The following is a response to Niels Pflaeging’s essay Change Is More Like Adding Milk To Coffee published in the collection, Best Agile Articles 2017 (edited by Michael de la Maza, CEC & Cherie Silas, CEC).
The concept of change being something tangible, that can be forced into play isn’t exactly true. For every moment that we are breathing, and the Earth is spinning, change is occurring, plants are growing, and wilting simultaneously. We are trapped in a perpetual cyclone of transition; never fully formed and never completely changed.
The sky has never been the same; it may appear blue, or grey, or white, but, everything about it is individual. It cannot be replicated, no matter how similar the blue-sky-days may appear. Change is the same, it’s always there, always looming over us, an omen down to interpretation. We must simply coexist.
However, instigating change, taking the initiative to move in one direction, with, or against, the wind, is a different matter. Each step you take, whichever direction you’re going in, is very much a change. You are further away from where you were just moments ago. It is the same when making changes at work. Although, there may be plans, blueprints, graphs, charts and meetings. Each moment you are in this theoretical limbo between point A and point B, you are, simply existing, like the sky, at change.
Many imagine embarking on a mission of change to be like a journey. They see a hero, heading out into the world on a quest, battling every obstacle in your way, and coming back having been blessed with a perspective he didn’t previously have. But is that necessarily accurate? Every second has been, and is past, and every moment that will be is the future. You just constantly exist between them, constantly in them, in the now.
When you make the decision to change, you are changed; because, you have chosen to no longer be as you once were, just a second prior.
Allowing new systems to be allowed into place at work is similar. Every aspect of the your working day is change; each word from a colleague’s mouth, every transaction, and every moment when mistakes are made. Missteps, miscalculations and errors are part of change; an indicator of something that is, or should be. Something better can replace areas that nobody saw as a problem, just like when you put your hands up to shield your eyes from the sun. Do you turn away from the warmth, or move toward it?
Are you the same person you were when you started reading? Or, like the clouds have you drifted toward a pole, perceiving these ideas as fact, or false? And, if so, surely, you know what the answer is.
Based in London, U.K., and founded in 2016 by Arvind Mishra The Agile Works (www.TheAgileWorks.com), is an up-and-coming recruitment and Agile consulting company. Arvind is a Certified SAFe SPC and regularly delivers both private and public SAFe certification workshops.
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