Why being Agile can not be achieved without starting to cycle
Published on Monday, January 4th 2021
In our previous blog post, we exposed our craving for predictability, our paradigm of causality and the habit of using ‘controlled environments’ when we are producing IT. And we explained why this is the main obstacle in becoming a high performer and Agile as an organisation. We tend to always complete the standard cause-and-effect picture: All thought-patterns are directed this way.
We at Cycle To Accelerate love cycling. In cycling we do not yet know why a top-heavy bicycle can stay upright when we cycle on it. What we do know is that the cycling system --cyclist plus bicycle -- becomes better at it by doing it. The system seems to be antifragile because it learns from little mistakes and becomes more accurate and stronger over time, and therefore performance increases. Tacit knowledge is built up implicitly during cycling and it grows when you tackle bigger challenges. The funny thing is that a human does not need to think about how to get better at it because it just happens while doing it. As a result an experienced cyclist can jump on a bike and ride off immediately.
Cycling is the key to becoming a high performer, and performance makes an organisation Agile by nature.
Let’s have a closer look at similarities between cycling and producing IT within an organisation:
Based on the above the only way within an organisation to steer IT production to the needed outcome is to do it through the principles of cycling. When cycling, you can look ahead far enough to have overview and at the same time gain new insights in how to deliver a better or even high performance. And while looking ahead you are just fast enough to adapt to small variations and learn without cycling into a deep pothole.
Being Agile can therefore only be done by behaving like a cyclist and producing IT through knowledge-based production with freedom of making many small mistakes to support evolution in the production chain. We all know that knowledge and craft is developed when performing production activities. When producing IT together with a great team under great circumstances without too much waiting, we achieve the ultimate state of flow resulting in a high performance.
The cycling way also forces us to improve on our IT-production process. When making IT that is too fragile or too robust, we will be corrected in the process along the way and feel the pain of re-engineering. Constantly looking for better, more adapted ways in making IT to survive the changing circumstances teaches us to work antifragile.