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Three Essential Tips For A Successful Agile Transformation

You may be at the start of your Agile transformation journey or a few years into it. Either way, you want it to be successful. But what does success look like for you? More importantly, how do you get there? This article will discuss three essential tips to set up your organization for a successful Agile transformation.

Instead of only one long iteration of performing these SDLC activities sequentially, an Agile team works with the client or stakeholder to identify the highest priority business needs. It then repeatedly conducts these activities in short durations (sprints) to deliver these needs early and often in the project cycle.

 

Three Important Areas Covered So Your Agile Transformation Is A Success!

Training – More Than A 2-3 Day Course

Culture Change

Experts On Site

Essential #1

Training

There Is More Too Training Than You May Think.

It goes without saying that some level of training is required when undertaking a large organizational change, such as an Agile transformation. This is often the first step people begin within their transformation. For many organizations, training includes sending teams to a 2-3 day Agile training class, possibly some role-specific training such as Certified Scrum Master or Certified Product Owner training. These training classes provide a foundational understanding of implementing Agile practices and are a good place to begin.

However, training can and should be more than a few days in a classroom. The best types of training are immersive training experiences in which participants practice applying what they are learning to their real work situations.

Some companies form a Dojo. In this setting, software development teams come to the Dojo for a multi-week immersive learning experience. This is a proven way for teams to embody an Agile mindset, using Agile practices every day while delivering their actual work products. For more information about the Dojo concept applied to software development, learn from the expert company Dojo and Co.

While a Dojo experience may not be practical for all companies, other options ensure teams and their leaders have the proper training to be set up for a successful Agile transformation. Trainers and coaches who specialize in teaching immersive training sessions, followed up by hands-on coaching, are available. Through both the training and coaching, teams can work out difficulties they face when implementing Agile concepts and practices. These trainers and coaches will guide teams to embrace an Agile mindset while working out the challenges of applying Agile practices given their specific organizational constraints.
For an Agile transformation to succeed, training must go beyond the teams doing the work. Leaders at all levels of the organization must also learn how they will lead, think, act, and plan differently as part of the Agile transformation.
Often leaders focus on training the people doing the work, the people they lead. However, some of the most critical training should be directed toward the leadership team. As with the software development teams, hands-on, experiential training is best for the people in charge. Not to mention, it’s often more productive and fun.
Essential #2

Culture Change

One Of The Most Important Elements.

One of the most important elements of any successful organizational change effort is attention to the culture change required for the change to take place. Unfortunately, the training is always focused on implementing agile practices and ignores the human side of the transformation where culture change comes in.

We are all humans with fears, concerns, questions, successes, and failures. Our past experiences influence our ability to navigate changes we encounter in the present and the future.
An Agile transformation is all about change. After all, leaders choose to invest in a transformation because they want something improved. Improvements don’t result from simply repeating the ways that didn’t work in the first place. Instead, change must occur, and culture change is the key.
What type of culture best embodies an Agile mindset and achieves the desired outcomes of an Agile transformation?
Here are some characteristics:

  • Mistakes are treated as learning opportunities
  • People focus on delivering value over “getting stuff done”
  • People work on the right things rather than just keep busy
  • Decisions are made by the people closest to the work
  • Leaders provide guidance and vision and stay out of the minutiae
  • People are comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions
  • Plans are made and adjusted as new information surfaces
If this sounds like your organization’s culture, you are well situated for a successful Agile transformation. If not, then you must spend time, energy, and money on culture change. Some agile coaches are explicitly trained in guiding leaders and their teams through the necessary culture change aspects of an Agile transformation.
Essential #3

Experts

Deep, Lasting, Organizational Change.

Deep, lasting, organizational change required for a successful Agile transformation necessitates expert guidance. Such guidance can come in the form of a new position as a full-time employee. This role must be at a high enough leadership level within your organization to influence change at all levels since successful Agile transformations require change at more than just the team level.

A person well suited for this role will have experience leading previous successful Agile transformations. Finding someone with this level of expertise, who wants to be a full-time employee of an organization, may be difficult. Most people with this level of Agile transformation experience prefer to share their knowledge and experiences with numerous companies through consulting.
There are benefits to bringing in an Agile transformation consultant to guide you and your organization along your journey of change. Expert consultants bring years of expertise from a wide range of companies, often in numerous industries. From this vast array of clients, consultants can share ideas, recommendations, and things to watch out for to keep your organization on the path toward success. Over time, consultants may be able to save you time and energy from having to learn lessons the hard way.
Whether you choose to hire a full-time employee or a consultant, the key is to choose an expert who has successfully led Agile transformations at other companies. This person will know the right kind of training for wherever your organization is at with their transformation. This expert will also understand the importance culture change plays in a successful transformation.
With the correct type of experiential training at all levels of the organization, attention to the necessary culture change to embody Agile principles, and an expert to lead this effort, your organization will be set up for a successful Agile transformation journey.

Stevie Borne – Intertech, Inc.

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Have You Covered

At Intertech, we have expert coaches, trainers, and consultants to help our clients navigate their Agile transformation journey.

Whether it is a short assessment to determine the next steps needed in your organization’s current transformation journey or guidance from the very start of your Agile transformation, Intertech is here to help.

Check out our library of Agile articles, written to help clients succeed and based on proven experience!  

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Director of MomentumWorks™

Stevie Borne

Stevie has over 20 years of software development experience, with most of that being on Agile teams. From her first Agile project, she was hooked on the collaborative, customer-focused approach that enabled her teams to delight customers with incremental, valuable deliverables. After moving on from a developer role, she has held numerous roles, including Product Owner, Scrum Master, Project Manager, Coach, and Development Manager.

 

“I have had the opportunity to coach hundreds of Agile teams and leaders, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies worldwide. During these engagements, I’ve guided leaders and team members alike to discover a practical approach to apply Agile values and principles successfully. Mentoring is one of my true passions. ”

 

Why Did You Choose This Field?

I don’t have a good answer for this….I fell into software development and along the way discovered I enjoy helping clients solve their problems with creative technical solutions while equipping their teams to do their best work.

Sideline

Stevie is an international speaker, trainer, and professional life coach. She holds numerous Scrum, Agile, and coaching certifications. When not working with her software teams and leaders, you can find Stevie outside hiking, biking, and rock climbing.

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