre point commun de toute les extinctions, les espèces dominantes ont cédés la place dans le Chaos à d’autres. Quand les autres c’est nous les humains, c’est plutôt pas mal.  

Le hic, c’est que faire le pari que nous résisterions à la sixième. C’est digne de voter Trump. C’est risqué comme hypothèse, mais à court terme cela peut s’avérer rassurant. Mais plus tard on va pas un peu s’entretuer dès fois ?

Bon si tout le monde est à peu près d’accord qu’on y va. Presque tout le monde est d’accord pour dire que c’est pas un phénomène extraterrestre ni sismique qui la provoque mais bel et bien l’homme. Là où ça coince, c’est à quelle vitesse et à-t-on encore de quoi freiner ?

Alors c’est comme au travail.  On a des données,  plein de donnée. Parmi celles là ils y en peut être des fiables ? On sais par exemple que la ressource crois moins vite que le besoin, que la population explose mais ce sont bien les besoins qui explosent encore plus vite.  

C’est donc la ressource qui s’épuise. C’est, nous y reviendrons, un exemple de jeu fini. La fin c’est quand 2030, 2050….2100. Et pas d’étoile au rayon gamma. donc cette fin sera longue et douloureuse. A l’échelle de la planète, c’est un détail . Elle s’en remettra très bien. A notre niveau, c’est moins évident.

En bon ingénieur je pense que cette prise de conscience est une bonne chose, il va falloir chercher une solution.  Il suffit juste de résoudre le problème le plus complexe de tout les temps. Alors comment résoudre un problème à priori insoluble? Ma maman me disait que c’est en travaillant que j’aurai les meilleur chance de résoudre un problème que je pensait insoluble. Et parfois pour moi ça a marché ! Je n’ai pas trop le choix  j’ai séché le cours « baisser les bras ».

Alors nous, on va changer ça ? On y peut quoi au fond ? On arrête de manger de la viande ?  C’est vrai que l’élevage hyper mécanisé coûte cher en énergie fossile. Cela dégage aussi énormément de gaz à effet de serre.  En tout cas, c’est sans doute mieux de le choisir que de devoir y être un jour contraint. Mais ne rêvons pas. Cela ne suffira pas

En fait, rien seul ne suffit vraiment. L’inventivité humaine est sans limite. C’est un grand facteur de progrès. L’énergie fossile a contribué à nous sortir de la famine ( mais n’a pas résolu les inégalités sociales  )

Mais voilà, dès qu’on améliore quelque part, toc on invente un truc qui annule l’effet de l’amélioration. Un exemple, les constructeurs automobiles ont vraiment amélioré l’efficacité énergétique de leurs modèles. A taille et poids égal, une voiture consomme 25% de moins qu’il y a dix ans. Pourquoi donc achetons nous des SUV, ce qui annule ce progrès ? Réponse : Ils sont plus sures, plus confortables, offre plus de standing et puis les gens en veulent. N’y a t il pas là un paradoxe ?

D’ailleurs les progrès de la technologie sont visibles, effectivement nous découvrons d’énorme quantité de gisements fossiles. A chaque fois, cela permet à nous qui avons déjà tout, d’avoir un beaucoup plus mais aussi à ceux qui n’ont presque rien comme nous il y 100 ans d’avoir un petit peu.

Si il y avait donc un moyen plus puissant . Et bien c’est cela qui est beau. Oui. Cela dépend de la façon même dont nous mesurons le progrès. Le Bhoutan a bien inventé un indice différent du Produit Intérieur brut, le Bonheur National Brute. 

Revenons à nos cercles de dirigeants éclairés.  Cela sert à quoi ce truc ? 

Bon, disons le tout cru. Cela fait un peu bizarre de se retrouver avec 300 personnes ( c’est complet ce soir ) assises en cercles concentriques. Finalement, je ne connais personne de l’organisation. Fanny Walter, une amie coach m’a poussé l’invitation, je suis là par curiosité. Mais j’en ai surtout profité pour relayer à mon tour à un manager que j’ai eu par le passé et qui m’avait fortement impressionné par son courage. ( Qui me dira que c’est facile d’être un authentique leader aujourd’hui ? ). Bref on se regarde, à droite à gauche. On salut son voisins un inconnu, on s’embrasse.  

Il y a une lampe qui symbolise le feu au milieu du cercle. Un feu sacrée ? Et oui, mon ami manager et moi même nous regardons un instant. Le calumet de la paix n’est pas loin. D’ailleurs ce cercle c’est l’égalité. D’ailleurs un détail infime ( intime oserai je même avancé) m’a impressionné. On doit entrer par l’intérieur du cercle. Cela permet de ne pas avoir les premiers rangs vides.  Mais aussi d’avoir un remplissage au hasard, les leaders les plus importants n’étant pas nécessairement arrivés en premier. 

On nous prévient : ne riez pas! toutes idées nouvelles commencent par être ridicule, avant de devenir dangereuse. Enfin elle sera évidente.  Je suis d’une nature plutôt sarcastique mais j’ai appris avec le temps: Je ne souris pas. Je m’applique à suivre les instructions: respirer profondément, vider son esprit par le souffle. Un truc de Yoga qui date de la nuit des temps. Chez moi ça fonctionne. 

 La communauté c’est quoi ? Ca vient du latin « cum », avec, ensemble et de « munus », charge, dette : charges partagées, obligations mutuelles. La communauté est le caractère de ce qui est commun à plusieurs personnes ou choses.

 Ils sont trop forts ces romains! 

Bon moi ce qui m’intéresse c’est pas de constater le problème. Je suis convaincu. Mais d’avancer vers la sphère des solutions.

Je rappelle juste que c’est un problème extraordinairement complexe. 6 milliards d’individus constituent à la fois le problème et pourtant sont aussi la solution. Il faut de la structure. Ces structures existent: ce sont les entreprises. Et là aussi j’en suis convaincu. 

Alors quelle sont les messages puissants qui vont pouvoir ensuite diriger l’action.

Leçon numéro 1: Nous ne sommes pas notre Ego. 

