October 16, 2019

Do You have Evidence of Your Agile Transformation?

The term Agile Transformation is often mingled together with a series of other things, for example a business transformation or a digital transformation. These are however very different things.

There are good reasons why these often end up together because a business transformation “faster response time to clients” might lead to the use of agile processes. Or vice versa, a company interested to adopt agile processes all of a sudden realizes great potential for re-inventing their business processes. They go often hand-in-hand.

Regardless of the scenario a company became interested in adopting agile processes in the first place, someone will ask the companies at some point of their journey with questions like “how are we doing?”,  “Are we more agile than last year?”, or “Which areas are we good at, which one need more support?”

Would you know the answers? And more importantly do you have evidence of it?

The interesting parts of the questions above is the word agile? Adding agile to those questions makes the questions for organizations surprisingly softer and not more concrete. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools for example is definitely something we can agree with, but can we effectively measure it?

12 Principles

Switching to the twelve principles,  things become a bit more concrete in terms of metrics.  Focusing on the principles will bring the values of the manifesto to life. For example, “Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months with a preference to the shorter timescale”.  This and the other 11 principles provide a great starting point for crafting evidence around the state of agility within an organization. Frequency, working software and delivering value are they keywords for building organizational and team metrics. Answers to the questions above, are now becoming more concrete. Did we increase the frequency over the past months using agile?, Are we delivering measurable value?, and what is the quality of work when we deliver working software (or products for non-IT projects)?

An Agile Transformation does not have to be a vague and nebulous term and evidence-based management can help organizations navigate through a transformation. The Agile Transformation Kata for example connects EBM and the Agile Manifesto which drives the transformation process. It provides focus for all participants, requires courage and commitment from the organization, will need openness from the participants to try new things and experiment with the metrics and be transparent about them and that we are respecting the each other’s opinion throughout the journey. Here we go, the Scrum Values can provide additional guardrails in an agile transformation. But that is a topic for future blog post…