3 key considerations for successful agile transformation
Adoption of agile strategies has been on the rise ever since the start of the Covid crisis. However, a lot of companies are still encountering challenges to an effective implementation of agility. In this article, we’ll discuss 3 key considerations which can serve as both great starting points and great guides for an agile transformation.
1. Removing silos
Organizational silos are a big problem, especially in larger organizations where keeping all the different parts aligned is both more crucial as well as more difficult.
The waterfall model is itself characterized by silos, with independent teams each working on their own part of the strictly delineated project which allows for little future adaptation.
Working in silos proves to be a huge barrier to real agile implementation. How can a company innovate and respond to market changes quickly if its parts are not working in tandem?
De-siloing facilitates and promotes collaboration and leads to more out-of-the-box, creative solutions through the interactions between experts in different departments. You can’t truly begin an agile transformation without first de-siloing.
Tips: establish efficient communication channels and determine the right cadence and format of your stand-up meetings to enable everyone to stay on the same page throughout the sprint/project.
2. Mindset shift
This is a crucial component of any kind of transformation. If you only change what you do without understanding why you’ve made that change and what benefits it can have, you’re more likely to abandon the new practice and/or not develop it further.
A frequent point we discuss on our digital transformation podcast is the importance of the mindset shift for achieving true digital transformation. Today, agility is an integral part of digital transformation, and hence also needs this mindset shift.
One of the biggest hurdles to transformation is the fear of and resistance to change; overcoming this is key to succeeding in a world in which the pace of change is constantly accelerating.
This means embracing digitalization, embracing new technologies and especially automation. Fortunately, people have largely stopped worrying about a potential AI takeover and more and more businesses are realizing the value of automating routine tasks to free up creativity and innovation, both of which go hand in hand with agile.
Tips: provide adequate training/reskilling to employees. Redefine and reinforce your values and vision, and make it clear how each department should follow them. By getting everyone in on your mindset shift, in a top-down manner, you’re placing greater importance on the change and clarifying the reasons behind it.
3. Incremental adoption
Agile is all about making incremental changes. So why not take that same - agile - approach to your implementation of agile? A complete overhaul may be too big of a task to take on during a period of great uncertainty where you can’t really know what the business landscape will be like once the overhaul is complete.
There are two extremes of failure in agile adoption. On one hand, trying a full agile transformation may be too much for a business with strongly established processes and workflows, and thus such a transformation would demand too much time and resources to justify it.
On the other hand, a haphazard approach to agile implementation will likely also lead to abandonment due to lack of dedication and discernible ROI. But incremental adoption of agile can lead to massive wins if done right.
Tips: what’s important is to start small and build upon that. Try an easy to implement agile tactic which has the most potential to benefit your business (e.g. a Kanban board, or stand-up meetings) and try it out during a testing period. Based on that initial experience and feedback, it will be much easier to plan your next steps.
The future is agile …
… and you’ll need to be so too if you want to succeed in it. If you didn’t know where or how to start before, we hope this article has armed you with enough insights to make that first step that much easier.