Are OpenSpace Agility People Pushing The Idea of Pull?

Some folks say that OSA practitioners are using “push” to encourage “pull.”

They say that OSA people are doing the very same thing they are trying to eliminate, namely the forcing of something on people without their consent.

They say OSA people are “pushing pull.”

But wait: is that really true?

Push” is defined here as when you are able to successfully force someone to do something when it is difficult or impossible for them to opt out. This is the common “best practice” in the world of so-called “Agile transformation.” Agile practices are pushed on teams who had no part in the decision-making process. To opt out, they must quit the job. Nearly every large-scale “corporate” adoption of Agile imposes Agile practices on teams without asking them what they think about it. That’s push.

And then, in theory, “Agile transformation magic happens here.” Except it doesn’t.

Pull” here is defined as a request something, for example “pulling” more work into a workflow, from a queue. Like Kanban. And like Scrum, during the Sprint Planning meeting, where the Team “pulls” as much into the Sprint as they think they can complete.

Pull” as applied to OSA is when executives invite employee participation, to “go somewhere” or “do something,” and that invite results in a YES. That’s Pull. It’s the opposite of Push.

So here is the difference: if you do not like OSA, and someone is “pushing” it constantly on Twitter (for example,) you have options.

You have ‘outs.’ You can opt OUT. You can Unfollow. Unfriend. You can even Block.

The key difference is that you have options… and employees don’t. Employees have few if any “outs” where Agile is concerned, unless they quit.

They have no outs except to quit: and quitting one job and finding another a serious undertaking if there ever was one. Finding and starting a new job  is stressful. And risky. And time-consuming.

See the difference?

In the Twitter situation, you can opt-out. You can stop listening. Stop Following. You can even Block.

In the at-work “Agile transformation” situation, the employee has no outs. No options. Nothing.

Except to QUIT.

This means pushing practices like Scrum on teams is fundamentally lacking in respect for people. Because they have no “outs.”

So, please stop pretending that spreading an idea like OSA, to a public  audience with options— with ‘outs‘– is the same as executives pushing Agile practices on employees without their consent.

This not at all an apples-to-apples compare. Not even close!

And it is actually very misleading (dare I say deceptive and manipulative?) to say that it is.

Because clearly, it’s not.

So, please stop it. Because while it sounds good on the surface, by logic, this argument makes no sense whatsoever.

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