Brian Robertson discusses how to bring agile to the organizational level. http://holacracy.org.
Agile software methods were some of the early influences in the development of Holacracy as we explored how do we take these principles that transform the way we build software, and apply them in how we do everything in the organization -- how we structure, manage, govern the organization itself. Another way of looking at it, one of the great ironies of agile development, agile software development methods, is that the methods themselves are not agile. What I mean by that is that when you take a method like scrum and you apply it to a team, you get a great agile software development team, but how do you change the rules of the game itself, right? You know, scrum gives you some core roles; you have a scrum master, you have a product manager, product owner, you have all these core roles and core ways of working, which is great, and they give you an agility, but what about when one of those core ways of working needs to shift for your local environment, right? The irony is there's no way built in to change the very definition of the method itself, so the method is not agile. Ironically, and to some extent that serves, because you don't want people that don't know what they're doing messing with that, trying to improve it and screwing up the agility that the method is really designed to instill, and yet of course it needs to adapt to its local environment. And that's also what makes it difficult to apply it beyond a software team, because the methods, the agile methods, are so catered to software development teams, as they should be. So where Holacracy comes in, I think, is giving you, it gives you a way to govern and adapt the rules of the game itself, the rules of the game for how do we organize. And it's not just about changing the core rules of scrum, but extending them. What if your team is in a specific case, for example, I once ran a team doing some video game development, and we were using scrum and extreme programming, and it was great, but we had artists to integrate with, so obviously we needed to adapt or extend some of the way we did scrum to include this different discipline, and how do we integrate it? And of course, there's no way to do that with the agile methods, let alone how do we manage sales and marketing, and the rest of our company. So what Holacracy does is bring you that layer, and kind of the meta-layer, for how we change the rules of the game of how we run our team itself, and it applies to any team, whether you are doing agile software development, or whether you are doing sales and marketing, or anything else. So it's a meta-layer that kind of overlays whatever other processes you're actually doing the work with, for how do you evolve constantly and adapt to anything coming up -- ideas from within, changes to the environment externally. It's a meta-game for agile organization.