There is the notion of – The ONE Metric that Matters. I want to translate that metric into the agile transformation space. 

You could also replace agile transformation with:

  • Lean Change Initiative

  • Agile Adoption

  • Digital Transformation

  • DevOps Strategy

  • Organizational Agility

I know, you’re heavy with anticipation. What IS the ONE Metric?

It’s engagement vs. disengagement. That is, how are your leaders affecting the engagement of your teams as they shift the organization towards more of an agile approach? 

Another way of looking at it is this,

  • If the leaders are engaging and pulling their team members into the process of the transformation. Asking them instead of telling them, then they are engaging;

  • However, if the leaders are more telling them what to do, deciding which specific agile frameworks and tools will be used, and then telling them from “on high”, then they are disengaging.

Of course, it’s not quite as simple as this, but you certainly get the idea.


Mike Burrows has created a model for engaging an organization as part of an agile transformation. He calls it Agendashift. You can read more about the model here –

Here’s a quote that illustrates the problem –

Just as anywhere else, disengagement is a very bad sign in the context of [Lean-]Agile transformation. It’s a sign that the change agents (managers, consultants, coaches, etc) don’t know what they’re doing! If people are disengaging because there’s the perception that they have no say in how things are going to work inside their teams, it strongly suggests that they have been denied the opportunity to participate meaningfully in the transformation process. This represents an inexcusable failure to engage on the part of the change agents responsible. It would seem that engagement is a two-way street (actually it’s more four-way intersection than two-way street, but we’ll come to that).

But as Mike acknowledges, there are other models that focus on increasing employee engagement in the change/transformation to agile thinking, execution, and delivery. I’m just discovering agendashift. I’ve been studying Bossanova and am quite familiar with OSA from Dan Mezick.

The common denominator in all of them is a focus on engaging team members fully in the process of change. That you’re not changing them, but you’re creating a container where everyone explores a future state (and helps it to emerge) together.

Steve Denning spoke about the key thing in a Business Agility change is achieving an Agile Mindset. That’s the real goal and focus. But the challenge is…that is not something you make people do or you do to them. It’s something we all need to do to ourselves.

That’s the shift…and the key metric.

The Metric

The one metric assesses engagement on a scale of 1 to 10. Consider it a Net Promoter Score (NPS) for transformation engagement.

I’ve setup a brief engagement survey to capture the metric, and some supporting information, from organizations around the globe. It’s an anonymous survey so no worries about personal/organizational information being stored or shared.

I’m simply looking to get a sense for the “State of Agile Engagement” that generally exists today.

Wrapping Up

Please fill in the survey. It will take you less than 5 minutes to complete. I’ll share the results later as an addendum to this post.

I’m really curious to see what the “state of the art” is in our community when it comes to the real level of engagement or disengagement.

Please pass this along to other colleagues in your network…

Stay agile my friends,


As an aside, here’s a wonderful HBR article that aligns with this post. It explores the need to explain why in organizational change –

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