DL meetup: Knowledge work, an exploration of human systems using ORSC

Updated: Dec 20, 2018


The fifth meetup focused on exploring the concept of human systems with ORSC - Organisation and Relationship System Coaching.


Source: Empiric assessment of Digital change / Agile adoption challenges with our audience

“Change is difficult” It’s something every client says. We tell people to adopt Agile techniques, we train them to Scrum, and they go back to their desk and nothing changes”. When we talk about systemic thinking in IT, most will associate it to the technical architecture and/or the processes that we operate IT with. Lean and Agile have emerged with a set of best practices and processes to improve the ways of working. So, if we press those processes hard enough into the organisation, surely outcomes will result, right?

And when this does not work, we’ll apply any of the following:

  • We’ll blame the method: “Agile does not work”

  • We’ll hammer it harder: “Every manager’s bonus will depend on their team working Agile by the end of the year”

  • We’ll bring in Consultants to implement bigger solutions: “What you need is SAFe – it’s written on the tin, S C A L E D Agile Framework!”.

  • We’ll copy what those heap start-ups do: “Scaled frameworks are no good, what we need it the Spotify model!”

So what’s missing? IT is knowledge work, and humans are at the centre of the “system” of work. Have you stopped for a second to ask to your people what they think and feel? Have you stopped to hear all the voices of your human system? Have you connected to their dreams and energy, or simply told them to apply a process that will make their output better? Have you ever considered that change might be an edge that your teams are not ready to go over, yet?

How you work with the human systems will not only help deliver your digital system, but it will continuously elevate and unleash the human potential for new creativity, beyond the mechanics of processes or computing. Make things simpler to unleash more uncharted innovation – we could Wardley map this!

In this meetup we explored an approach to work with human systems using ORSC; Organisation Relationship and Systems Coaching is a methodology aimed at improving the positivity and alignment of teams. This was an interactive session to help our audience on such a journey.


There are no decks to share or recording of the session as we designed the workshop to be experimental.


We are sharing the picture of a small experiment that we run at the start of the workshop. We asked all to capture what they saw as impediments to Digital Change and Agile. We did not reveal the categories until all the post-its were submitted. There was an overwhelming number of stickies on People - yet most of the focus of transformation is generally on Processes and Technology.


It was the perfect point for starting the workshop. Many will see some similarities with real situations they may have experienced. We are keen to point out that this is a fictive scenario and in no way should be associated with any enterprise out there.


We ran three exercises during the meet-up. The exercises were part of the ORSC (Organisation and Relationship Systems Coaching) set of tools (over 40 tools + skills) which we had the pleasure to discover and train on as part of our own experience.


The exercises were:


Team Alliance - an entry tool for systemic working. How the system want to be together? The alliance creates alignment and enables voices to be heard in a safe environment.


String exercise - this tool is the rapid exercise to visualise a system and its connections. It can directly relate to work and personal experiences.


Lands Work - the scenario offered a credible enterprise situation with usual tensions between management and teams. All got under the skin on this and could appreciate how the tool allowed to move from camped positions and perceptions to a place where we could move forward together.


If you wanted to know more about ORSC, please see: CRR - UK »


If you wanted to have some such facilitation done with your teams going through the difficulties of transformation or intending to facilitate an off-site, please let us know. We could help and could also put you in touch with Naina who facilitated the session.


Please see a download an high resolution image of the impediments to Digital change and Agile: Board Capture »


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