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This post is from the CollabNet VersionOne blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.

Last Updated Jun 14, 2010 — Enterprise Agile Planning expert

Change Without Motivation

Enterprise Agile Planning


One of the most potentially dangerous states for a company to be in is   where it is  successful in spite of itself.  Companies that are (or once  were) monopolies have a surplus of cash and little to no competition.   There is arguably little reason for them to change.  Is it possible for a  company in this position to care enough about efficiency to adopt agile  practices?  Historical success can cause a fear of change – if we  try  something else we might fail and we are fine now. Not only is  this  avoidance of change unhealthy culturally, the inability to seek improvement will  eventually lead to drop in  market position of the company.

The  past few years have seen  the adoption of Agile practices in  larger and larger organizations.  At  last year’s Agile conference,  Alistair Cockburn presented a keynote around the  growth and spread of  Agile software development.   One of the cornerstones of agile adoption is a  healthy and desired feedback  loop.  What can we do at organizations  where competition isn’t  an immediate concern?  How can you address a  space with a low appetite  for change?  Is change possible without  motivation?

We live in a time where not only can success happen  quickly,  but failure can happen even quicker. Beyond that, failure can  happen  cheaply. That fact should be a concern to market-leading  organizations  and   a prime motivator.  Cheap failure is equivalent to  efficient, fast  learning.  Your organization might be enjoying a  comfortable revenue  position now, and perhaps the  cost of entry to  your market is high – but the idea / company that  becomes your largest  challenger does not need to come at you from a  replacement angle.  The  company that challenges a financial exchange  does not have to offer all  of the same trading properties or  strategies.  The challenger to an  online auction site might not even  come from commerce but from a  communication channel that then makes  transactions simpler and in more  confidence.

Can change happen without motivation?  No. If you  are having  difficulty finding motivation, then look no further than the  startups of  the past few years along with the current boom of startups  happening  now.  The best of these startups are learning all market  aspects very  cheaply and adapting quickly.   Let this start  your  motivation for seeking continuous improvement and never being   satisfied.  If this doesn’t motivate you – just wait… someone with   less to lose will help motivate you by making you lose a whole lot more.

Read more by Joel Tosi @

The post Change Without Motivation appeared first on VersionOne Blog.


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