C’est je crois un pilier de la Philosophie Bouddhiste.  Comme je me vois plutôt du genre athée et cartésien je vais répondre que c’est du bon sens ( n’hésitez pas à me corriger dans le cas contraire).  Sauf que cette question m’amène à m’interroger sur un autre message. Mon égo me pousse à la possession. Cela peut être matériel ou immatériel. Un pouvoir, une autorité, une particularité physique ( beauté, taille, force, intelligence, puissance, séduction, virilité, féminité etc..). Cela dépasse la bonne santé ou le confort. Je mange largement à ma faim et je me fais plaisir. Et pourtant c’est l’envie d’être plus fort plus intelligent plus jeune plus séduisant qui parfois me guide… etc.   

Mon ego fait donc de moi un ‘avoir humain’.  Pour devenir un ‘être humain’ il va donc me falloir autre chose et cela ne va pas être simple. 

Cet autre chose annonce la seconde leçon. Nous sommes notre meilleure ressource. La condition pour cela savoir se reconnecter à ses racines. 

Attention la personne dont je vais parler pour cela est exceptionnelle. Elles semble avoir des solutions simples à des problèmes qui franchement me paraissent insoluble. Et en plus elle le fait en beauté. Et elle nous apprend à puiser au fond de nous même pour découvrir des talents insoupçonnés. Ok c’est jamais que du coaching me direz vous. Sauf là ça va vite et fort.. 15 min et 300 personnes à la fois. Imaginez un peu..  Elle devrait être milliardaires. Mais elle valorise un autre forme de richesse. La plénitude.

Son nom c’est Marianne. Marianne Sebastien plus exactement . Elle est la créatrice de voix libre ( http://www.voixlibres.org/?option=com_content&view=article&id=32&Itemid=36&lang=fr)


Début de la séance. Nous sommes 300, il y a beaucoup de cadres dirigeants.  Il y a surement parmi nous quelques chanteurs émérites mais à priori aucun de nous n’est un Pavarotti ou un Domingo. 

Maintenant là, nous tirons la langue. Non pas parce que l’effort est intense mais parce qu’elle nous demande littéralement de le faire . Nous la tenons même avec notre doigt. Cela si j’ai bien compris nous fait respirer. Alors  nous soufflons de tous nos poumons. Cela me masse. Elle nous le répète “merci de ne pas rire et de ne pas filmer !“.

Ensuite elle demande à un volontaire de chanter. A l’évidence Il est plus courageux que chanteur . Pour le deuxième essai elle lui demande de placer un bouchon entre ses dents. Elle le fait chanter en baissant la tête. J’ai compris qu’il s’agissait de mieux écouter. Elle accompagne au piano et la voix. Lui chante, il chante super bien. Mon égo me dit même que j’aurai jamais du prendre des cours de chant pendant des années tant il fait bien mieux que moi.  Nous allons à 300 faire la même expérience. Le moment ne peut pas se décrire, c’est puissant et cela révèle ce que nous sommes capable de faire en utilisant juste notre souffle et notre intuition. Je l’interpelle à la fin: “ je suis impressionné, Marianne, car je n’ai pas entendu de fausse note” . Elle me dit “ Non car cela vient du coeur”. Ca me parle :je joue du rock, et entre musiciens de rock on parlent de tripe.

Sauf que d’habitude, Marianne ne fait pas cela dans les salons feutrés parisiens. Non elle le fait dans les bidonvilles au Pérou, sur des tas d’ordures, dans des mines, des tunnels, avec des drogués, en prison. Ensuite elle offre à ces personnes là, des micro-crédits. Elle anticipe la question que nous avions tous: Oui même aux prisonniers. Je les fait se laver les mains: Ce sont elles les coupables du crime pour lequel ils sont punis et ensuite elle leur prête de l’argent. Tous, elle nous dit bien tous, remboursent.  

L’enjeu c’est la planète. Respecter la planète. Pour cela il va falloir respecter les hommes qui restent les plus gros consommateurs de ses resources accessibles ( sans compter que la pollution animal est très lié à l’élevage). Les procédés qui transforment les resources en solution c’est l’agriculture et l’industrie. Elles ont besoin de banques, de règles donc de gouvernement. Mais c’est bien l’entreprise qui tient les rênes du système. Ces entreprises ont besoin d’homme et de femmes pour les faire fonctionner. Pour respecter la planète il va falloir que nos entreprises respectent l’homme, et c’est là que le système résiste. Car l’entreprise tient beaucoup plus d’une machine à broyer les hommes que d’une organisation qui les respecte et les épanouit.

Ok, vous m’avez compris. Le bonheur au travail. Une belle utopie non ?  

Oui, si vous n’avez pas des personnes qui avant tout se respectent elle même.   

Imaginons une vision idéaliste des choses: 

Je me respecte, du coup je respecte les autres et tous ensemble nous pouvons donc respecter la bio diversité et du même vous sauver nos vies, toute nos vies. Attention ce coup ci ce n’est pas juste l’espèce (les dérives sectaires et totalitaire ont toujours pour base la sélection d’une minorité d’élus promue à un rang supérieur sous prétexte de perpétuer l’espèce). 

C’est cet idéal humaniste pourtant ce que Pascal Demurger patron de la Maif semble avoir réussi.  auteur du livre L’entreprise du XXIe siècle sera politique ou ne sera plus ( voir Pascal Demurger publie un livre)

Son idée est que  la recherche d’un impact positif de l’entreprise sur son environnement peut aussi nourrir sa performance.  

Quand il est interrogé sur lui même. Il nous explique avoir commencer comme un patron traditionnelle: Il donne des ordres qui se déclinent sur toute la hiérarchie. 

Il a expliqué comment cela a démarré : le besoin de ressourcer. Mes enfants nous dit-il, ne savent pas ce qu’est un PDG. Ils ne comprennent pas. Il leur faut donc trouver un sens. Et plutôt que de se raconter une histoire, de négocier avec soi même, il faut opérer un changement profond. Ne pas négocier avec soi même c’est la troisième leçon. 

Mais revenons à l’entreprise traditionnelle . 

Pourquoi respecterais-je la planète si je ne suis pas respecté moi même ?

Pourquoi aurais-je du respect d’autrui si moi même je ne sais pas m’en donner ?

