Organizational Agile Transformation

Last post 02:50 pm March 18, 2019
by Timothy Baffa
10 replies
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01:01 pm March 15, 2019

Hi,

I am a SM in a medium sized Media Planning and Advertising company. I started working with the IT team and has made good progress with them so far. 

Now, my organization is also willing to adapt to Agile but they have no clue how is it going to work with them. So, to start with i will be briefed on their current process.

But my first concern - is it a right time to shift my focus towards the organization when my team has just started to make some good progress in scrum ? 

I have been trained only in Scrum which i am practicing. But for other departments scrum might not be an ideal choice.

So, I was thinking to start with small steps and give them training on scrum which can bring some value in their process. But this will mean that they don't work fully with scrum but takes some positives from it.

Is it good for the other departments (non IT) to partially implement scrum ? or to use some of the scrum principles?

Also what readiness i need to have before i start this transformation ? All inputs are welcomed

Thanks

Harshal

 

02:51 pm March 15, 2019

Implementing scrum should be a well-thought-thru decision! You should ‘not’ be using scrum, just to use scrum. That’s a bad idea!

Partially implemented or tailored scrum is sometimes referred to as ‘scrum-but’; eq: “yeah we’re doing scrum, but..” This is often not a good sign. And is not scrum. And with doing this, things can go from bad to worse really fast.

03:05 pm March 15, 2019

The focus of any type of company is the product or the service they provide. How that's being created should be secondary. What I mean with is the goal is not to do Scrum, but to provide the best product or service they can. However this is done best, differs per company of course. Per situation even. So try to analyze the problem that you're trying to solve in different parts of the company and than analyze how this can be done best. Maybe an Agile mindset fits best, maybe not. Maybe Scrum works best, maybe SAFe or Nexus or whatever kind of framework. 

But if you have chosen a framework, have the people involved really understand the framework and the ideas behind it fully first. Look at ShuHaRi for example. The most commonly used example of this is Spotify. Started with Scrum and to do so as it is intended (Shu) after a while they started to evolve from the framework to what fits best for their situation (Ha) and now they are frequently used as a model themselves (although they say they're not a model, it just fits for their situation best)(Ri). 

Scrum is not holy and neither is Agile. But if you do use it, start to use it properly. Else it will become fluid and in the end will not service its purpose and thus will not help. And it will get blaimed for not progressing.

05:14 pm March 15, 2019

Perhaps a good place to start is to focus on the 4 Agile Tenets, and the 12 Agile Principles, and to have a conversation around how the organization can support them?

05:24 pm March 15, 2019

But my first concern - is it a right time to shift my focus towards the organization when my team has just started to make some good progress in scrum ?

What sort of organizational engagement might be necessary for your team to make better use of Scrum?

Does the team ever face organizational impediments or dependencies when creating “Done” work of immediate release quality each Sprint, for example?

09:53 am March 18, 2019

Hi all, thanks a lot for your feedbacks and responses !! :-)

I think my previous post is not clear enough ( my mistake for using incorrect words probably)

 A bit of more information - 

The product we developed is basically used by our Business customers and also internal stakeholders. Currently all other departments in the company share their department's requirements and market trend for which PO collaborates with them and together creates the PBIs. Later Dev team works on them as per the order defined by PO. This is working fine for everyone.

Scrum is only implemented in the IT team and is progressing. Other departments (non IT) are concerned more on what we deliver than how we deliver. We have department Heads participating in the Review Meetings each sprint.

So, each department supports in requirement gathering and early feedbacks. They participates actively in the Sprint Review.Organizational impediments do occurs but not so often. Mainly they are late requirements change or no early feedbacks.

So whole organization is progressing towards Scrum adoption and to deliver the product iteratively and incremently.

But non IT departments also got interested to implement Agile in their own individual departments.

The reason - they would like to see if Agility can optimize their daily work and if can bring more value.

I like that they are positive about Agile , so i wanted to know if someone has done this before ? how did you approach ? readiness required in order to support them in the best way?

First step as i mentioned before will be to collaborate with them to know their daily business and the need for change.

BR

Harshal

 

12:04 pm March 18, 2019

From what you say, it sounds as though you have been able to develop a product-focused view in your department. If so, that’s a significant achievement. Many organizations work in project-execution mode and struggle to appreciate value and flow.

Are other departments likely to face that challenge, and if so, how might you help them?

12:38 pm March 18, 2019

From what you say, it sounds as though you have been able to develop a product-focused view in your department. If so, that’s a significant achievement. Many organizations work in project-execution mode and struggle to appreciate value and flow.

>> Thanks Ian , but honestly it is more in  'in progress'  mode. So, have to still observe and evaluate.

Are other departments likely to face that challenge, and if so, how might you help them?

>> This is a good point , but i think they are not aware about the challenges at the moment. Probably they would like to see how Agile can optimize their daily business.

As wrote in my first post, i thought of giving them insight on Agile and Scrum. But i was thinking even if they start with using some Agile principles and techniques , will it be a good practice ? Eg - following 12 agile principles, using some scrum events like daily scrums , Retros to keep the focus and keep improving. 

These will be some take aways of Agile which i think might help them. 

 P.S - I want them to be benefited and not end up being victim. 

02:25 pm March 18, 2019

I agree with what @Ian said about your current progress.  That is fabulous and more success than a lot of companies make.  You should be proud. 

I have been trained only in Scrum which i am practicing

For me this triggered a "be careful" thought immediately.  As you went on to state, Scrum may not be the right thing for everyone. I have worked in a company where Scrum was adopted from the CEO/CFO/COO/all the other C_Os all the way through to the facilities management department. It was successful but it had to start at the top and work down. We also hired an external company to lead the transition because people inside were too close to the old politics and were more inclined to introduce the "buts" of Scrum-but. 

My experience has lead me to believe that in order to drive an organizational change to Agile, it helps to have a very wide and rounded knowledge of everything Agile.Start at the top of the organization and have them drive down the practices as they adopt them. Part of the adoption is the organizational changes needed to support decision making at the lowest possible place in the organization. Command-control leaders have to change to servant-leaders. In many cases you might not be adopting any specific framework/process that exists today and will need to develop your own (as mentioned before Spotify is an excellent example).  The more experience you have with Agile in general the more chance you have of success. 

One more thing I want to point out.  What everyone refers to as the Agile Manifesto is actually the Agile Manifesto for Software Development.  While those principles could apply outside of Software Development, they may not be the correct principles for all situations.  So stay true to Empiricism which is what all Agile is based on and find what is best for your company. 

02:49 pm March 18, 2019

Thanks a lot Daniel !! 

My experience has lead me to believe that in order to drive an organizational change to Agile, it helps to have a very wide and rounded knowledge of everything Agile.

>> So in order to start this transition outside my team with other departments , i need to evolve & learn new agile frameworks ? I mean this is the readiness i should have as scrum might not be the ideal choice for them.

 

02:50 pm March 18, 2019

One of my favorite quotes (and unfortunately I am paraphrasing, and I believe it is attributed to Jeff Sutherland) is as follows:

If you are not continually improving, you are not Agile.