I think some folks have confused being agile with not needing certain structure and process in place to operate an organization. It’s a bit like when agile first got introduced to the world and people thought that to be agile you didn’t require documentation. We all quickly learned that wasn’t the case and that the opposite was true. It was about optimizing not omitting documentation.
The same can be said for being an agile organization. Structure is still necessary and in fact, I’d argue that agile organizations require even more effort to ensure that certain structures are in place and work well; i.e. properly defined roles, good communication and coordination ceremonies, alignment and clarity on requirements, clear business value. You can’t run an organization on ‘what you think works best’ – you need the right structure to ensure that you can scale and respond well.
“He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander.” – Aristotle
But there is another side to structure that we can’t overlook. It’s the side that requires our response and adherence to the structure in place. This is about following the rules so we can do our part, not so we can be robotic. This doesn’t mean that we don’t continuously look to improve our structure, it means that we don’t decide that being independent is more important than being interdependent.
How are you supporting and even working to improve the structure of your organization?