Present and Future of Agility — Interview with Angel Diaz

During the Global Scrum Gathering that took place in Denver from June 5–8 this year, Maria Matarelli, organized and led the Comparative Agility interview series, where she hosted some of the thought leaders in the Agile industry. Maria is an Executive Coach, Consultant to the Fortune 100, Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), and an international best-selling author. She is also the author of the Personal Agility survey featured on Comparative Agility.

An Agile Coach Angel Diaz was one of Maria’s guests at the conference. Angel is a very energetic and forward-thinking Agile Coach who specializes in Leadership development and organizational Agility. Throughout his 14+ years of hands-on experience as a coach, trainer, and mentor Angel has provided expert guidance to achieve remarkable growth for organizations and agile leaders.

The following is an excerpt of Maria’s interview with Angel.

Maria: What are some of the highlights for you at the Global Scrum Gathering?

Angel: Connections. The willingness to make change because I believe both industries can lend themselves to a new reality. So I see this potential, this new energy as a willingness to adapt ourselves.

Maria: What do you see as some of the biggest challenges that organizations face as they’re looking at transitioning to Agile?

Angel: When implementing the framework, or Scrum or Kanban, or any other framework, communication becomes a goal itself. People get disconnected from the actual results that they need to pursue, such as being more responsive to the market, creating better connections, and interactions within the company, etc.

Agile is not the goal. The goal that we’re trying to achieve as a business is keeping our focus.

Maria: What would you say is your role when you engage with companies in transformation? How can you help or shift where they’re at to where they want to be?

Angel: I think the real power is to build competencies inside the company. So they don’t depend on me, but instead, they evolve as leaders internally. So they have the competencies not only into agile, and what can agile give to their businesses, but also incorporating the leadership abilities required to make it happen themselves. So building competencies is a key factor in how organizations make this happen.

Maria: What do you see as the biggest way to get the organizational buy-in?

Angel: Buy-in should be connected to a specific goal. Put the question on what is happening now in our company? What is our biggest pain, the biggest threats in the market? So we understand why we do agile. And later this is what we expect to get from agility. And once that is clear, and we know what we want to be in the future, we might explore the ways within the Agile umbrella, which will help us reach those goals. So making that gap clear, and creating a common understanding within the company is a key way to actually get results and later, the frameworks and practices.

Maria: Where do you find that you’re able to make the biggest impact while working with the companies?

Angel: Getting people to agree on the context. When you get leaders to agree on what’s that one thing that we have in common, and we align our efforts towards solving that problem, or towards solving that challenge that we’re facing, and it’s the most important one, only, then you can actually point towards a specific direction.

Maria: Yes, alignment, is so incredibly important. Having everyone on the same page, having that shared vision, and understanding why they’re making the change in the first place. So Angel, what do you see as the future of agility and organizational teams?

Angel: I really love that question. So now we have several new products in the market every hour, in the past, we had several new products every year. And now what’s happening, we have disruptions in the market. Agility is the ability of an organization to respond when they decide to respond and participate in the market. But resilience is the ability to respond when you don’t say when the business didn’t decide something is happening. So these abilities will be required more and more in businesses in the future. And business agility is a prerequisite for personal resilience. If you’re not able to adapt when you decide, you won’t be able to adapt when you don’t decide.

Maria: Thank you and I’ve always appreciated hearing you speak at different conferences, hearing your thoughts on how organizations can be more effective, and thank you for sharing them with us here today.

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