Comment saurais-je respecter autrui si je ne me respecte pas moi même ? 

A partir de là . Le Cum Munus ( communauté ) entre en action. La dette commune.  La charge commune. 

Si ce n’est pas sexy. chacun son truc pour rendre cela plus sexy. 

Personnellement voilà comment j’Imagine la terre. Elle est ronde, belle lisse. Elle respire. Elle est de jour comme de nuit. Elle est belle comme l’est une femme enceinte. La mission c’est de la protéger car elle porte la vie et cette vie c’est la notre.  Il existe d’ailleurs une hormone l’Ocytocine qui tout le monde secrète. Cependant cette sécrétion est maximale chez la femme enceinte . C’est l’hormone de l’amour de la protection. Celui que nous devons favoriser pour collaborer. Car collaborer c’est évidemment la seule solution.

Car comme le dit si bien Simon Sinek, il s’agit pas d’un jeu fini ou le but est de gagner. Les jeu fini sont à sommes nulles entre les  gagnants et perdants ( les effets qui s’annule décrit au dessus). Le moyen du jeu fini est la compétition. Il faut jouer un un jeu infini. Dans un jeu infini le but est de survivre tous ensemble le plus longtemps possible. Le moyen du jeu infini, la collaboration. Les entreprises traditionnelle opère sur un jeu fini, celles qui opère sur un jeu infini sont non seulement socialement plus acceptable. Elle sont aussi plus rentables.

Un idéal commun vous dite ? mais comment changer  le système ?

Prenons un exemple. L’énergie fossile est limitée. De surcroit, elle génère une pollution qui est majoritairement invisible indolore et donc parfaitement anodine. Seule l’accumulation au fil des année pose problème. 

Donc place aux véhicules électriques. Mon égo me suggère tout les jours d’aller acheter ce modele super S3xy d’une célèbre marque Californienne ! Evidemment je ferai bonne image. Sauf que je n’en ait absolument pas besoin ! Je suis comme tout le monde 90% du temps seul dans ma voiture. De plus , nous qui sommes pourtant si fort pour tout mesurer n’avons aucune moyen de mesurer effectivement la pollution générer depuis l’idée même de la voiture jusqu’à son recyclage complet . 

Aller fermez les yeux, respirer un bon coup, souffler à fond , 3 fois.  et maintenant dites moi Il y a d’autres solutions ? Combien de ces solutions sont supérieures à celle du dessus en matière de re-connexion à vos valeurs ? et en matière de confort? de sécurité ? de vie sociale? de sentiment d’appartenance ? 

Vous l’avez compris, savoir ce qui vous motive. Il n y a pas de meilleurs solutions. 

Pour le reste, notre égo ne résiste pas à 3 respirations profondes.  

Mais pour changer le système il va sans doute falloir redéfinir les paramètres qui l’on toujours alimenter. En clair  il va falloir changer le modèle économique ? 

Selon le capitalisme la richesse est le fruit du travail et du capital = P (K , W).  A l’évidence la nouvelle équation doit y ajouter une contrainte. 

P ( K, W, E ).  Le nouveau venu est en fait celui qui était tellement évident qu’on l’avait oublié. Nous autres coach Agile nous l’appelons l’éléphant dans la pièce. 

Frederic Laloux ( auteur du best-seller Reinventing Organizations ) nous explique un cas d’entreprise de fabrication de moquette. Son patron a fait le constat suivant: Nous transformons de l’énergie fossile en km carré de plastique qui finissent en décharge au bout de quelques années. 

Il alors énoncé le problème à son co-dir. Il n’ont pas trouvé de solution. C’est bien plus tard qu’ils ont réussi par des efforts de recherche et développement à remplacer le plastic par un produit biologique qui lui stockait du co2. Du coup à chaque moquette fabriqué réduit le Co2. 

 Admettre ne pas avoir de solution immédiate est une bonne démarche. C’est l’opposé du greenwashing que toutes les entreprises traditionnelles pratiquent.

Alors qu’on l’interroge sur les plus grandes peurs des dirigeants. Ceux qui transforment leurs entreprises, Frederic Laloux nous parle de la solution à cela: Avoir un plan B. La peur paralyse dès l’instant où l’impact du risque est personnel. Tout le monde aspire à de la sécurité après tout et les leader libérateur doivent se l’offrir ( sous peine de disparaitre très rapidement ). Il a donné des exemples de leader qui après un échec ont été débarqué par les actionnaires et ont retrouvé des place souvent plus intéressante pour eux même.

Voilà. dans le désordre la soirée du 5 Novembre de lancement de la communauté des leaders éclairés.


Ce que je retiens: 

Leçon 1: Nous ne sommes pas notre Ego.

Leçon 2; Se recentrer sur soi-même sur ces voix d’enfants pour apprendre à se respecter.

Leçon 3: Ce sont les entreprises qui sont responsables de la situation actuelle. Ce sont elles qui auront la solution. Et il y a espoir, car cela commence.

Leçon 4 : Le système devra forcément s’appuyer sur des nouvelles équations économiques celles qui favorise la collaboration sur la compétition. Et Il y a des entreprises qui l’ont déjà expérimenté avec succès.

Leçon 5: Ne pas avoir la solution tout de suite c’est ok. Avouez ses imperfections est la meilleure des démarches possibles. 

Leçon 6; Parce que tout ce qui précède est très difficile à faire: Nous avons besoin d’un plan B. Il est là pour vaincre nos peurs. Celle de basculer dans un système plus contraignant mais plus viable et à terme et indispensable à la survie de l’entreprise en tant qu’une partie de l’humanité.


Pour suivre, La communauté peut se targuer d’un grand succès. Il doit y avoir de l’action.  Aujourd’hui j’ai recommandé dans le programme de bénévolat de mon entreprise  d’aider l’association de Marianne Sebastien Voix libre, et j’ai écrit cet article car je sais que beaucoup n’ont pas eut la chance d’être dans ce lieu à Paris au milieu de dirigeant, moi qui ne suit qu’un humble coach en agilité d’entreprise.

Vos commentaires et retours sont des cadeaux alors je les aime quelqu’il soit.

Pourquoi la méthode des « 5 pourquoi » n’est pas efficace pour les problèmes complexes ?

