Zen Ex Machina (ZXM): Revitalizing the Agile Culture
Agile is more of a journey involving continuous practices than a one-stop destination with certain operational overhauls. However, most organizations consider certification and training of their staff as the go-to strategy to adopt the agile philosophy, instead of adopting consistent practices that would strengthen their agility. “While training surely raises the awareness about what agile is, it alone fails to empower people to understand or apply agile processes, techniques, and frameworks to their context,” adds Matthew Hodgson, CEO, Executive Agile Coach and Lead Partner Enterprise Agility at Zen Ex Machina. Hodgson’s words shed light on how traditional agile frame works neither help the executive board lead agile initiatives nor prepare them for the much-needed change in culture that is required to obtain quantifiable results.
As a countermeasure to such an approach, Zen Ex Machina (ZXM) coaches executives to prepare for the behavioral and cultural change, in order to meet their business objectives. ZXM upholds the philosophy of being ahead of the curve by building business-relevant agile solutions for its clients and helping them address risks such as leadership support, consistency and building experience.
“To us, agile is not about software development any longer. It’s a business enabler. At ZXM, we focus on coaching and leading executives and their managers to create a culture of openness, collaboration, transparency, and learning. We know that agile is the best route to help our clients achieve these objectives,” explains Hodgson. ZXM believes in taking an agnostic approach in terms of the frameworks employed to check the boxes of behavioral change, team collaborations, and organizational culture, allowing the team to comprehend multiple requirements of its clients. To achieve this, the ZXM team travels the world, understanding the different challenges and difficulties of its clientele all the while learning from their experiences. Quite recently, one of ZXM’s explorations with a client helped broaden their expertise in embracing lean and value-stream mapping, and then, integrating the same with agile frameworks such as Scrum.
Such collaborations have assisted several of ZXM’s clients in bringing new products to the market, at a faster rate. One partnership in particular—with Nestle—goes beyond the software development phase, where ZXM helped the client enhance their internal operations for cross-collaboration and faster time to market intervals. The company associated with Nestle to create a cross-functional team for marketing, research, finance, and product development phases. After the completion of this endeavor, Nestle oversaw the removal of traditional handovers, improvements in collaborations, and faster decision making; they started to observe these results within days of implementation.
The ZXM team is always experimenting with newer approaches to address the diverse needs of its clientele. The company is working on newer digital products that help clients assess the agile maturity of teams, behavioral changes, and cultural practices on various levels. From the coaching perspective, these products help in deducing effective plans and strategies by carrying out suitable coaching activities for its clients. As a result, ZXM is recognized as one of the promising agile coaching consulting firms in Australia in the current day and age.