Spreading Effective Vision

October 11, 2012 § 2 Comments

While discussing The Agile Church and Metrics versus Goals, I realized that our organization’s primary motivation for adopting Agile practices is to spread the ownership of effective vision.

That is, we start with a shared belief that vision ought to be:

  1. Effective: timely, clear, actionable & aligned with the organization’s overall purpose
  2. Spread: distributed from the core leadership out to every member
  3. Owned: each person takes responsibility for how they implement that common vision

Working from there, we can adapt techniques from, e.g., Scrum, that will help our organization achieve that goal.

Here are what I consider the most powerful suggestions:

  1. Adopt a mindset of continuously developing and implementing new visions
  2. Care about improving how we do things, not just what we do
  3. Maintain a written backlog of “things worth doing/changing”
  4. Innovate in seasons of 4-8 weeks, tied to, e.g., a sermon series
  5. The leader (pastor) prioritizes 1-3 items from the backlog to focus on each season
  6. The team owns the vision (together) and its implementation (individually)
  7. Define the conceptual goal and practical metrics in terms of the value delivered to the customer (e.g., God)
  8. At the end of each season, celebrate what was accomplished (“thanksgiving”) and reflect on what did or did not go well (“confession”)

To me, the key is moving from strategic once-a-year vision-and-budgeting meetings for leaders towards tactical “sprints” that mobilize the entire organization (congregation).

 

This pace may sound a bit exhausting, but that very awareness forces us to alternate “productive” and “relaxing” sprints to keep the whole community healthy. It is already too easy to fall into ruts where some people never do much while others are continually burning themselves out.  A good process should make explicit important issues that were previously implicit, so we are forced to consciously manage them.

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