Le Blog Goood!

Dans la catégorie « outils du coach » pour la résolution de problèmes, vous connaissez peut-être les « 5 pourquoi » afin d’aller détecter la cause racine d’un problème plutôt que d’en rester au symptôme.

Dans cet article je vais essayer de montrer en quoi cette technique est plus efficace que la technique des « 1 pourquoi » mais moins que les diagrammes de boucles causales pour résoudre les problèmes complexes.

Je vais partir d’un exemple avec un Scrum Master qui vient me voir parce que son daily meeting est inefficace : un problème simple au premier abord et bien connu dans la communauté agile.

Le symptôme du problème, la face visible de l’iceberg que je vous propose pour la démonstration : les développeurs font du reporting au PO et c’est inintéressant pour tout le monde, même le PO.

Nous allons donc voir 3 techniques pour résoudre ce problème a priori simple : les « 1 pourquoi »…

Voir l’article original 2 267 mots de plus

Hummingbirds, Transforming Agent Detector: translated from Sweet rupture Ed 3

Sweet Rupture Season 3 finally the official release!

The third season of Sweet Rupture « Free Agility » is officially released since 2015 January 19th. This collective work orchestrated by Laurent Sarrazin includes stories of many « agile frogs » the number of which I have had the pleasure to be.

Rupture-Douce-S03.jpgThis year, the frogs have mutated. Wings grew to release their agility, no longer confined to the IT department. This is now spread across the enterprise. So this book is an invitation to everyone to discover agility. As an expert witness and actor, I have enjoyed  living this history from inside. The result is more than 400 pages of passionate stories, engaged and sometimes sirprising by so many new approaches to discover agility.

The work was not easy, but we’re proud to share it with you. We have benefited from an awesome proofreaders team.

Best of all, Isaac Getz (« Freedom Inc. ») introduce this book supporting our ambition not to confine agility to ISDs, but to open up to the world.

For my part, you will find a story written with Fabien Bataille titled »Colibri:  Change Agent detector ». I urge you to discover!
The book is available in hard copy or single collector in color, and in electronic form here:


Hummingbirds, Transforming Agent Detector


It seems that since several that months, every full moon, frogs metamorphose into Hummingbirds. According to Native American legend, during a huge fire, only a brave Hummingbird dutifully poured water with its beak to extinguish the fire. Our Hummingbirds know that every time there is a fire in their business, the firefighters extinguished with a lot of job protection plan. Each time, the living space is depleted and the company, as a non-maintained forest catches fire even faster.

By bringing into the game their passions and hidden talents, Hummingbirds self-organize whatever their formal function in the company is. Very soon this network is recognized and encouraged by few precursors leaders aware of damage created by command and control. They know the importance of leaving the doers decide how to do things.


This story is an invitation to HR, trainers, managers, employees, agitators …  in short all those wishing to contribute to free their business. Sometimes the desire to work differently is there, but concealed by the fact that everyone thinks he is alone and so can do nothing. The story below is the result of two people bet: One that allows the game to initiate a transformation « business how » into « a business why. » You’ll know at the end of this reading how to reproduce the same experience in your business.

Thereafter, we will call Hummingbirds all actors of that experience.

Yves, how were born Hummingbirds?

The company where this story is taking place is a knowledge worker company that based its power on developing and following detailed plans. All the actors (executive, management and employees) agree it must be in tune to fit the twenty-first century and  improve responsiveness as pursue innovation and ensure its long term survival.

This production system is segmented into product lines, each divided into marketing, research, development, deployment and support. There are of course supporting functions such as Purchasing, Human Relations, Support or ITWe will have many representatives of these functions in our Hummingbirds session.

Each department has its strong leader, superpower manager. He ultimately makes rain or shine while top level only power results in workforce adjustments based on strategic importance.   It is hard in that context from Top leaders to make sustainable choices that are reflected in day to day reality of work.

Agility is present here and there. Each department decided how he was going to work. Some few visionaries have set up agility under their perimeter up to five to seven hundred people (Our biggest known success so far). These departments often deliver  « functional iterations » to customers, keeping in sight with a medium or long term product vision. There teams have the opportunity to lead technical choices, at least in equal footing with architectural features, expert profession, etc.

When great leader is « dumped« 

The problem happens when a single product is mobilizing a system of several thousand people, eight countries, twelve different sites, thirteen time zones without counting the different business cultures. This goes far beyond a local leader as strong as it is to impose a way of working.

The principle of organization that has proven itself in the twentieth century is to centralize decisions and enforce them to the bottom of the pyramid. Unfortunately this results in an addition of top down constraints, measures, controls, and hidden resitance. Obviously, these checks are introducing bottlenecks and delays start to accumulate. The lack of confidence also induced a complete loss of motivation which improves nothing.

Locally, each autonomous organization addresses these constraints by refocusing on its objectives. The dialogue between departments disappear as it becomes secondary.

In that context,  Fabien and I are looking for a way to create the connection between these entities. We first tried to animate communities of practice which consist of bringing together people of different projects on themes to improve a particular practice. Despite our efforts, no one here takes time to come. Why learning new practices while everything seems imposed from above ? after all It sounds as waste one’s time while everyone is under pressure to deliver in conformance with top down orders?
Our readings and meetings with people as Laurent Sarrazin put us on the track of using games techniques to create the link. A month later, we were proving the validity of our hypothesis by a first gamified session (and the name Hummingbirds has been chosen by those first participants ). This helped fill a room of about fifteen women and men passionated who obviously wanted things to change.


We just create without any expectation a Transformation Agent detector inside the company

Fabien, what was the first meeting?

We were in February 2014.  Shortly before the first session, Yves took his walking stick and went one to one to meet the canvass of his company’s knowledge and asked them to run workshops on the theme of the game.

The posters announcing a presentation and workshop on « gamification », are strategically placed near the coffee machines. In addition emails to viral dissemination (all recipients were asked to forward the invitation to their colleagues) guarantee sandwiches or pizza the first record (the session taking place at lunchtime).

This first session drains twenty people. Subsequently the spectators become actors of the next session and so on, the movement is started, it will not even be necessary to offer the meal.


