Agile Transformation

What is Agile Transformation?

Agile transformation refers to the process of making everyone in an organization undergo a shift in mindset that makes it possible to get the maximum benefits of being agile. Agility has a lot to offer organizations. Any company that must do well today and in the future should consider going agile. However, many organizations that claim to be working with the principles of this methodology do not really know what it entails.

What Agile Transformation is Not?

It is not unlikely to find people think of Agile more as a process. They see it as a set of steps to follow for executing good work. Therefore, in a software company, a transformation then may be deemed to merely entail changing how software is built.

No, this transformation isn’t just about working with any of the different Agile approaches. It is more about using the key principles to build a responsive, hands-on organization.

Agile transformation should be thought of more as a movement, not just a process. It is about a complete change in mindset regarding how things are done in an organization. The focus is not just on how development work is done but on promoting an environment favorable to innovation, self-expression, and creativity.

What’s the Process?

To make ensure that your organization is well-grounded in Agile principles, you begin with goal-setting and putting together a leadership team to oversee the process. There is also a need for a roadmap.

Your organization will have to move away from being a project-oriented one to a more product-oriented entity. It’s been observed that many organizations, particularly the larger ones, still have a traditional, project-focused mindset. This does not help to deliver the best value.

Agile transformation demands that you adopt a team approach, rather than an individual-based one, for project assignments. When assessing a project, the focus should not be on the individual but an entire team.

Talking about teams, it is critical to ensure that these are cross-functional. A team, usually of no more than 10 persons, should boast adequate know-how between its members to successfully handle a project from the beginning to the end.

From time to time, there will be a need to check what progress is being made. This is a major reason why Agile transformation should start with a ready roadmap, against which you measure progress. The periodic assessments help in making necessary changes to keep things from derailing.

Agile Transformation Challenges

Many organizations desiring to go agile often find that this process is not as easy as they thought. It takes a lot of determination than what they can muster. Little wonder then that things are always not done in an amply comparable manner by companies despite claiming to work based on Agile principles.

What are the challenges to a successful transition? Let’s consider some.

Lengthy process

Some organizations seem to approach this process thinking it would be a sort of stroll in the park. They are, therefore, disappointed when they find that it is a long process – in fact, it has no end. As a result, it may not be allowed to run for long or well enough to deliver the desired results.

Lack of support

The transition to an Agile mindset often fails due to a lack of support from company executives. When the management doesn’t show due interest in the process, it becomes practically impossible to secure their help in ensuring success. Mid-level executives might even consider the transformation a threat and so obstruct it.

Unclear reasons for transition

When organizations aren’t so clear about why they need to go agile, the transition can fail. How do you keep at an endeavor when you’re not certain what is in it for you? Some companies decided to go agile just because others are doing so; not good enough.

Little attention to the customer

There are also organizations that failed at Agile transformation because they give insufficient attention to customers. They did not place due emphasis on the value that is being created. Rather, they were more concerned with things such as productivity, efficiency, and delivery.

Other common impediments to a successful transition are poor communication, low transparency, internal wrangling, and leadership changes.

Improving the Likelihood of Successful Agile Transformation

Successful Agile transformation demands creating new processes. These may also require the acquisition of new tools across your organization, with clear individual ownership.

In addition to creating cross-functional teams, there is a need to provide ongoing coaching to improve the chances of success. Your organization must take the continual development of its employees more seriously. Training should be provided to bring everyone up to speed on best practices and new developments. Mentoring will also help.

It goes without saying that committed, well-engaged leaders will be crucial in the process. And it is equally vital to keep such people in place for long enough, as changes may lead to disruptions.

Finally, there should be a good communication plan. This is because unclear importance of Agile transformation to employees does lead to failure. You, therefore, need to have a plan on how to make everyone understand the objectives and the progress being made.

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