Let’s build an agile country
May it be a bit political? Countries and companies are being run in completely different ways. But why? Couldn’t a country also have a product owner, and wouldn’t it also be possible to elect the boss of an organization in a democratic way? I think there is a lot to be learnt from each other. Switzerland is in many ways a good example of an agile country. The pronounced federalism in combination with the subsidiarity principle (whatever can be delegated to a lower level will be) means that our cantons and municipals are very autonomous. The government consists of a small clear-cut cross-functional team of just seven ministers while other and sometimes even smaller countries have a much larger count – Denmark, for instance, has 22 ministries. The extensive decentralization you see in Switzerland is, in my humble opinion, one of the major reasons why the country is doing so well – not just economically, but also in population happiness, influence in the world, political stability, innovation, and many other factors. Not only was milk chocolate, the potato peeler, Helvetica font, Velcro, LSD and muesli invented here, but also modern direct democracy. The latter means bringing the countries stakeholders, its citizens, much closer to the action than in most other countries with pure representative political systems. The feedback loop is shorter, so to speak. Maybe a reason we don’t see as much voter fatigue in recent years compared to other countries? What could be the next step to become even more agile? More transparency on all levels maybe? Imaginably with Scrum@Scale-like product backlogs and product owners who take in the country’s citizens needs, wishes, and suggestions. Or a municipal ScrumMaster? Somebody responsible for removing administrative staff’s impediments. Constantly ensuring a “Minimum Viable Bureaucracy”. Would we do this in sprints? What would we demo at the end of these? Questions upon questions – come and help draft “Country 2.0”. The crazier the ideas, the better. As a bonus, you’ll probably understand both Scrum and Scrum@Scale a little better afterwards as well.