How does a typical hummingbird session ?

Noon, Hummingbirds gently aggregate in a large room. Tables, footstools and furnitures are arranged randomly. In business, we all have a role and some objectives. To change roles, change surrounding.


Le Creativ’Lab – Crédit : Arnaud Le Cat / Ioana Ocnarescu

Already, one of the facilitators starts to set the pace by asking to make strange gestures, such as launching balls of wool, asking weird questions or to throw balls of colors but invisible! This host Hummingbird is the guard and catalyst of energy.
Twenty past noon: After this warmup, four Hummingbirds are ready to present each one thing that fascinates them. Regarding these activities, there are very few rules: the subject and form are free. Only applies the rules of the site: here everything that is not forbidden is allowed. Fabien and I fix a single constraint: each presentation is done in a time box: These animations take place in parallel, Hummingbirds groups remain standing, and every ten minutes, sounded the gong, and they must quickly choose a different stand.

Long live Legos ®

One PM, Hummingbirds has attended all the workshops. We turn the tables, viewers return what they get of the show in a Lego® construction for each animation.  This process inspired by the « Product Vision Box » allows a playful and natural return.

Quarter past one : Hummingbirds end the session with a retrospective: We look at what worked well, what could be improved. Here, this retrospective is like the rest optional. But no one would leave without giving a spontaneous feedback or to be volunteer to prepare the next session: Each brings his idea and rules for the next session are decided.

An example of change decided in a retrospective: slide shows are banned forcing organizers to be more creative. This provides more rhythm, spontaneity and fluidity in presentations: No over time to set PC to play slides, no anymore passive spectators sprawled on the seats, etc ..

Hummingbirds are time masters. Who are these clown who play while we have so much work to do for the paying customer ? The use of lunch time lets not waste time. For planning, such as ancient farmers, Hummingbirds follow a lunar rhythm. It just removes the school holiday periods. This repetition allows a reassuring routine.

What’s next after Hummingbird?

Networking has already helped to bridge communication gap between providers and their internal customer.  We have less of : « Those tools guys do not even know what we really need, » or « Those people does not know how to work. »

Hummingbird allows everyone to realize that whatever their level in the company, he has something to learn from others as a spectator but also to teach others, as well as learn of oneself when one becomes leader. From passive, one could becomes actor .

Hummingbird, spontaneously created and maintained by employees without distinction of rank, jealously guards its independence. It naturally play along with other liberating initiatives, such as the Fab’Lab. A Fab’Lab is for a company to provide means (a room, equipment and some technical advice) to build objects or projects without any constraint. The « doers » in Fab’Lab as in Hummingbird are entirely voluntary.

Hummingbird is unwilling to count « participants » but to swarm: in six months, some initiatives have already been initiated at a hummingbird sitting: a workshop on the « The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People« , a workshop to discuss methods of creativity, and a workshop to discuss science fiction and try to imagine the products of tomorrow.

By the way things are going, and by seeing the pollinating effect this initiative, we hope to have sufficiently visionary leaders to fully adhere to the principles practiced by the Hummingbirds:

Hummingbirds, what principles?

Eric Ries in his book « Lean Startup » explains that a principle not validated in practice, ie through experimentation, is literally a LEAP OF FAITH.

Here are our Hummingbird LEAP OF FAITH :

Fisrt Principle : Learning through play

A trainer writes: « my Training background » made me see Hummingbird in terms of learning, I saw the opportunity to sharpen my ability to briefly introduce a subject facing benevolent listeners«  .

The basic rules of the Hummingbird, its rhythm, Feedback by Lego® are all inspired by playing techniques.

The game makes a person repeating something that she would not make again otherwise. A good game makes its players reaching a higher level when all the basics from previous layer is mastered.

This interest in the use of games mechanisms to achieve serious results us was inspired by a presentation of gamification, in French: « ludification« .

These innocuous technical abound on the web. For example, Linkedin or its competitor, Viadeo offer discrete gauges of progress, competence grading  and other skills scores or grades. All this encourages us to fill their database with information that we would otherwise probably not put there.


Let’Go for upper level principle:

2nd Principle: Self-organization rather than centralized control

Why self organization ?

Let’s see where is the self-organization in « The New New Product Development Game » 11. This article on best practices in the industry was published in « Harvard Busines Review ‘in the late 80s by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Nonaka Ikujiro. It is the first to describe Scrum by analogy with rugby team that gangs up on the adversarial team . They co-decide together (what we call a holistic approach) tactics to win.

A rugby team on the field is self-organized, as is an Agile team. It forms a relatively stable clan and tactics can far exceed, the sheer force added of each of its members.

3rd Principle: The opening rather than the local optimization

The scrum allow the group to be more efficient by being able to adapt in real time to the current situation. In the field it operates in isolation . Creating many natural (i.e natural dialog) links and bridges between group is mandatory to avoid Silo effect.

This openness is essential to go from Agility Team to Corporate Agility. Scrum are like living Cells: Cells are both autonomous and interacting with other cells in a natural way so that the full body is both resilient to micro and macro adversity. This is the spinal cord of the company enabling the organization to have good reflexes without being slowed down by the over centralization. The goal is then to make the all more effective rather its subparts.

One example of that book is Favi company.  It boss Jean François Zobrist, also handyman, compare the time it would have taken to repair a lawnmower in his own business, compared to the time he spent once at home. His conclusion is an obvious chronical structural inefficiencies his company had. He, therefore consistently removed all « How » guidelines to allow everyone to just focus on customer satisfaction.

Some time later, a Christine  a housekeeper took full initiative to seek a major customer hung out at the airport. She was the only one available, so she took the keys of a company car without any form of permission and made the 300 km that separates Favi from Airport.

In most companies the real question would be how many rules Christine should disobey to satisfy the customer. What would be work instruction for traveling? who should she contact to get approval ? Where to find car key ? Is there any risk we exceed the annual budget? Is there any insurance for housekeeper to take the car? At Favi is different:

What matters in a « freedom Incorporation » is « WHY » we do something: Christine even if this is nort part of her usual mission honors a « moral » obligation for here company , to delight the client15.


