Transformation & Change108

From solo artists to an orchestra; a journey toward playing as an ensemble

From solo artists to an orchestra by Ashok Mohan & Burkhard Lustig

Ashok Mohan, Burkhard Lustig

March 14, 2018


Agile adoption in IT teams all over the world has been huge, but we are just beginning to explore how we can apply Agile to the domain of business teams.

In this talk, we explain our journey at Ableton, a company that makes software and hardware products for making electronic music based in Berlin, Germany. Although for our teams that make the products, the journey to Agile began around 7 years ago, it was only recently that the business teams like Logistics, Finance, HR, Sales, and Facility management began adopting Agile practices.

We took an approach that introduced Agile practices and rituals at different levels of the company from the teams themselves, all the way to executive leadership.

  • Level 1: Agility in teams
  • Level 2: Agility between teams
  • Level 3: Agility among middle management
  • Level 4: Agility among executive management


Mohan Lustig - From solo artists to an orchestra


Learning Objectives

  • Participants will have learned about a multi-level approach that was successful for bringing agility to business teams in a mid-sized company.
  • They would leave with knowledge of concrete hands-on practices used in such a change initiative
  • Make the realization that for permanent change, we need to bring change at all levels of an organization and include those affected by it in the change process.

Ashok Mohan

Ashok Mohan

Agile Coach @ Ableton AG

Ashok Mohan is an Organization Coach with a mission to help create the next generation of organizations needed to succeed in today’s complex and changing world. Prior to his focus on coaching, he was a software engineer, technical lead and project manager. As an IT leader, he has extensive experience managing a large portfolio of projects in IT as well as managing budgets and people in teams and units sized from 5 to 30. As a coach, he led Agile transformations for companies like Karl Storz and Ableton AG. He currently focuses his work and effort on organizational transformations and business agility.

He considers it his life’s mission to build collaborative environments in organizations to enable individuals and teams to flourish and realize their full potential. He believes that this generates happiness and fulfilment for the individuals and as a consequence, catapults the organization into exponential success.

He holds a Bachelor of Technology degree in Computer Science and Engineering from India as well as a Master of Science degree in Robotics from Germany. He is a Certified Scrum Professional by Scrum Alliance (CSP), an Agile Certified Practitioner by the Project Management Institute (PMI-ACP), a Certified Expert in Agile Coaching by the International Consortium for Agile (ICE-AC) and a Certified Teams Transformation Coach by the Agile Coaching Institute (ACI-CTTC).

Burkhard Lustig

Burkhard Lustig

Product Owner IT Applications @ Ableton AG

As Product Owner IT Applications, Burkhard, together with his team, builds and maintains all software used by around 150 colleagues across the various business functions at Ableton. With the aim to keep the IT ahead of Ableton´s rapid growth from a start-up to a mid-market company, Burkhard has been a strong believer in and multiplier of agile thinking, also beyond IT. Currently he and his time are spearheading an initiative to overcome teams defined by functionality and work in groups defined by value streams. He is inspired by books and trainings from Jeff Patton.

Burkhard holds a bachelor´s in business economics from the university Witten/Herdecke (Germany) and a master’s degree in entrepreneurial science. Prior to joining Ableton in 2015, Burkhard worked as a freelance and consultant focusing on organizational development in the non-profit arena in Germany and the US. In his career, he has been attracted to and driven by organizations and leaders that value the individual as the key to success in fast-paced environments. Burkhard lives with his wife and his two sons in Berlin.


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