Since the dawn of software development in the 1970s, organizations have worked with production-based workflows and knowledge management. While there are many aspects that makeup software development, including design, development, testing, quality assurance, and management, today’s agile organizations are focusing on a new paradigm, work in progress (WIP).
In an Agile Transformation, the team starts from a work in progress to a product release. The teams then refine the product based on user feedback. This is often done via iteration, which is “development iterating on and improving a working software product, usually over a short period of time.” There is also continuous delivery, which includes continuous delivery engineers who help drive continuous delivery and availability.
The shift to agile transformation is certainly challenging. It often means reassigning roles, requiring new skill sets, and investing in change. This can take time, energy, and other resources from other strategic activities.
These other activities can include: improving products and services, strengthening sales and marketing relationships, building competitive advantage, and improving the overall customer experience.
However, these activities are essential for the continued success and growth of an organization. Without these efforts, change is not likely to happen. Enterprises that plan for agile transformation services with the proper resources will be able to react quickly to changes and challenges and will have the skills to minimize disruptions.
How can organizations move from traditional IT to agile methodologies? A good agile transformation service will involve elements of these steps: Deploying a Work-Led Agile Organization Startups and enterprises can overcome many issues with work-led agile transformation.
While the agile methodologies themselves are quite easy, it’s still a new way to deliver value. It may not be easy for organizations that are accustomed to working on a project by project basis or delivering quarterly numbers to their shareholders.
This may mean that the change-management phase will take longer or may not be possible. Consideration of Values-Driven Agile Values will be the core of an effective agile transformation. Values should align with the vision of the organization.
With the growing importance of agile transformation, organizations need to consider how they can communicate the business impact of the change and facilitate participation from employees. In this regard, the importance of clear and transparent employee communication is even more significant in times of change and transformation.
This is because, without this communication, employees may leave in frustration, or disengage with the organization. Moreover, without effective communication, strategic agility may never be possible.
However, great employee communication is hard to achieve, especially in an environment of digital transformation and complexity. This is mainly because of the complexity, speed, and shift in expectations that is necessary to transform.
Understanding the value of a successful transformation journey to agile can help organizations to achieve it. Organizational executives would gain a vision of successful transformation that also allows them to estimate whether their organization is on track to achieve it.
Executives need to be able to measure the progress of the transformation journey in order to measure success and to identify opportunities for course correction. And, organizations need to view their transformation journey in a “What’s next?” and “Why is this so important?” context, instead of the tactical or short-term terms. Organizations can start with a flexible mindset, taking small steps with well-defined “Why”s and “How’s.
Researchers at the MIT Sloan Management Review have highlighted the fact that many organizations are still resistant to embracing Agile, despite the evidence that there are tangible benefits to be gained.
The research suggests that a significant number of the survey respondents did not consider themselves agile, despite committing to practices like Scrum, Extreme Programming and Kanban.
In fact, 60% of respondents surveyed had concerns about embracing Agile, citing “lack of knowledge”, fear of failure, and a lack of innovation as the main challenges to embracing and executing this methodology. Specifically, only 30% of the respondents who felt a change was necessary in their workplace considered themselves agile.
Organizational culture influences the company’s values, which then lead to behaviors and actions that are connected to the organization’s values. While cultural values and behaviors have been identified as crucial for a successful transformation, the process of establishing and managing the cultural values is often overlooked.
Successful culture change requires a change of mindset. The journey to transform the culture also requires: Alignment of management’s long-term goals and vision for the organization and its people with employee’s objectives and what the organization needs to achieve its short-term goals and objectives (Coyle et al., 2013). Building an agile workplace to encourage and enable the desired behavior for the organization.
One of the biggest obstacles for achieving agile transformation management is the people on the team. Employees may be resistant to learning and change, and while the organization may be strong, lack of agility may have a negative impact on the team’s morale.
When teams don’t have the same mindset and operating practices, it is harder to engage and empower the workforce. Organizations need to change their mindset from being traditionally managed to being “agile”.
An agile mindset is a mindset which enables teams to perform and iterate quickly, embracing new challenges, supporting and driving the change agenda. It involves continuous improvement, quick learning, mastery, agility, resilience, experimentation, and deep ownership of organizational changes.
The complexity of the business, the dependence of a business on external factors, and the risks of failure are common obstacles to an agile transformation. Even though an agile transformation management brings tremendous opportunities for growth and success for an organization, failures can result in a number of costly consequences that most organisations and executives are unprepared to handle:
Punctured employee morale and engagement – As the organization becomes more agile, employees are more directly involved in all aspects of the business. When agile implementations fail, employees become confused and disengaged. For this reason, any failure in the agile transformation services initiative must be immediately communicated and dealt with.
Surprisingly, agile can often result in greater gains than the traditional techniques it replaces. For example, in manufacturing, when the operations team doesn’t have enough data to perform complex tasks, it might resort to a waterfall process to execute those tasks. This means a lot of wasted resources.
This is where agile takes on a completely different meaning. In fact, a lot of early adopters use the term in reference to both the iterative process as well as the smaller scope of the project. Once the process is fully tested, a larger version can be built in an iterative manner.
Agile is not a process, it is a mindset. It means to focus on results, execute a vision, not a plan. In essence, a true agile team is always focusing on delivering value to customers, and continuous improvement. By using an agile mindset, organizations will be able to find new ways to deliver value to customers, the way that customers need it, and in the time they need it.