It is sometimes difficult to explain inside the company’s what is exactly Colibri’s target. Is it about demonstrating the strength of « gamification« , those of Agile principles, Lean, or freedom Inc. ?

One participant found an answer: The key is to build from a group of people an effective team who is efficient to reach motivating enough goals, with only condition to have the freedom to reach it and it actually happened.

According to the philosopher Michel Serres, Human beings start eventuating its skeleton qualities (sharpened flint tools, levers, etc.) then its muscle strength and thermal system (engines), and finally its nervous system (computer, network, digital) 16.

We think that In this world that evolves in complexity to the speed of the digital revolution, having a unifying vision that suits the market at the right time is only useful if this vision is achievable quickly. Building first on self-organized and open groups, radically remove bureaucratic brakes will make the best teams and the best companies.

Whether you’re a business owner, manager wanting to change or « doer », we encourage you to start a liberating initiative to your level, a Hummingbirds bringing a little happiness and freedom in her mouth.

Share your experiments on the twitter hummingbird account 17

Mini Bio

Fabien and Yves felt in the potion Agile and benefits of self-organization a few years ago. We are also fans of Sweet rupture Season 01 and 02.

We are Fish and Fishing Rods supplies: With Hummingbird, we animated games (giving fish) before facilitating sessions (providing fishing rods). But now Hummingbirds are the real Game masters. They constantly invent. We are facilitators us when our availability allows.

Fabien is a former Bell Labsresearcher training software engineer, he discovered agility and Lean in 2010. Since it is always looking for continuous improvement in all their forms. In addition to his work at a large telecom equipment, he also teach Agile and Lean software project management to Master 2 students at the University Paris Descartes. In his spare time he helps the group « agile translators »
18 translating into French books and articles dealing with the agility to help their dissemination. Follow him on twitter19 or throught his blog20.

Yves started as field support engineer, followed by a twenty year of product development, project and team leadership before devoting himself full time to the agile transformation where he met Fabien. His specialty is the agility very large scale, ie an Agility Lean cocktail and Product Development Flow21 . Yves left Hummingbirds birth of business but the idea remains. During his free time, Yves discovers the world with family or playing drums with his band Little Nemo.22  You can visit his blog here 23

1 Frogs are here people with Agile sensitivity. Indeed what could be more agile than a frog

2 This legend was popularized by Pierre Rabhi when creating the Movement of Hummingbirds ( Colibri is the french name for Hummingbird)  http://www.colibris-lemouvement.org/. Although we have a slightly different purpose, we concur on many topics.

3 Liberté & Cie : http://liberteetcie.com/ french version of Brian M. Carney Isaac Getz. http://freedomincbook.com/ available in English

4 This is a portion of executable code that the client is to have his book back. View Scrum Guide for details https://www.scrum.org/Resources

7 In Agile Scrum methodology, the development team meets regularly to discuss the work, what worked well and what should be improved. View Scrum Guide for details

10 http://theleanstartup.com/ and Eric Ries books « The Lean Startup »

13Liberté & Cie : http://liberteetcie.com/ french version of Brian M. Carney Isaac Getz. http://freedomincbook.com/ available in English

15 Voir Kata 2 du chapitre problème et solution « COMMENT» vs « POURQUOI»

16Petite Poussette. Michel Serre.

21http://lpd2.com/the-principles-of-flow/ Donald Reinertsen Principles of Product Development Flow

Making Large-scale Agile Work for 1000+ People, 50 Teams

This is an interesting large scale transformation from Alexis and my friend Raj. Over 500 people. Customer wanted to find new disruptive revenue stream. They  start by co creating the the vision with leadership. Implementation used SAFE, Scrum and many other Lean Agile Tools and more importantly Principles.

Interesting way to use a reverse Conway law, setting the team the way they want architecture to be sounds to be a great approach when having day 1 cross functional team does not works.

Challenges listed in that video also are common patterns. Seeing how they work around and pivot is interesting. Good to know at the end the enterprise adopted that enterprise Kanban !-) . Sounds simple?… this is not…
That stage approach is also a good trade-off to the now old fashion Big Bang. Smell like a new sweet rupture.


Last November, Alexis Hui and I presented a case study representing a very unique and successful agile transformation in a global financial services organization. Video and slides available on InfoQ, recorded at the Agile Toronto Community Conference.


Voir l’article original

Organized for Speed

In this article I will explain how to improve product development flow and deliver value faster.  I will describe how a few small changes in the way we are organized can make a significant difference in our value delivery potential.  These insights are based on some widely held theories and – more importantly – practical experience gleamed from working with numerous companies, in an array of industries. I will also explain the place and importance of uncertainty in our working world and how a more Lean mindset can help us view this uncertainty as as opportunity to better understand – and exploit – our options.

The world is Full of Uncertainty

Figure03-3Bc Before we think about delivering faster, we must make sure we are developing the right product. A useful map for navigating your way into the concepts and field of complexity is « The Stacey Matrix ». It is important to clarify our assumptions on where we are before choosing one approach. Agile has a proven record in complicated and complex zones. Lean is excellent for Complicated situations. And Lean Startup is probably the best approach to date in matters Chaotic. The temptation to oversimplify when we need to explain complicated or complex problems is understandable, even to some extent our attempts to describe things that are chaotic in nature.  Unfortunately in adopting this mindset – this oversimplification – we devalue and reduce the likelihood that we can fully understand this inherent uncertainty, and the potential to use this to our advantage.

Exploiting Uncertainty

Cubical dice Imagine you’re a gambler, a professional gambler. Is uncertainty your enemy? You’re playing in your favorite casino.  Are you ready?  Then let’s play! Go on  : http://www.roll-dice-online.com/

  • select 2 dices of 6 sides :
  • Let’s assuma we have a gain opportunity of 40€ if sum of drops is 7 or more. 0€ if 6 or lower.
  • Cost of 10€ per roll and per dice.
  • Even if amount is small same player can play as quick as he wants.
  • The casino take 17% off of all gain for services.

Standard: you roll the two dices at same time:

Average gain: 23€. 19,9€ after casino charges, Average cost: 20€.
Return On Investment: 0,99  Loss of 1%(*)

(*) this is how casino makes money. What if you could use feedback loop ? i.e rolling one dice, look at the result and decide to roll or not to roll the second one. What would we intuit about our chance to gain 40€?

