Zen Ex Machina: Executive Coaching for Business Agility Platform
Matthew Hodgson, CIO
In a competitive business environment as today’s, it is critical for companies to be ‘agile’ enough to adapt to the changing requirements and be productive. However, many companies fail to practice agility owing to multiple factors such as lack of experience in agile methodologies, insufficient training, and lack of management support. Australia-based Zen Ex Machina (ZXM) brings capabilities to help these organizations to transform the way they operate every aspect of work. The company allows businesses to be more collaborative, efficient, and productive through the use of agile frameworks like Scrum.
“Executive coaching for business agility is where we shine, and digital transformation is the strategy we employ to get the job done,” begins Matthew Hodgson, CIO, Zen Ex Machina. The company extends agile coaching services, delivered by their consultants who hold extensive experience in working with coaching executives. These experts focus on the organizational and social psychology of clients to help them move away from their siloed approaches to a more collaborative approach. Training remains an integral element of these services, through which the ZXM team develops an understanding of agility and forthcoming changes among businesses.
The company works closely with the clients and helps them choose a framework that fits the nature of work and its environment. “ZXM is agnostic about the frameworks we use.
Our agile coaches are experienced with Lean, Kanban, and Scrum as well as scaled agile frameworks such as NEXUS, Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), and the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe),” elaborates Hodgson. The company is presently working in close association with senior executives in high-profile, large scale Australian Federal Government programs including 2021 Census for the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to change the way they think about knowledge work. ZXM helps ensure that these programs are most effectively and efficiently executed in a digital-first approach underpinned by an agile mindset.
ZXM fosters an agile mindset in leaders and supports them to create long-term, sustainable growth, from a holistic integrated perspective
The ZXM team believes that digital transformation starts with leadership, and thus follows a top-down approach, focusing on executives and middle managers, who often refrain from changing development methodologies. The company fosters an agile mindset in leaders and supports them to create long-term, sustainable growth, from a holistic, integrated perspective. They first provide an environment of psychological safety—where learning, openness, trust, and courage promote delivery innovation. ZXM’s consultants employ behavioral modeling, leading key agile events while having Scrum Masters and other Agile Leaders observe what they do, and follow-up with debriefing sessions to make behavior and decisions explicit.
ZXM, through their coaching services, has helped a multitude of organizations make a smooth transition to agile methodologies. One of these is a major government agency, which needed support for their transit to agility. ZXM was engaged as agile coaches to develop the delivery capability for the digital enabling services. They were responsible for facilitating the creation of the overarching Kanbans and visual walls used for the Branch and release train operations, coaching good Scrum practice, and a lot more. ZXM, within a year, ensured a 250 percent increase in the output features delivered compared to the same time in the previous year. The company has produced similar outcomes to various other companies such as eBay, The Australian Institute of Sport, Orion Health, and Department of Industry, Innovation, and Science. ZXM further focuses on managing the evolution in business, and explore the new areas of work associated with artificial intelligence to benefit from agility, and how agile can be leveraged to achieve that change.