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Q & A with Simon Powers

As part of the build up to the Study of Enterprise Agility Conference (SEACON) in November, I caught up with Simon Powers , Founder of Adventures with Agile, and asked him a few questions.

At SEACON, Simon will be delivering an interactive Enterprise Agility workshop.

Here's what he had to say...

SEACON is now in its 3rd year. How have you seen the adoption or focus on Enterprise Agility practises change in this time?

In 3 years, I have see the Agile community move away from frameworks and process led 'transformations' to people led and coaching styles of change. However, many entry level change participants are still trying and failing with centralised process led change programs. I have seen more engagement from senior leaders as it has become obvious that telling others to change and not changing yourself is not going to fly. I am also seeing a huge effort to involve all parts of the organisation and not just technology / digital. There is still a very very long way to go before good people focused practices are adopted by even an early majority of organisations.

Adventures with Agile work with many large global institutions training them on Enterprise Agility best practise. What are the reoccurring themes you see when helping them in this manner ?

The themes are the same across all sectors and industries. The themes are lack of engagement in personal change from leadership, command and control deployments, lack of good organisational structure and process choices, poor emotional intelligence and lack of psychological safety that hampers innovation and creativity, still a huge focus on output over outcome, and even now, there is still a belief that building software is a predictable endeavour. On a more positive note, the uptake of trying to make it work is growing and more and more organisations are realising their current ways of working don't work as well anymore for customers, for staff, and for profitability over the long term.

AWA also use coaching to help organisations succeed without spending millions on management consultants. What role does a coach play in this and what makes a great coach?

A coach helps align the individual and team behaviours, and whole organisation's culture to be in alignment with the their goals. A good coach inspires, invites, and encourages rather than tell, sell, or convince. A good coach can be measured by the success of those they coach and the lack of resistance they encounter.

With DevOps “shifting left” further into leadership and the boardroom, why do you think it’s important to view Enterprise Agility as a discipline in its own right?

Organisations are large, complex, and support people's livelihoods and our economy. Updating organisations to face the type of challenges we face today is serious business and not to be taken as a side project. The role of the change agent at the Enterprise level involves multiple disciplines from growing leaders, understanding people and how they cope with change, to good organisational design and customer focus. Making mistakes is costly at this level and it is important to have people who are trusted and have done it before. Certification from a trusted source such as ICAgile, ICF, and other ethically based standards providers is becoming increasingly important.

Finally, who are you most looking forward to seeing talk at SEACON this year?

All the speakers sound like they will be worth listening to. I am really looking forward to it ;)

Find out more about SEACON by visiting

Buy tickets from Eventbrite with Simon's £50 discount code by clicking on this link.

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