The head of the division stood in front of 3,000 employees and stated
"... and after we are done going agile, I won't be surprised if one third of you will be gone."You could have heard a pin drop. I rarely hear deafening silence, but I heard it that day.
He went on to explain...
"...some of you are managers. You are not the type of managers we will need. Some of you are employees, you won't be comfortable working this way. The pressure will go up, but the motivation and reward will also."And finally...
"This is okay. It is where we are going. We are committed to it. I accept that this will happen and am respecting you enough to say it right now. Many of you worked hard to help us get to here, but that doesn't mean it will continue to be a good home for you."(disclaimer: for those who were there with me that day, I know these weren't the exact words... but they were the message!)
9 months later I remembered that statement and I glanced around. I realized I was working with different people. I was on an awesome team. The team I was on before was really good, but they were all like me... the same role. Now I was on a team with really smart hard-working people that weren't like me. We were all different roles and we all have to think and work together to be successful. It WAS harder, but it was ALSO more fun.
And yes, we lost a lot of people. The people that just wanted to tell other people what to do were gone. They either left or were removed. The people who liked sitting in cubes and being told what to do left also.
This is why my first agile experience was so revolutionary. I doubt many of you had such a hard immersion through the transition, but it was wonderful!
The question is, who was left on the sidelines through all of that? Mike Cottmeyer wrote a good piece on this yesterday. How do those remaining managers adapt?