Transitioning to Agile

Last post 10:54 am July 12, 2020
by Alessia Mariani
5 replies
09:19 am July 10, 2020


This might be too big a question for the forum but I’d appreciate any advice from people who have gone through a similar experience.

I’m a project manager who has worked on prince2 and generally waterfall methodology. The company I work for have been wanting to become agile and it’s fallen on me to try and do the transition. 

I have done a lot of reading on the subject and have decided to focus on scrum to begin with and go for the PSM certifications. My aim is to become an agile coach eventually to help the company more. There is a lot of resistance amongst some of the developers to follow any methodology that has strict rules and ideally I would like to master other agile frameworks so that I can suggest and help implement the best one for each product we have (we have several products on different platforms) as well as being able to properly coach people through the transition.

I appreciate that I seem to want to run before I can walk but I wonder whether focusing only on Scrum to begin with is the wrong thing to do.
I wonder how other people approached the transition to Agile, does everyone need to be trained professionally or can the Scrum Master do it alone?




03:42 pm July 10, 2020

There's a lot to this and organizational change of this magnitude is typically no small feat. You mentioned your company wanted to become agile... what is the driving factor behind this desire to change? 

Staying on the leadership topic... Has your company's executive leadership communicated this 'why' to the company? Why is this important, why now, what may happen if we do not change? In addition to this, do you feel they understand their contributions towards the success of a change like this? 

On the dev team topic... it's important to expect resistance and plan on how to address it. I'm curious to understand the strict rules the group things they would need to follow in order to implement Scrum. There's a lot of copy paste agile processes that agile coaches tend to employ which are complementary practices to the Scrum Framework and not actually core to Scrum. In my experience this can sometimes make teams feel like they're boxed into a process from the start. 

05:21 pm July 10, 2020

The company I work for have been wanting to become agile and it’s fallen on me to try and do the transition. 

Why? Why has such a strategic matter been delegated? Who in senior leadership is providing a requisite sense of urgency for change?

10:42 pm July 10, 2020

Well, the company hasn’t demanded this as such and within IT we’ve been wanting to be more flexible and deliver things faster for a while so we’ve been adapting our processes over time and we have been moving away from waterfall for a while. The drivers I would say are our clients and also our main competitors who are start ups that use the Spotify model, etc. 
We also had a change in tip management last year and there have been a lot of changes since, all positive thankfully and I feel we are finally going in the right direction.

We have been used to having management deciding on work to be done and we recognise this didn’t work for us. We have good people in IT that would do way better if they could be part of the decision making and could manage their work.

So it is a need to respond to the fast changing market and to avoid losing clients to our competitors.

As for the dev team resistance, it’s only some who are, the team leads basically who have a problem following processes in general I think and just want to be left free to do what they need for as long as it takes them. The idea of having time boxed events is the main issue. But I know them all very well and I believe I can get them to try and see for themselves if it makes things better. I just need to be confident myself first that I know what I’m doing!

04:45 am July 12, 2020

The ideal way would be to invest in trainers (those who can lead certification classes) who can come onsite and train everybody. That sets the baseline.

Has your company's C-suite made it clear that Agile is their future? If not, you will meet a lot of resistance. Engineers like to be told what to do and then left alone. So they will likely resist Agile because it exposes inefficiencies. It exposes people who don't contribute.

It is my opinion that Agile does not work in just the IT organization. Business agility needs to transform the entire organization (IT, marketing, HR, finance, sales, etc.).

10:54 am July 12, 2020

Thanks Mark. The idea was to get a coach but times are different now and the possibility is not there at the moment. So for now they just have me but it’s a good point about getting the management to make it clear To everyone that’s the way we are heading and yes, I do understand that the whole company needs to adopt it, not just IT.