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Changing Software Development: Learning to Become Agile by Allan Kelly

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5.3. The Layers of the Organization

There are many dimensions to a positive learning organization. Some authors emphasize one dimension, others a different dimension. At times, it can seem that we need to hold many ideas in our heads simultaneously. However, most of these ideas are not contradictory, but merely represent different aspects. As with a software system, we can view these different aspects as layers, each one building on the layers below and supporting higher levels of functionality.

Figure 5.4 shows a layered model of a learning organization. Before any organization can start to learn, trust and honesty must exist. Without trust and honesty, employees can't openly discuss problems and opportunities within the organization. Unfortunately, some organizations will fail at this first hurdle.

Assuming that we have trust and honesty in the organization, we need to allow time and resources for learning and change to occur. This implies that we can't run our organization at 100 % usage all the time. Rather, we need to allow some slack in the system to provide learning opportunities.

Figure 5.4. Organizational learning contains many layers.

Once we have trust, honesty and some slack, we create the opportunities for individuals to learn. There are many different ways for individuals to learn, and it is wrong to assume or mandate one way. Each individual needs to find his or ...

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