Agendashift roundup, September 2018

In this edition: On disengagement and Engagement Models; Resource updates; Workshops; Right to Left; Top posts

On disengagement and Engagement Models

The 2-year anniversary post Engagement: more than a two-way street very quickly became a top 5 post for the year, and I’m very glad that it did – it makes some key statements of intent and I’m sure that it’s one we’ll keep referring back to.

Very short version:

  • Disengagement is a real problem, and one cause of it is inept change management, of which Agile by imposition is an inexcusable example.
  • Engagement Models – a very helpful term coined by Daniel Mezick and used in his foreword to my Agendashift book – are approaches designed to involve people meaningfully in organisational change, so that they are engaged in the process rather than disengaged. Agendashift is of course an engagement model, and I list some others (which I regard as complementary, not competitors).
  • Another kind of engagement is also essential to the viability of any organisational unit as it transforms: it must continue to participate in the wider organisation, and in such a way that both sides of any organisational divide will thrive. If you have studied viability, you will recognise that there are huge opportunities for organisational design and leadership development there. Inward-looking framework adoptions only exacerbate the problem meanwhile.

Read the whole thing, and expect to see it developed further in our product offerings and in Chapter 4 ‘Viable Scaling’ of the Right to Left, the 2019 book.

Resource updates

The simulation game Changeban is now quite well tested, and I released version 0.4 this month. Only two things keep it from reaching 1.0:

  1. A page of instructions
  2. An alternative deck that uses playing cards rather than coins as the source of variation

I won’t say that it’s better than Featureban (which has served me wonderfully – not bad for a sleepless night’s work) but Changeban is a better fit for my current needs. I still would recommend Featureban if your main goal is to teach the mechanics, basic practices, and metrics of kanban systems, but use Changeban if you’re focusing on product or organisation-related experimentation. Changeban is also a fun way to tee up our A3 template for hypothesis-based change.

Questions? #changeban and #featureban on Slack.

You may also have caught a sneak preview of a new overview picture:

Screenshot 2018-09-17 09.15.08

After some minor tweaks and reformatting for printing, I’ll add this to the poster deck. If you subscribed to that, expect to receive an update in October sometime.

It’s less linear than the original, and from the very positive feedback I’ve received, it’s both easier to understand and more representative of how Agendashift gets used in the wild. It allows for a lot more “circling round” through Operation (for example between Discovery and Exploration as need and outcomes get better understood through initial baby steps of change), or around Elaboration as assumptions get tested.


We did another Agendashift Studio this month, a cozy workshop for up to 4 participants in my studio office, with lunch at a Peak District farm shop. I was thrilled that two of the four participants were attendees of past workshops back for a second helping, one of whom also brought a colleague! If you’d like to attend a future Studio, announce your interest in the #agendashift-studio channel in the Agendashift Slack – from there it’s basically an exercise in self-organisation.

Then a busy autumn schedule:

Brighton (myself and Karl Scotland) is only 11 days away! There are still places available, and if you’d like a discount code, feel free to use (and share) SHARE15 for 15% off, or get in touch if you believe a bigger discount might be appropriate. Discount-wise, we give preference to employees of public sector and non-profit organisations, but clients, colleagues, and friends of the community will be seen right too 🙂

Right to Left

Monthly status check: 18,824 words, and I’m part way into the abovementioned Chapter 4, ‘Viable Scaling’, in many ways the pivotal chapter. That’s less than 2,000 words added this month but there have been some fantastic book-related conversations that I’ve found very helpful. You know who you are – thank you!

Top posts

  1. Engagement: more than a two-way street
  2. A small departure from the book
  3. “Core or better”
  4. A small revision to Changeban
  5. How the Leader-Leader model turns Commander’s Intent upside down (June)

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We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based emergence of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…

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