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Enterprise Agility Transformation

Balancing human and nonhuman elements

6 June 2017

Venkatesh Rajamani
Freelancer( Independent Coach)

I have been on my Agile journey for more than five years now. When I look back and reflect on my experience, there were many aspects that helped me reap successful transformations. I think they might help you too. Of course, there are also elements that will drag you down. I am listing some of those that might increase your chances for success.

Human elements

Being Agile is different from just doing Agile. Focus on aligning human elements, such as leadership and people. What are we going to agree to do? If we say "yes" for this, what are we going to say "no" to? This requires a switch from the current mindset. How do we change the mindset, if Agile is an art as well as a science and doesn't work (fully) when human elements are not aligned?

Nonhuman elements

The counterpart to the human elements are the nonhuman elements, such as process, strategy, and tools. The nonhuman elements help with qualitative and quantitative evidence-based management of data for better inspection and adaptation. Aligning the nonhuman elements is a cakewalk only when the human elements are engaged and aligned.

Balancing the human with the nonhuman elements

How do you balance the human elements with the nonhuman elements?

For any transformation to be successful, the philosophy that has worked for me has been to focus more on the human elements to bring about a change that sustains and creates an affirmative environment. Focusing only on nonhuman elements will severely affect the culture of any organization. In my experience the culture is sustained only if all four aspects — leadership, process, people, and strategy — are balanced.

Identify people who are close to the "edges" of welcoming change, and help them traverse through the transformation phase; these human elements will be the catalysts for your transformation and will help you create an affirmative environment that will pull others in. These people are your promoters.

Do not focus on those people who are far from transforming; that tactic will prevent you from reaping immediate fruitful results. If you try to pull people who are less willing to embrace change, you fall into the trap of creating detractors, which creates fear and skepticism about the transformation.

Closing thoughts

Though these tips cannot guarantee a successful transformation, considering them will help you to focus more on the people aspect rather than the process aspect, which is a significant step toward being Agile instead of doing Agile.

Please send your feedback.

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

Article Rating

Current rating: 4 (8 ratings)


Bharathi T M, CSP,CSM, 6/7/2017 5:00:20 AM
Any thoughts/suggestions on influencing the non-promotors to becoming promotors?
Tim Baffa, CSM, 6/12/2017 8:33:17 AM
Agreed. It is a common strategy to focus on those more willing to embrace change, in order to create internal "champions" of the Agile transformation. The potential "detractors" are part of the organization as well. What are some strategies to help them see the light?
Venkatesh Rajamani, CTC,CSP,CSM, 7/7/2017 10:01:54 AM
Good question, Some of the following will help but doesn't guarantee because this will have to be handled case by case basis

1. Do nothing about " Detractors"
The very first thing we can do about Detractors is to do nothing out focus is to look for catalysts and who are close to edge in order to show small success to gravitate our first catalysts.

2. Show "Detractors" the glimpse of Promising lands

The second way to slowly transform the Detractors to Promoters ( which takes time and patience) is to show them the glimpse of script which creates confidence and disable their skepticism.

3.Relate the needs of Detractors to the needs of the Organization.

The third approach is to relate the needs of Detractors to the needs of Organization , of course change is hard but never try to change their mindset instead try to change the focus of Detractors to see if you can turn them neutral with their opinion first from there take them close to the edges with the help of catalysts.

Having said all, It is always better to "Shrink the change" when approaching Detractors to transform them as promoters.

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