Average gain: 22€. 19€ after casino charges. Average cost  18€
Return On Investment: 1,036  Benefit of 3,6% ( 1€ )

Calculation at the end of the article.

  1. Even if the second strategy sounds more complex. It is still more valuable. Despite the immediate feeling of failure failed (here by getting an ace at fisrt roll) we should use it as learning to take decision.
  2. Small decision sometime give small benefits but this is still a value for the business if decisions are taken and executed with speed: An experimented gambler could play one game every 5 second i.e 720 games in one hour.  His/her average gain could be up to 720€ per hours.
  3. Even if casino is of course based on uncertainity, Such a gambler has no risk of failure with so huge number of drops. A system able to take very fast small decision transform uncertainty into more predictible results. We could say it reduce uncertainty but it would be not acknoledging that uncertainty is the issue to solve not the one to underestimate.

Of course, taking many fast decisions will be a competitive advantage if  those are in average good decisions. Here, gamblers are experts in both analysing feedback and executing the right corrective actions (i.e do not roll the second dice if an ace occurs at firt roll) when appropriate. This intense use of feedback and multiple fast decisions close to the floor plant is one of lean principles. All Agile teams I know also make sure to have maximize  feedback prior considering a job as finished. It is why test skills are so important on side of coding building and architectural skills inside a single scrum team.

Centralized strategic decision, decentralized execution

Now let’s say you own a company employing up to 1000 gamblers. As soon as you heard about this casino and their ‘generous’ rules, you made the strategic decision to deploy your gamblers to this high lucrative game. This is centralized decision making. You then explained the principle of feedback to your employees and how it can be used to help them make better tactical decisions – you decentralized the execution.
If only life were so simple … 
Very soon the casino discovers your strategy and changes the rules.  News of the changes will quickly propagate through your network of gambler employees. 
Now, let’s imagine your Gamblers are not allowed to take the initiative to stop gambling or even to look for new ways to make money, at the same time they inform you that the dice are no longer loaded in their favor.

This information flow – from ground to governance – is the second feedback loop and is exactly how firms should operate. Non aligned decisions are avoided by having a clear system of governance. The aim of governance is to only take strategic decisions that will inform all linked actions – execution details and policies are decided on the ground, with support from ‘enablers’ to bridge the gap and provide operational support. In his book about organizing for complexity Niels Pflaeging  describe it by concentric circle . The market is at the periphery.  At scale some centralization might be needed at the center. Of course the more direct the contact is between people at the center and those at the periphery, the better.  Role of people at the center is to take right decision to help those who serves the market. They also always try to reduce cognitive distance between them and people close to the circumference. decentralizeFinding the right balance is not easy: The famous motorbike manufacturer Harley Davidson® took a radical approach to delegate all « non strategic » decision to the factory floor and also to share all business information, including cost margins. Those figures used to be confidential in traditional enterprise but not in Freedom Inc. They also encouraged/required companies in their supply chain to do the same thing.

And the result was quite remarkable – customer satisfaction went up and so did profits. 

Balance Demand against throughput. Cost of delay and visual management

What Theory of constraint say is simple:

  1. identify the constraint
  2. Exploit the constraint
  3. Subordinate the constraint
  4. Elevate the constraint
  5. Do not let the Inertia become the constraint ( Aka Goto step1)
Many tools exist to deals with bottleneck issue. This is an area for creative thinking
Another example is Value Stream Mapping, which focuses on the interdependence of the twin flows of material and information. This is not about scientist calculation of what would be better, but instead is an exercise in learning through observation and visualizing what actually happens.
My 2 cents tip is just to make all task done by the team visible. To do so, there is nothing better that using the room wall.
The most interesting part is to show where work or information is waiting, how long it has waited, and what is the consequence of that wait.  Some teams move a vertical bar to track the number of days expended in an iteration/sprint.  On the factory floor, this would be inventory. In product development, this is just queues.
On the factory floor, this would be inventory. In product development, this is just queues.
One operating principle that Agile uses is to avoid any internal queues inside the team, or limit as much as is practically possible.  This requires an ongoing diligence from the team.  And even with the best intentions there are thousand of reasons to have queues of either information or partially finished products.  The main question is which queue should I take care of first.
Even in agile there are thousand of reason to have queues or either information or partially finished products. The main question is which queue I should take care of first.
Don Reinertsen gives a very good principle to to do that. He suggest to attach an economics indeed a cost to each queue. name for that is Cost Of Delay.
Then the game sounds like the Dice early game of that article. Gamers just tackle the highest cost of delay first.
In Agile, this is I think the best way to order any queue. From initial idea, to funneled idea ( that came with some business and rough estimate assumption) to idea read to be executed, to idea under execution and deployment.

Sized adequately

The book This is Lean describe 4 quadrant:


Flow has been studied for long on highway.   a simple approach is called the Greenshield’s Model.

Greenshield made the assumption that, under uninterrupted flow conditions, speed and density are linearly related. This relationship is expressed mathematically and graphically below.

Diagram of Speed versus Density

This makes as a result

Diagram of Flow versus Density

Mary Poppendick show that batch size has also a tremedous impact on the Flow, smal bacth are less sensitive to load.

Only limitation is the transaction cost, which are fixed cost. In Lean this is called SMED ( Single Minute exchange of Die by analogy to changing die in car parts manufacturing going from days to few minutes in Toyota Produc System). Optimum value is where transaction cost is about the same amount than the waiting cost.

The graph below show how it affects the flow. Here transaction cost is about 1/4 of smaller batches.

When operating over 80% we mainly pay tax, indeed jobs spend far more time in queue than running.

At 80% of load, Big batch cost about 60% more.

Even surprising, I had the chance to see that many times and this is used in all computer congestion algorythm.

Capture d'écran 2015-04-13 08.07.47

All good Agile teams practice this by defining work items that bring value to a customer ideally sized about 1/10 to 1/3 of their fixed iterations duration.

