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Building Sponsorship for Agile

Building Sponsorship for Agile

When executives are slow to embrace Agile, the rank and file can lead the way.

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Building Sponsorship for Agile

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Q. How can low, middle or regular employees show the value of Agile mindset for large organizations?

Author Darrell Rigby responds: I’m a believer in Gandhi’s approach to change: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.” Sometimes, we “regular” people assume nothing can change until senior leaders do. It turns out that’s not true.

Agile teams definitely work better with senior sponsorship, and executive support will ultimately be important to scaling Agile throughout the enterprise. But Agile innovation teams work better than current approaches, and Agile principles hold that making immediate progress beats waiting for perfect solutions before starting out. Tens of thousands of Agile teams have operated for decades without much awareness―let alone active support―from CEOs. About two-thirds of Agile practitioners report higher team morale, increased productivity, greater ability to manage changing priorities, and faster time to market than they were experiencing before.

So, rather than debating the advantages of Agile teams, why not start demonstrating them? Executives, like other customers, may not know what they want until they’re shown it.  We can start by adopting Agile principles and practices in our own work. Share them with our teams. Create results and passion that are impossible to ignore. Build beacons of inspiration for the rest of the organization. My personal experience is that this―unlike bureaucratic management fads―leads to positive and meaningful change that actually sticks.


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