Releasing Agility

What the heck is Releasing Agility?

I don’t talk very often about “Agile” or “agile” – I prefer to talk about “Releasing Agility”.

Releasing Agility can happen in any team and in any industry.

Agility – “the power of moving quickly and easily towards your goal or purpose”

Release – “to free from confinement”

In other words – I help you move more quickly and easily towards your business goals, by removing the friction that stands between where you are NOW and where you WANT TO BE.

Of course, this means you need to know where you’re going – if you don’t – I can help you with that too.

Releasing Agility follows a simple process :

  • Step 1Paint a picture of the future.
    • Why are you doing what you’re doing?
    • Communicate it clearly and easily to everyone.
    • Get people fired-up to be working with you on this amazing bright future.
  • Step 2What obstacles are stopping you achieving this future state?
    • Why are you not already doing what you need to be doing?
    • This requires studying real problems; not myths, rumours, opinions and conjecture.
  • Step 3 – Build a team with the right strengths and behaviours to overcome the obstacles.
    • Cooperation, good communication and a sense of team spirit are essential.
    • As a manager or leader you should be able to say with confidence and commitment that “This is the team to get it done”. If you can’t – you have some work to be done.
    • Your team need a plan too.
  • Step 4 – Define and refine the very behaviours and systems needed to overcome the obstacles.
    • Focus on building teams where people exhibit the right behaviours for your company.
    • Behaviours, what people do everyday, are your company culture.
    • Your company ethos, style and culture will be different to others – so refinement of what’s expected is a long term project
    • System of productivity are fluid and should match your organisation and the people who are in it. No single methodology or approach is the right one for all.
  • Step 5 – Iterate, learn and improve through a learning culture
    • Instigate on-the-job-training
    • Make learning a core part of every conversation
    • Conduct root cause analysis

Cultivated Change - 5 Stages Poster


Many change programs or improvement initiatives often lack a plan for people. In my experience, at least in the technology field, there are very shaky people foundations with which to build teams upon.

Strong foundations allow change to develop.

How do you do that? With clarity and kindness to build strong people foundations – people bring about change after all.

And your managers will need to step up too and own the leading of the Systems of Productivity.

As a result you’ll see your numbers move in all of the right directions.

As a side effect of releasing agility in one company we obtained:

  • 3% Churn Rate – people didn’t leave very often – when they did – they often came back!
  • 8% Recruitment Costs – as a blended rate of recruiters, self sourced and referrals
  • SUPER HIGH Engagement Levels measured via a Pulse engagement survey
  • 10 Day Hiring Cycle Times – the elapsed time from first application to a decision (post interview) for candidates
  • CONSISTENT and PREDICTABLE delivery of work – every week, every year – economies of flow – not highs and then lows that happen with scale.
  • RAVING FANS – People who didn’t get hired would go and tell others how great the company was!

If you’re interested in any aspect of Releasing Agility then please don’t hesitate to get in touch and discuss your requirements and needs.

This is available as Consultancy Only.

Consultancy delivered as bespoke work packages. Typically, no less than 5 days. Typically, no more than 6 months. Prices on request – and always based on a day rate.


Don’t throw money at tech and agile consultants though if your foundations aren’t in place (values, management, career development, HR, rewards, people management, process improvement, remunerations or hiring).

Many agile software consultants only know how to address tactical issues around testing, dev and agile. This is brilliant if you have strong foundations. If not, it could be a royal waste of time and money.

I worked with a Bank who had spent £24million in agile consultancy and were no nearer to shipping code than when they started.

Why? Because the very foundations of the culture are not set up to support agility.

Save your money. You cannot buy or force agility – agility must be released at a pace and rate that your business and team can sustain. This is often not what Executives and Managers want to hear, but it is true.

Agility comes from having strong foundations in your culture, brilliant management, HR strategies that support your teams and very clear communication from leaders and managers who inspire.

Agility is nothing more than removing friction towards a purpose, through co-operation and clear communication – but these skills are often in short supply. And many consultants will confuse matters and sell frameworks that may or may not work.

That’s not what I do. I don’t sell agile frameworks.

I help you find the friction points (which will be different for each team and company) and find sustainable ways to work around, through or over the friction.

Your system of productivity (when you’re delivering smoothly and quickly against your business purpose), may resemble a well known framework or it may not. But we’ll start with problems and not with frameworks.

All of this relies on solid foundations.

The good news is I can help you with these core foundations too. 

I knew that move to HR would be valuable in the end 🙂

Here’s how consultants can help

Expertise – It could be that you don’t quite have the expertise yet or you need someone to help spot problems that are holding you back. I have a wealth of experience in building highly productive agile teams in both Technology and HR.

Delivery– Maybe you just need someone to come in and support, nurture, mentor and grow your team – or simply help your team out in times of need. I can help manage, coach, teach or release agility.

Catalyst – I can act as a catalyst for change – this is one of my specialisms and I know how hard it can be to inspire and lead teams through dramatic change. The key is an inspirational vision that is clear, compelling and believable – I can help you craft that, articulate it and communicate it.

Objectivity – Or it could be you need some objectivity – someone to bounce ideas off. Someone to do an audit, assess your plans or help you build a strategy that makes sense.

Teaching and Learning – One aspect of consultancy I really enjoy is teaching and learning. Maybe your teams don’t have the right skills and need some in-person, on the job training (the best form of training). Although I have many training courses, sometimes you and your team may need some on-going training and teaching.

Hiring and Firing people is hard work and it requires an approach that I can help you with. Building and forming teams takes good communication skills, empathy, respect and the ability to truly understand problems. This has been my bread and butter trade for 9+ years. It also requires an awareness and collaboration with HR – this was my life for 2 years in a fast-growing tech company.

This is available as Consultancy Only.