Friday, November 27, 2015

The First Step in Agile Transformation

Agile is more a "direction," than an "end." Transforming to Agile means the business knows the direction they want to go on.

Lots have been said about transition and transformation to agile. Most organizations are already using agile of some form or shape. However, the business level agile transformation is a continuous journey. Like chicken and egg story. Do you first start with cultural transformation or start with agile adoption? Agile transformation is an important step in digital transformation, from doing Agile to being agile, how to manage it in a more effective way?

Agile adoption should start by cultural transformation as the first step. Because as we know the organization is nothing but people. So if the people’s mindset doesn't change we can’t transform an organization into agile. A shift from Waterfall to a more Agile approach impacts on every aspect of the cultural web - power structures, organizational structures, and control systems are all changed. The "old' stories no longer apply, and there are new symbols, rituals, and routines. It's not surprising that people find the shift of their entire culture disturbing. If you want to bring about change, then considering the key elements of the "cultural web" as they currently stand, where you want them to get to, and what the challenges will be can help with this. So, first all employees should be given a proper team culture training sessions and in parallel, you need to train them in leadership qualities and in agile so that the employees will be fully aware of what is transformation and also they show enthusiasm and finally contribute in this transformation process.

It depends on how and by whom agile is introduced. If Agile has got an executive mandate, it is comparatively easy to convince from bottom to top. Agile implementers also have the bulldozer in the executive chain. But even in this case, agilest need to take care that bulldozer does not corrupt agile. If agile is getting started from the bottom without any executive support, you would expect resistance at every level. it would be important to answer to the people at any level of the organization on why are you transforming from Waterfall to Agile. This is a fundamental question and everyone has a right to know the answer. As an agile proponent, you need to show that everyone gets benefited from agile adoption at the individual level in addition to corporate/divisional benefits.

People are best motivated by how a change will affect & benefit them. Identifying what these will mean for each individual may help to identify and resolve points of resistance. If creating an environment for Agile to flourish, there's increased control given to those doing the work, more autonomy. It's the team's decision on many things, not just the manager's responsibility. Increased sense of purpose of what they are working on, due to the closer involvement with the business, often via the involvement of the product owner. Install the new methods from the ground up. In that way, people will be motivated because they will have control over their own work. You can't create self-organizing teams by "implementing agile" as a management program. Any change initiative faces difficulties. One way to get people on board is to probe into what they really believe in and what their assumptions are. Challenging these assumptions and beliefs and making them aware, would be an important step towards onboarding them.

Agile is about rapid feedback and focus on business value work. To business people, better ROI, and more sustainable business model. To developers and other doors, higher efficiency/ productivity with less stress. Rapid feedback to validate if we are going on the right way and will reach our goal. Focus on business value work is about doing nothing that does not aggregate value direct to the business. In this context, you could motivate people to adopt an agile approach via persuading:
-Clients will receive a piece of the functional product earlier and their business will begin to benefit soon.
-Bugs and requirements gaps are discovered earlier. So we can adapt project plan and scope to increase project's success probability.
-As clients begin to use the product, requirements and their priority may change. So we can adapt project plan and scope to increase project's success probability.
-Agile states that we should reduce useless documentation, so we can focus on what is really important for business.

Agile is more a "direction," than an "end." Transforming to Agile means the business knows the direction they want to go on, and as the people start “putting on” the agile mindset, discover new ways of working, collaborating, delivering value, they inspect and adapt in that journey by overcoming the frictions and challenges. You have to keep things rolling, to make agile not just a methodology to manage projects, but a principle instilled into a healthy culture to run the business more effectively.


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