Reduce Work In Process, Deliver Often

Reducing the size of the work is only beneficial if we agree not to do too much work at the same time. This is done by limiting the work in process. This is what Kanban brings to Agile.
Even if this seem obvious, this is the most difficult part of team works. This could mean working with others on something we do not know perfectly because this is the highest priority and not something I know the best. Teams generally need to practices.
One tip here is to look for the numerous kanban games and play some with the full team.
Management could also affect negatively Kanban. Even if they understand the need to have less centralized decision, they might still push for urgent things without going through the Cost of Delay. Just by the fact that management is too often setting goal for the team instead of the customer, many companies has a huge cultural biased against organization for speed. Good news is that more and more company get rid of goals and objective set by management for benefits of goals set by the customers. Jurgen Appelo develops a good vanilla compilation of management tools and techniques that could help having management back into the race of improving the speed.
There is a funny things on limiting WIP, in fact it is not so important to choose precisely what should be that limit. Don Reinertsen show this is indeed following a U curve:
Capture d'écran 2015-03-29 19.07.33
I would rather recommend to look at kanban simulation tool and see how this also reduce dramatically the variability.


We are not used to limit the work in process. Instead we love being busy occupied. Instead we should really take care about developing a Discipline Of Delivery.

  • Our business assumption are not always easy to validate. I will not detail here since Lean Startup would be a far better answer.
  • Due to Cultural and historical biased we tend to over-centralize decision even multiply number of layers. This is the main management roadblock and slow down the full system.
  • Do not start something else before you have reached the quality the end customer will need on the previous items. This is done by making sure there is an agreement on what to do , how much ( Acceptance criteria ) and how well ( Definition of done).
  • Make daily things visible so that you will see bottleneck(s).  There are many ways to do visual management but using a physical wall is my favorite.
  • Spend 15 minute a day describing on that board what’s happened since last day, what ‘ next and what could be done to be faster on the highest cost of delay priority.
  • Make sure you set/collect measurements such as cumulative flow diagrams and have dedicated time at regular intervals to look at how to improve the process/change the WIP limit..


Cognitive distance Cognitive distance is used to describe how two individuals are different, at the knowledge level, but also in the way they perceive and interpret external phenomena, that is to say somehow in their modes of reasoning. Nooteboom (2000, p. 73) defines the concept: « a difference in cognitive function. This Can Be a Difference in domain, range, or mapping. « The more individuals have different functions or « mental models », the more the cognitive distance between them is important.

References Stacey complexity graphs http://www.gp-training.net/training/communication_skills/consultation/equipoise/complexity/stacey.htm

PDCA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PDCA

Principles of product development flow  second generation lean product development.by Don Reinertsen

Introduction to product flow development by Yuval Yeret:  http://fr.slideshare.net/yyeret/introduction-to-product-development-flow?qid=53b5a67d-24ac-4e49-9044-bcca7416097f&v=default&b=&from_search=2

Queuing theory simulation: by Tero Parviainen  http://ss15-teropa.divshot.io/

Organized for Complexity by Niels Pflaeging« >http://fr.slideshare.net/npflaeging/slideshelf

More Than a Motorcycle: The Leadership Journey at Harley-Davidson (Harvard Business School Press. By Rich Teerlink, former CEO and chairman of Harley-Davidson Motor Company and coauthor, with Lee Ozley, of 2000) http://freedomincbook.com/2010/09/03/strategybusiness-presents-freedom-inc/


http://rei.revues.org/3814#tocto1n2 http://fr.slideshare.net/jchyip/balance-demand-against-throughput

https://www.toc.tv/TV/video.php?o=p-16245&ac=sus&mtr=p-16245&open=excerpt&id=17#.VRgfoWY3m1U http://blackswanfarming.com/cost-of-delay/

Phoenix project http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phoenix_Project:_A_Novel_About_IT,_DevOps,_and_Helping_Your_Business_Win

Calculation of the Dice Game:

  2 dices per drop stop if first dice is 1
Fisrt Dice average gain per game average spent per game average gain per game average spent per game
1 40 6,7 20,0 0,0 10,0
2 80 13,3 20,0 13,3 20,0
3 120 20,0 20,0 20,0 20,0
4 160 26,7 20,0 26,7 20,0
5 200 33,3 20,0 33,3 20,0
6 240 40,0 20,0 40,0 20,0
23,3 20,0 22,2 18,3
19,94 18,99
1,167 1,212
casino of course take part of the gain : here 17 %
ROI after taxes: 0,997 ROI after taxes: 1,036

Colibri dans Rupture Douce 3

Rupture douce, un concentré d’Agilité a réitéré en sa saison 3. On y parle d’Agilité à l’échelle de l’entreprise. Page 88, on y lit l’histoire de Colibri décrite plus bas dans ce blog.


Colibri https://twitter.com/colibri21th, c’est l’utilisation du jeux pour montrer en quoi l’invention et la curiosité restent des atouts majeurs surtout lorsque le cadre est devenu exiguë, hyper contraignant. Certains (plus sérieux ?) vont plus loin. https://twitter.com/BellLabsGarage nous parlent d’innovation « Inside The box ». Nous on pense plutôt bac à sable façon Lean startup d’Eric Ries. Un espace de liberté pour créer sans contrainte et sans réel budget. Dan Pink (Drive) nous parle d’Autonomie, de Maitrise et de Finalité. Et si l’ultime finalité c’était juste le bonheur.

Colibri au final crée donc juste du bonheur au travail. Mais en ce faisant il résout les problèmes de silos, juste comme ça, sans pression, sans ce qu’on appelle à tord la résistance au changement. Comme le dit Fabien Bataille : « BINGO Nous venions sans trop nous y attendre de créer un détecteur d’agent du changement de l’entreprise ».

Dans Rupture Douce saison 3 on libère l’agilité, mais en faisant cela c’est l’entreprise que l’on fini par libérer. Lorsqu’on a imaginé Colibri21th avec Fabien Bataille ( http://agile-lean-et-compagnie.com/) on avait pas pensé publier quelques mois plus tard dans un livre préfacé par Isaac Getz vecteur du management libérateur.


A voir: Libérer l’entreprise en 1 min 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrAFpPbz7O4

A lire : http://www.lulu.com/shop/laurent-sarrazin/rupture-douce-saison-03/ebook/product-22004933.html