Why is Sensemaking Important for Agile Transformations?

More and more companies are adopting agile and moving away from more traditional approaches. As organizations have realized that agility and tight feedback loops are crucial to remaining relevant in an uncertain business landscape, they have done all they can to transform the way that their organization runs.

These transformations are not easy though. In highly complex ecosystems, bringing any sort of change is going to be challenging, especially when it pulls at the very core of the culture that people are used to. It’s for this reason that many have turned to sensemaking as a tool that can help ease the difficulties of implementing a full agile transformation.

Sensemaking is a narrative-based ethnographic tool that identifies patterns and trends from the stories and anecdotes of your staff, through a combination of open-ended qualitative data collection, and rigorous data collection and analysis. This powerful combo has helped numerous organizations diagnose the problems that are deeper than surface level, allowing them to make a meaningful difference in how their organization functions.

The reason that this works so well in an agile context is because the entire methodology centers around a company culture that can handle complexity and uncertainty as it goes about its day-to-day operations. But it’s not enough that you write that on a mission statement. It needs to become a part of the DNA of the organization, and sensemaking can help you to spot the places where you need to intervene and make some changes.

An agile transformation requires thoughtful change management and a carefully curated strategy that can empower the people involved with the knowledge, resources, and motivation that they need to shift their paradigm. Identifying how to do this in a complex environment requires a very nuanced understanding of your unique situation – the kind of thing that sensemaking can provide. Change fatigue is a very real thing and sensemaking helps to mitigate that by finding the right fit without overwhelming people.

We’ve seen it time and time again with our clients. When they embrace sensemaking and act meaningfully on the insights it uncovers, it helps to transform the human and system complexity into something that can be dealt with. All of this without losing any of the resolution that one would like when approaching these sorts of organizational shifts.

In our opinion, a true agile transformation is simply not tractable without sensemaking to understand your organization on a deep level. This is a people game, after all, and it’s never been more important to dig past the shallow surface and identify the key impediments that are standing in your way. Work with us here at Spryng, and you’ll find that you learn more about your own ecosystem than you ever knew before.

And from there, the agile transformation is at your fingertips.