Recently, I have been discussing some reasons why Agile Transformation may fail or go slowly. In this blog, I am presenting some success factors that might help your organization move toward Agility.
As before, we need to emphasize that Agile Transformation is a process that never ends. There is no end state. This a learning process of the organization. The difference is if we observe some positive outcomes (continuous improvement) on this journey or not.
Agile Transformation is not a goal itself, but it is a means to an end – to become a learning organization that continually improves and delivers valuable products to the customers.
From my experience regarding cooperation with plenty of companies, the willingness to become more Agile does not equal their actions. Some of them are improving and enjoying benefits, some of them are still complaining, not taking many actions, in fact.
This process requires changes in the mindset, strategy and operational level.
Changing mindset means moving from traditional, predictive environments to empirical process - challenging people at each level. They are challenged to shift their way of thinking. As an outcome of this action there is a comprehension of empiricism as an answer to complexity; understanding the necessity of frequent inspection and adaptation and the importance of transparency.
The organization sets up transformational goals and is deliberately value-oriented and customer-oriented. The product portfolio is ordered based on customer value and other factors. Investments in products with limited/low potential opportunities to the market are not founded. The company benefits from running experiments and makes decisions if it is worth it to invest. The overall Agile transformation vision is clear and understood by the entire company.
Changes in organizational structure are often required (for instance, moving from project-oriented organization to product-oriented organization or reducing hierarchy). Self-managing teams also demand top and middle-management, not only allowance, but also support. The organization intentionally uses an evidence-based management approach.
Once the organization realizes that the Agile mindset is a prerequisite of the successful transformation and understands and truly behaves in the Agile manner. There is an easier way to expect positive outcomes because of the change. It becomes natural to the organization to set up important goals and make decisions based on facts, toward these goals and value. Constantly inspect & adapt.
Not surprisingly, companies that took this effort (frequently only in some departments, not the entire organization) may observe some significant results – improvements in some areas. These areas can include: customer satisfaction, market share, innovation rate, time-to-market and many others.
Thinking in terms of these levels, fostering the Agile mindset in the organization, can be considered as a hospitable environment for leading changes.
In the second part of my article you will find several indicators that might help you assess whether your organization is heading into the nimble direction. You will also find a questionnaire to quickly check signs of the improving organization.
See also the second part of this article: Agile Transformation - Success Factors part 2
This article was initially published here.