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Arie van Bennekum on the Liquid Manifesto

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In this podcast Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Arie van Bennekum about Liquid Manifesto, a transformation framework to help organisations shift from old paradigms to new ones.

Key Takeaways

  • The Liquid Manifesto is a transformation framework to help organisations shift from old paradigms to new ones 
  • Changing paradigms is the most difficult thing to do because bringing in new paradigms takes time and old paradigms define reflexes under stress
  • Your organisation has the have the capability to respond to change, if not you die
  • A Liquid organisation has people and teams who can work independently while remaining coherent, flowing together towards a common goal 
  • A liquid organisation has a common cause, you know why you are there, you are connected while being very self-organising and you look for continuous improvement

Show Notes

  • 00:32 Introductions
  • 01:02 Focusing on delivering value rather than working on predictably failing projects 
  • 01:42 The moral problem with wasting public money 
  • 02:08 There is always an excuse to sustain the status-quo, despite knowing that new ways are needed
  • 02:22 Stop nagging – start doing.  Is something is wrong you have three options – accept, change or leave
  • 03:09 Focusing on agile transformations over the last 10 years 
  • 03:31 Many organisations are undertaking transformations yet not achieving the benefits of agile 
  • 03:42 Helping organisations become agile and achieve the benefits 
  • 03:52 The Liquid Manifesto is a transformation framework 
  • 04:03 The biggest problem in an agile transformation is that you shift paradigms
  • 04:12 Changing paradigms is the most difficult thing to do because bringing in new paradigms takes time and old paradigms define reflexes under stress 
  • 04:32 The Spotify approach is not a model – it was just a way that worked for them at that point in time
  • 04:54 The liquid manifesto provides some principles as guidance around how organisations can structure and work to deliver technology products and services more effectively 
  • 05:27 Agile is inevitable because it gives the organisation the ability to respond to change, which is critical in today’s business environment because the pace of change is constantly increasing 
  • 05:48 Your organisation has the have the capability to respond to change, if not you die
  • 06:25 Technology disrupts business models 
  • 06:46 You may have an extremely fast IT department but without agility at the highest levels then you it doesn’t matter
  • 07:58 If you build the wrong stuff in the right way you still get nowhere 
  • 08:14 Examples of projects that have wasted hundreds of millions of Euros 
  • 09:02 While there are some massive complex problems to be solved, over 95% of work in most organisations is either improving the business we currently have or developing new areas and new business models
  • 09:27 Air traffic control as an example of the other 5% where change can be slower 
  • 09:29 Examples of the types of fields where disruptive change is happening and rapid change is necessary for survival 
  • 10:07 While these ideas have been around for a quite a while, but people don’t want to change 
  • 10:36 Many of the people who run organisations want to maintain the status quo rather than respond to change
  • 10:58 The middle-management layer in many organisations is “permafrost”, not open to change
  • 11:25 Standing still is falling behind die
  • 12:25 There is a lot of agile in name only adoption 
  • 13:09 Telling the story of Arie’s switch to working in self-organising teams in 1997
  • 13:41 The experience of working in this way, focused on business value became the inspiration for Arie’s contribution to the Agile Manifesto 
  • 14:41 The longer you remain with an organisation the more rigidly you align with the paradigms and the harder it becomes to change
  • 15:05 Contrasting old and new ways of working 
  • 15:21 Most managers interfere in the day to day activities and requirements rather than trusting their teams to do what is needed 
  • 15:34 The dangers inherent in silo structures 
  • 17:05 Introducing the Liquid Manifesto book
  • 17:18 You need to clarify and expose what constitutes value in your organisation and product 
  • 17:36 Examples of ways to find value 
  • 18:04 Start by generating data that helps to identify value 
  • 18:28 Examples of how agile/digital transformations can be approached
  • 19:10 The panic around wasted money on cancelled projects vs the seeming lack of concern about not having the solution in place shows that the perceived solution had no value 
  • 20:00 A Liquid organisation has people and teams who can work independently while remaining coherent
  • 20:21 Liquid means flexible – able to change direction while flowing together 
  • 20:41 The value of architecture as a goal framework 
  • 20:58 Exploring the finance industry as an example of organisations that need to change and how they are limited by the legacy 
  • 22:00 The liquid manifesto provides principles and guidance around ways to make the changes needed 
  • 22:38 Transformation takes time 
  • 22:41 The value of technical excellence in enabling liquid architecture
  • 23:17 If you want to have a liquid organisation then silos must be broken and the whole business aligned 
  • 23:31 Quoting Winston Churchill “Perfection is not a state, it is an ambition” 
  • 24:12 Agile as a core capability which spans all areas of the organisation 
  • 24:40 A liquid organisation has a common cause, you know why you are there, you are connected while being very self-organising and you look for continuous improvement
  • 25:10 Continuous improvement requires accepting that it’s OK to say that you can do better – it’s not a criticism 
  • 25:25 Working in a liquid organisation feel natural and flowing – you can get the best out of yourself in a safe environment
  • 25:38 The importance of the common cause  
  • 25:58 For people who suffer from old paradigms this shift is not easy 
  • 26:27 The importance of taking personal responsibility in a trusting environment 
  • 27:08 The importance of leadership as a role model for change 
  • 27:28 Don’t tell people what to do – give them strong support and safety so they can find the best ways for themselves 
  • 28:26 The people who resist change have logical reasons for doing so – you need to help them see the benefits for themselves 
  • 28:51 Examples of organisations who failed because of management decisions, not because of team and individual actions 
  • 29:01 Sustainable change takes years 
  • 28:28 The value in enabling the management layer to become change leaders for the new ways of working – moving from permafrost to becoming the lubricant of transformation 

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