Transformation & Change108

4 Steps toward Agility at Ableton

AgileAmped Podcast

Leslie Morse, Ashok Mohan, Burkhard Lustig

October 9, 2019


Agile coach Ashok Mohan and IT Product Owner Burkhard Lustig sit down with Agile Amped to share their stories working at Ableton, a business focused on making software and hardware for music makers. In particular, the duo discuss an pivotal learning experience with a difficult trade-in program. Although Product teams had already been leveraging Agile development and practices for 10 years, this was not the case for the Business. When the trade-in program revealed gaps in organizational capability, they decided to make changes, specifically taking four major steps:

  1. They introduced team planning.
  2. To make work visible, they organized “expos” – demos more suited to their laid-back culture.
  3. Because WIP was too high and not enough was getting to done, middle management was brought together to own the work and the process, with coaching from Ashok and Brendan (another Ableton coach).
  4. After too much WIP, the second top impediment was lack of alignment, so they focused on establishing a shared purpose.

Mohan echoed Marsha Shenk’s sentiment (in this podcast) that “as humans, every one of us wants to contribute… They don’t know how to contribute in a system… [but] it’s almost always about ‘how can you get to people to contribute in a way that’s meaningful for them?'”

Leslie Morse hosts in NYC at Business Agility 2018.

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