Review Blue Striped Frog – The agile community – Magazine (1st edition)

Last week I received a few copies of a brand new magazine from Vincent Snijder, the editor in chief. A magazine for the Blue Striped Frog community of professionals who are engaged in transformations towards increasing organizational agility. At this moment there aren’t that many physical magazines focussing on project management, agile, or agility anymore.

I am probably old fashioned but I still prefer a physical edition above a digital edition. Looking at the overload of online blogs, articles, complete magazines etc, I often start reading but in many cases not finishing the digital magazine. When it’s a physical edition, it’s on the table, waiting to be read completely. For this magazine both options are possible (see below).

The editors sees the blue stripe frog as a cool name (I agree and I assume it has nothing to do with the poisonous blue stripe frog you can find in the rain forests of South America).

Let’s look at the content.

The editor in chief opens the magazine with some froggy talk about transparency, the theme of this first issue.

Hans van Leeuwen and Henk Venema were privileged to speak with Kate Collins and Andrik de Jager, both Global directors IT at royal BAM Group. In this interview we see how they constructed an agile future. A future where multiple disciplines are working together efficiently towards shared goals. An agile future that enables BAM to quickly adapt to  changes, attracting and retaining talent and facilitates transparency.

Tim Wiegel takes us in the world of the Obeya concept. Obeya is a big room where goals, performance and activities are visualized and physically displayed on walls to make others aware of the context in which they are working. A bit confusing is the fact that the author talks about himself in the third person and makes a little bit too much advertisements for his upcoming book and training. On his website you can download a copy of the Leading with Obeya – Reference Model. https://www.leadingwithobeya.com

Hélène Propsma, Ilse Tacoma and Jos van Oost put leaders of organizational transformations in the spotlights. Leaders often underestimate their own resistance of uncertainties. What does change mean to those leaders and do they know it from themselves? Do they trust the method? How do they handle pressure? Do they dare to let go? How agile are they? How do they react if their teams make mistakes? And can and do they do they want to be responsible for the results that are not completely defined in advance?

Henk Venema talks about the power of aligned autonomous teams. How can you achieve faster time to market, improved, customer experience, higher productivity and a great place to work? What to do if your organization operates in silos, with many managerial layers, where bureaucracy is in the driver seat and staff feel like a cog in the wheel and the focus is on efficiency and costs. Are you take a step-wise transformation (e.g. in line with the SAFe implementation roadmap), an all-in approach (compare ING transforming their entire organization, not only product and IT, with obeys-rooms and QBR’s to align) and the emergent transformation.

Marcel Riemersma makes the analogy between organizations and some animals. Will you be the rabbit or the leopard. Will you stay put and wait for the ‘hype’ to pass by? Or will you act and chase the opportunity to become an agile organization? Are you a rabbit staring in the headlights of organizational agility and thinks, not my cup of tea or do you become the leopard. The predator who openly hunts for the customer and the competition despite the efforts involved.

Henk Venema shows, based on the results of a questionnaire, that agile organizations are better equipped to adapt to a pandemic disruption due to the rhythms and routines, scaled processes, transparency, motivated teams, organizational layers and facilitating leadership.
In the final article, Hans van Leeuwen elaborates how an agile way of working can be of use during a restart of organizations after the lock down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the tip and myth pages, brief explanations of the tips to create remarkable transparency, and communicate frequently and the myths that agile organizations do not need leadership, and by putting sticky notes on the wall things get better.

Conclusion I like this new magazine. It contains a mix of best practices, interviews, real life cases, a little bit of philosophy, some tips and myths and a cartoon at the back. Looking forward to the second edition.

If you want to receive all the upcoming issues of the Blue Striped Frog Magazine for free (physical or digital edition) you can subscribe at https://www.bluestripedfrog.com 

To become part of the Blue Striped Frog community you can join the community on LinkedIn to be inspired, to learn and to share: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8762445/

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