21.03.2024 | Dr. René Hussong

Connecting People

  • Agile Organisation
  • SAFe

To connect people, is at the heart of what we do at KEGON. Why? It’s the people who do the work. KEGON has developed a new concept to promote a culture of continuous learning.

Connecting people was the slogan of one of the most successful cell phone brands in the world. Being a teenager at the time where NOKIA phones have been must-have tech gadgets, this slogan is still in my mind – although I always had Siemens devices.

At KEGON, it's the people who are creative in testing and launching new business ideas, and it's the people who design, implement, build, test and deliver products and services. Thus, the art of connecting the right people at the right time is crucial to business. Driven by a common idea, these people can form a starting point for a “Learning Organization”, where agility is not the goal, but a tool to succeed in business.

I personally believe that the learning organization is the core of what we should think about when we start an agile transformation: the goal is not to perfect an implementation of some framework. The goal is to lay a foundation. A foundation for a self-learning organization that evolves fast enough to thrive in an accelerated world, but slow enough to make changes ‘digestible’ for human beings.

The Product Perspective

Connecting people is central to a learning organization. If we don’t connect the customer with product developers, if we don’t connect the user to the developer, the engineer to the designer and so on, we will never learn what the other party might think about our ideas and work. Thinking from a product or service development point of view, we should drive the connection between people being part of one value stream. People that need to communicate on a daily basis should be part of the same team. And teams that need to communicate weekly with other teams should be part of the same Agile Release Train (ART). The product point of view is: organize in a way that communication density can be maximized.

The Technical Perspective

Taking an orthogonal perspective, it is not only necessary to learn about the product itself. We also have to learn about the tools, the processes and technologies that we will use to realize the product. We can promote and accelerate this learning by bringing the right people together again: with the help of Communities of Practice (CoPs) or so-called ‘guilds’, people come together to focus and share knowledge, e.g. about a particular technology. They connect across teams, across value streams, across department structures and so on. Also here: driving connecting people, drives the learning organization.

So far, so good. This is the story you most likely heard when participating in one of our courses. Nothing new to share. Every organization should establish (or remove) structures to enable continuous learning. Everybody of us. On his or her own?

Our Personal Perspective

If you have ever attended a KEGON training, you might remember these stickies saying “We’re Learning!” And to some extend it is a bit ironic that we give trainings and offer coaching and consulting, but never thought about connecting people in the space between these two worlds: attending a training on the one hand and then being thrown back to the own context immediately on the other hand. Everybody got the same course lessons, listened to the same instructors and got the same workbook. But everybody will be confronted with very specific challenges and a company-own cultural setting. Shouldn't we as KEGON connect people who have learned and studied together, but as newly certified SAFe Practice Consultants have to cope alone in their own world?

KEGON’s Perspective

In the spirit of doing experiments and testing this hypothesis, my colleagues Dr. Thorsten Janning, Kurt Jäger, Florian Beck and me (re)connected people after their Implementing SAFe® classes. We roughly met each month for a period of half a year to talk, reflect, ask, discuss, deep dive and learn from each other. Testimonials read like …

“For me, this mentoring program is the piece of the puzzle that is always missing when I attend a seminar. It enables me to actually put what I've learned into practice and receive targeted support!”
Marko Rücker, Agile Coach / Scrum Master, moguru GmbH

The concept of connecting former students from our courses to drive a continuous learning culture has been so successful that we as KEGON decided to offer this to all SPC course participants. Starting March 2024, roughly every 8 weeks two instructors from our SAFe Fellows and SPC Trainers will drive KEGON’s SPC Mentoring Program: 90 minutes to bring in your questions, discuss your challenges and learn from each other.

Curious? Register now and let’s stay connected.

Author: Dr. René Hussong, SPCT-Candidate, KEGON Management Consultant