Agile and Organizational Maturity

One question to rule them all (an occasional series)

Agile and Organizational Maturity

Asking powerful questions is not trading “telling” for asking more questions. Asking powerful questions is asking the right question at the right time, unattached to any outcome, and listening for what naturally emerges.

Lately I see many people and organizations subscribing to long surveys as they attempt to collect massive amounts of data to get insight into their team culture and agile maturity. What would happen if we asked one powerful question in place of trolling multiple question surveys?

What one question can inform us about our organizations adaptability, our agile maturity, and even individual blindspots that lead to rigidity? After playing with this for a while my one question to rule them all to gauge maturity became:

"How painful is change?"

How painful is change in your organization, on your team, or in your life?

This question is often followed by a soulful quiet. For a brief moment time stands still as perspectives begin to shift. The silence is usually broken with clarifying questions from the field about what kind of change. These residual questions from the team begin to shine a light into areas where maturity has stagnated and needs attention. A secondary inquiry might follow with "where is change painful" or "what is causing this pain?"

What is your level of agile maturity?

- why I coach


A great powerful question is not intended to provide all the answers. A powerful question changes our perspective of the playing field. The right question shifts context and illuminates the shadows.