Tool: Intangible Drivers

Intangible Drivers represent the important type of factors that influence the dynamic of the organization. Unlike tangible ones (ex: poor development infrastructure), intangible drivers are at the root cause of systemic issues simply because they are much harder to spot and address. Intangible drivers may significantly vary from generic to very context-specific, as figure 1 suggests:

Figure 1. Examples of Intangible Drivers

It’s most often the intangible drivers that influence the mindset of the organization. Therefore, the process of identifying such drivers, understanding their relationships and how to influence them, becomes key to the organization’s transformation process (see Organizational Drivers article for the general approach). Also, specific intangible drivers may often stay in a way of building organizational habits (Sustainable Practices). An example of this could be unproductive, reductionist-minded behavior of the organization’s business stakeholder which significantly inhibits the evolution of the product ownership practice in the organization.

Some drivers can be easily dealt with, while others might require long-term, incremental action. So, for instance, hopelessly destructive behavior of a specific person can be eliminated (for example, by removing that person from the context). On the other hand, an overly competitive and political culture may take significant amount of time to be resolved.

One important class of intangible drivers is metrics. If defined and implemented correctly, they may be a huge positive factor in the transformation process. If the metrics, however, reflect the prevailing reductionist mentality, it may totally jeopardize the enterprise’s Lean-Agile journey (see also Obsession with Metrics).


Ⓒ Org Mindset, LLC