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8 Questions to Explore Before Embarking on an Agile Transformation

Considering bringing Agile into your organization? Great! You’re about to start out on a challenging but rewarding journey, and if you stick with it, you’ll realize some of those highly-touted benefits like flexibility to adapt to market changes more quickly, better visibility and alignment between the business and IT, and higher team morale. But this is no small undertaking! At the beginning of an Agile effort, […]

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August 13, 2019

Considering bringing Agile into your organization? Great! You’re about to start out on a challenging but rewarding journey, and if you stick with it, you’ll realize some of those highly-touted benefits like flexibility to adapt to market changes more quickly, better visibility and alignment between the business and IT, and higher team moraleBut this is no small undertaking! At the beginning of an Agile effort, most organizations haven’t realized that they’re not only introducing a new IT initiative but also fundamentally changing the way they do business. 

As an Agile Coach, I’ve seen and been part of many Agile transformationsNowadays, when my fellow coaches and I get together, we often find ourselves wishing that more companies were better prepared before embarking on their Agile journeyI started thinking, if I was a member of the C-suite and I was going to introduce Agile to my organization, what questions would I want to answer in order to give us the greatest chance for successIf you can answer these, I’m confident you will be well on the way to crafting your own transformation strategy 

Strategic 

1.  Start with “Why? 

Agile is a significant change, both how work is done and company cultureSignificant change is very challenging, especially without a clear and compelling vision to rally aroundSo, it’s best to start with, “Why are we doing this?”    

As you answer that question, here are some related questions to consider: 

2. What lengths are we willing to go to as an organization? 

Agile often starts in the IT department and then spreadsIt might move to finance if the budgeting process needs to adjust to the emergent nature of Agile cultureIt might spread to HR if we discover that our corporate titles and job families don’t align with Agile roles and how we need to recruit for them 

It’s helpful to consider what degree of organizational change we’re willing to implement before other departments get involved. This leads to a series of questions: 

3. What is our communications strategy? 

Clear messaging is essential both internally and externallyHere are some communications opportunities to consider: 

Tactical 

4. What Agile frameworks will we use?   

There are many approaches under the Agile umbrellaMost organizations find that a mix of frameworks, where teams have choices, works bestHowever, that can introduce challenges when trying to get a cohesive view across the organizationSome questions to consider include: 

5. Do we have the right skills to be successful?   

Agile and DevOps go hand in handWhen an organization starts out down the Agile path, it’s also a good idea to incorporate DevOps practices, especially Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD)The following questions are important to consider when introducing these practices: 

6.) Do we have the correct people in each role? 

Agile roles differ from traditional onesOrganizations often begin an Agile initiative by placing people in roles that appear to map to pre-existing ones, but often the mindset needed is lacking 

This is a list of common Agile roles and a few questions to help you determine whether the person you have in mind embodies the necessary characteristics: 

Is your organization looking to integrate teams together and adopt a scaling approach? If so, the following roles may also be needed: 

Is your organization new to Agile or finding it challenging to adoptBringing an Agile Coach on board can accelerate adoption and help teams work through their challenges. 

7. What will we do to educate the entire organization? 

Agile is a different way of working and the organizations who invest in training up front tend to have a smoother path towards adoptionConsider what mix of the following activities might work best: 

8. How will we measure progress? 

Metrics can be powerful tools to gain insight into how the Agile transformation is going, but, if constructed poorly, can create confusionWhen deciding what metrics to gather, be sure to measure what matters, and leave space to evolve over time as the organization advancesHere are a few questions to consider: 

And that’s it!  If you’ve taken the time to work through these questions, you’re way ahead of the game. It’s time to get started! Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers up front, or if you feel you need some help along the way. We’ve accumulated a lot of experience helping our clients and are there if you need us. Go ahead, take the leap, and have fun – let the journey begin! 

  

 

 

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