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Stop Failing your Agile Transformation

Stop Failing your Agile Transformations

To stay relevant in an era of increasingly demanding customers, businesses need to adapt faster and deliver business value to all stakeholders. Agile transformations are sold exactly to do that. Sadly, many agile transformations fail to deliver outcomes that sales & marketing experts promise. Most organisations see agile transformation as a quick fix and don’t work on fixing rooted organisational issues. The questions is how do you know if your agile transformation is going in right direction?

What is agile? 

Agile is a way of working, an iterative approach to deliver business outcome in smaller chunks that will make it easier and quicker to respond to changing circumstances.

When agile is embedded in everything, you experience what we call as “agility”.

Agility refers to the ability to respond to ambiguity through continuous planning and delivery.

It improves your speed to market, increases your efficiency and improve overall quality. When done right, you will also see greater customer satisfaction (i.e. more loyal customers, more wallet share, more revenue etc.) and greater employee satisfaction (i.e. more happier employees, less wastage etc. Given it sounds so good, most of the businesses are already on their agile journey.

The 15th the stage of agile report confirms that 97% companies are on their agile journey in some shape of form. 65% companies claim they have significant experience with agile. However, most significant agile adoption barriers as below:

  • Inconsistencies in processes and practices 46%
  • Cultural clashes 43%
  • General organizational resistance to change 42%
  • Lack of skills and experience 42%
  • Absence of leadership participation 41%
  • Inadequate management support and sponsorship 40%

The key challenges organizations face when adopting Agile have remained largely unchanged for the past several years. Challenges with organizational culture, resistance to change, and lack of support and skills continue to be problems.

Having seen many transformation programs up close, our experts observed that businesses take an overly mechanical approach to applying popular agile methodologies. They go through the motions without trying to understand why those methods work in the first place, which prevents them from achieving the outcomes they desire. In other cases, they ignore or overlook the fact that agile transformations require clear and consistent commitment from every level of the organization to be successful.

Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for your transformations to fail. We’ve put together a set of 3 key questions for organisations which are on their agile transformation for more than 3-5 years. Our years of experience guiding and supporting these processes have helped us identify these three critical questions that can help you understand your transformation status better:

1. Are your transformation programs accelerating business outcomes?

Embedding agile ways of working should improve your business outcomes. If your transformations are only measuring agile adoption but not the business outcomes, you are simply going through the motion. If you are truly an org which committed 3-5 years to agile transformation, you should start seeing improved business outcomes. If not, it’s time to refine your transformation approach.

2. Are your Scrum Masters, Product Owners and Agile Teams performing at their full potential?

During the initial period of transformation, it takes time to settle people in new roles, get clarity on roles & responsibilities and create the rhythm of delivery. As you mature in your transformation approach, you must ensure you’ve enabled SMs, POs and Agile Teams in a ways that helps them perform at their full potential.

Psychological safety, learning opportunity, culture of experimentation and support of innovation plays a critical part in this area. If you haven’t, you should start focusing on making this a priority for sustainable outcomes.

3. Are your leaders operating in new ways of working?

This is one of the most talked and least acted topic. More often than not, we see leaders expect other to follow the agile ways of working whereas they continue to operate in traditional command and control approach. New ways of working require new ways of leadership. Enabling leadership is critical success factor for your agile transformation.

Create an Action Plan

The first step to solve a problem is to define it. Agile transformation is a company-wide endeavor. If you have adopted a target operating model which is more focused on agile practice adoption over embedded application of agile practices, you must diagnose the “spots” based on the 3 questions we highlighted above. These will give you a good starting point to reflect and refine.

Once you have the understanding of problem, you can run a deep diagnostics for the areas you want to make an urgent shift. Our enterprise agility diagnostics can help find root causes and heat map of the your problem domain.

This is where we take a systematic iterative approach, by defining a regular cadence, a transformation squad and high level roadmap that focus on embedding agility along the lines of business outcome across business, technology and support teams.

If you’re looking to run a enterprise agility diagnostics or would like to talk to our experts to gain better understanding of your transformation state, do reach out to us directly.

What’s your biggest challenge or blocker for your agile transformation?

Do CONTACT US. We’re happy to partner you in your transformation journey.

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