Thursday, February 01, 2018

Top-down or Bottom-up adoption strategy for LeSS adoption

Adopting a new framework, process, methodology or an idea into a large enterprise requires a strategy. A decade ago, while participating in large-scale agile deliveries, I saw quite a bit of success, and I attributed that to the support from the senior management. 
I was so impressed with the success that, I authored an article about the importance of top-down agile adoption strategy. That is, a strategy that is not only endorsed but has complete support from the CxO or chairman of the company. 
Fast forward, I have realized that top-down strategy is insufficient. I saw two problems going solely with this approach:
  1. Any endorsement or support from the top management is taken as a "command" by the rest of the enterprise in a hierarchical org setting. No one at the bottom of the pyramid dares to question, and adoption becomes a tick in the box to please the top management.
During the initial years of my career, while working at the bottom of the pyramid as a developer, I used to look up and used to feel that the CxOs as the most influential people. I used to question many times, why are they struggling to make a simple decision. 
2. However, when I had the opportunity to be a Vice President during my tenure with one of the Big 4 consulting firms, I realized that everyone is equally powerless :-). 
So, it is futile to believe that getting a CxO to endorse a strategy does not mean that everyone will accept the idea with a whole heart. 
If top-down does not work all the time means, should we say bottom-up approach works? 
As we know, a developer or someone at the bottom of the hierarchy could get inspired by an idea, however, it is quite challenging to go through the mazes uphill to get the necessary support in big enterprises.
Keeping the above constraints in mind, Manns and Rising explain,
It is not top-down or bottom-up, but participative at all levels—aligned through a common understanding of a system. 
If you are keen to learn more adoption specifically from the LeSS perspective, please join me in my upcoming trainings, the details are as below:

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