Lately I’ve been struggling with the question of how we can incorporate strategic weaknesses into organizational design. What I mean by that is not to design around them, or how to deal with them, but to consciously and purposefully design weaknesses into organizations. In effect design organizations so they will break (under certain conditions). Please join me as I explain what I’m referring to in more detail, below.

This article is not intended as any kind of definitive statement of facts. …

What is it that makes Agile successful? What makes becoming a truly agile organization so hard? Two questions I believe have the same answer at their core. The answer lies in replacing vicious with virtuous patterns.

Fractal tree gif by Rafael Ruggiero / CC BY-SA

Powerful patterns

Many organizations have started out on a journey of agile transformation. They adopt agile frameworks to help them deliver greater customer value continuously and may be starting to see the first benefits, but what is it that makes agile frameworks work?

Agile works because of patterns. It helps you to start eating apples instead of crisps. In other words, we replace an unhealthy pattern…

The Duplo Scaled Agile game is a short game that illustrates the benefits of organizing in end-to-end feature teams over component teams.

Total duration: 15–30 minutes
Playtime: a few minutes
Reflection: about 15 minutes

Requirements (on the basis of 6 players)*:

  • A Duplo floor plate
  • 36 Duplo bricks (2×2) in six different colors
  • Something to keep time
  • A flip-over or whiteboard and a marker to write down production times
  • 2 pictures of different Duplo structures (such as the ones below)

*it is practical to match the amount of colors to the amount of players. I would recommend a minimum of…

Most of you have probably seen the video ‘How wolves change rivers’ (it’s embedded below). It famously describes how the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone national park changes the entire ecosystem. It triggers changes in deer behavior, which in turn allows vegetation to regrow, which eventually even changes the course of the rivers in the park. It is a powerful story of how you can make a small change and have a big impact. Or is it? It has certainly been used that way. Simply start working in an agile way in a few teams and watch the organization change…

One of the Common Crimes Unit detectives

When training Agile Coaches in the Dutch National Police one of them mentioned to me that he had recently started a Scrum experiment at one Police unit, the Common Crimes Unit in Schiedam. They were using Scrum to deal with their caseload and were having considerable success. They agreed to be interviewed so they could share their experiences. This article is the result of that interview.

Who are you?

We are a team of three full time police officers plus two ‘coordinators’, additionally we have a number of officers that work with us on a rotation basis. …

My colleague Minke’s recent article ‘Getting started as an employee experience chief’ triggered some questions about why we at Organize Agile abandoned Holacracy. It’s not an easy question to answer and while I have my own thoughts on the subject I also asked my coworkers to offer their opinions. This article will offer some insights from our journey, what Holacracy did (and didn’t do) for us, and some learnings should you want to start your own Holacracy experiment.

An example of an organization that uses holacratic roles and circles; Springest. By their own account to great success. (Modeled in Glassfrog)

If you’re unfamiliar with Holacracy, I like to describe it as a way to constantly reorganize and refactor your organization. While it…

Agile is helping to change the future of work. Over the past few years Agile ways of working have spread over a wide range of disciplines and organizations. This happy trend brings with it some key challenges that we as an Agile community need to confront. Some of these challenges are trivial, while others may be a threat to Agile itself. This article seeks to identify these key trends and offer a glimpse of a hopeful future, but also issue the warning that Agile is in need of careful stewardship.

This article came about by talking to various Agile people…

Many organizations when they first start working with scrum or other agile frameworks do so in project teams. These teams stay together for the duration of the project, meet regularly and deliver the project within a short time frame. Usually, such an experiment already yields considerable advantages compared to the old situation because these teams start to rapidly and regularly deliver customer value. They constantly take the latest customer insights and feedback into account when developing their product, and improve their own way of working.

In other words, they are already reaping considerable gains. However, if you want to stay…

Written in Co-authorship with Nienke van de Hoef

Only four years ago — when we explained what we do at birthday parties — only people in IT understood what we meant by Scrum and Agile. Nowadays the use of ‘Agile’ has become a commodity. So much in fact, that it is rapidly starting to become mis- and over-used. The result is an increasing amount of skepticism and the designation of Agile as a hype. …

The Elvis retrospective is most suited to development teams (in the broadest sense of the word) as not all elements might apply equally to run teams or groups that simply have to coordinate their separate efforts. The team should have been working together for a while for all elements to work.


  • Sticky notes
  • Markers/sharpies
  • A (rather bad) drawing of Elvis.


Always on my mind: What is, — or should be — top of mind?
A little less conversation: What are we always talking about but do we not take enough action on. What needs, a little more action?
Now or never: What…

Michiel van Gerven

Agile Coach at Organize Agile and Scrum Company. Really into classic cars

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