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You Said Transformation - what do you mean?

Do we mean the words we use - or do we just use them because everyone else does...  you know like the popular buzz word in corporate bingo?  Let's take the word Transformation, as in:

"Hi team, I will be you Agile Coach - let's all do the Agile Transformation thing together.  Out the other end of this transformation we will be a changed company."

Some definitions of Transformation:
  • a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.
  • a metamorphosis during the life cycle of an animal.
  • (in physics) the induced or spontaneous change of one element into another by a nuclear process.
In an organizational context, a process of profound and radical change that orients an organization in a new direction and takes it to an entirely different level of effectiveness.

Some in the agile world are pulling against this trend... see Dan Mezick's The PUSH of Agile Causes "Trance Formations".
So stop that. And do these things, instead:
  1. Encourage executives and managers to refrain from making decisions for the teams that Scrum very clearly defines as belonging to those teams.
  2. And then, encourage teams to make the decisions that Scrum says are theirs (and theirs alone) to make.
Let's talk about the images this term, transformation creates.  A typical example is the metamorphosis that the caterpillar performs to become the butterfly.  To achieve this transformation the caterpillar spins a chrysalis and then digest itself into protein soup to fuel the development of the butterfly.  Imagine the energy required to perform this feat.  Is your company ready to spend 50% of it stored resources to perform a transformation?

TED-Ed Lessons has a nice video on the Metamorphosis of butterflies and so many of our insect neighbors.

Now let's talk about mental models.  What's the purpose of a mental model - to share it... in this sharing scientific experts have come to understand that the brain waves of the people synchronize into very similar patterns.  One area of research is emotional contagion. “During successful communication, speakers’ and listeners’ brains exhibit joint, temporally coupled, response patterns.” Speaker-listener neural coupling underlies successful communication, is a paper discussing this magic coupling of two people's mental models.

So what do you mean when you say Agile Transformation?  Are our brains in sync?  Do we have similar wave patterns setting up in our minds?  Perhaps not.

Sohota's Guide
What other words might we use to describe the phenomenon? 
  • Approbation
  • Conversion
  • Evolution
  • Exploration
  • Journey
  • Peregrination
  • Procession
  • Progression
  • Quest
  • Transition
  • Venture
  • Wayfaring

Another from of Transformation occurs for Uber - the Board mandates a transformation.
Uber Board Unanimously Approves All Holder Report Recommendations; Details Secret Until Tuesday

Here's a story of a company that said they wanted to be inclusive - yet have a difficult time behaving that way.  Antisocial Coding - My Year at GitHub by Coraline Ada Ehmke.

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