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Myth #1 – Workforce needs control

Implementing agile ways of working in an organization is impossible, because people tend to be lazy by nature and thus need to be supervised. This is a myth – let’s bust it!

As a trainer, I’ve been often asked how it is possible to implement agile because “people are what they are”. What they mean by this is that people in general are somewhat unreliable, lazy, and demotivated.

However, other people see themselves as reliable, hardworking and motivated. Which of these views is true, and is it a myth that controlling people leads to better performance – or is actually the contrary the truth, that micromanagement makes people behave more passively?

Agile motivation starts with empowerment, and the assumption that everyone wants to contribute.

Agile thinking is based on the latest motivational theories on human behaviour. Agile motivation includes ideas such as subtle control (a control that feels no control at all), peer motivation by well-working teams and courage (that entrepreneurship takes).

A well-working organization has visibility not only to goals but also to actions taken. Agile companies move faster, which means that visibility needs to be continuous so that proper actions can be taken timely.

Visibility to company goals helps employees to better understand the company strategy and thus be more aligned and self-steering. Visibility to actions taken allows companies to get realistic feedback, adjust strategies, improve operations, and decide actions accordingly.

Agile portfolio management enables modern enterprises to answer the 21st century challenges.

Visibility and alignment starts from the top of the company. Agile portfolio management helps also the top management be better aligned and creates a joined understanding of priorities between business and development.

Did you know that agile portfolio management is part of Scaled Agile Framework, SAFe?



Maarit Laanti

Maarit Laanti is the Head Coach of Nitor. She has done her dissertation on large scale agile transformation. Maarit is one of the contributors of SAFe methodology and is the first certified SAFe program consultant trainer in Finland.