How to Lead Agile Transformation in Your Company Like a Boss
Today’s customers don’t want to stand in a queue. They want results quickly, and as a business, you’ve got to offer the market what it needs with rapidity. Otherwise, there are other businesses that would do it and gain the market share that was meant for you. Hence, come the need for an agile transformation plan.
But is there a way to act swiftly and serve market needs in a short period of time? The answer to that question is a resounding yes! If you want to be able to react to the fast-changing customer demands, then you must incorporate Agile transformation in your business.
So, what is Agile transformation? Well, let’s not get into complex definitions that could confuse even an expert. Simply put, Agile transformation is a way of working that enables businesses and enterprises to work collaboratively and react to changes that occur in the market with agility.
In this article, you’ll learn how to lead Agile transformation in your company efficiently.
4 Elements of a Successful Agile Transformation Plan
Every Agile coach may recommend a different Agile transformation plan, but there are some areas that a company should always focus on while undertaking Agile transformation. These areas are People, Structure, Technology and Processes. Let’s discuss each of them one by one.
When creating an Agile transformation plan, you must understand the role of the people who will contribute to this transformation, and this starts with Agile transformation leadership. Managers should lead by inspiring their subordinates and motivating them to work towards a vision. In short, they should talk to their team members instead of talking “at” them.
Now, you cannot reach your Agile transformation goals without the best talent. This is why you should attract and retain the most competent people you can find. Talent along with supportive Agile transformation leadership is surely an integral part of a successful Agile Transformation plan.
Both people and Agile transformation leadership are a crucial part of the company’s structure. One of the key features of Agile is agility, and this agility is achieved by reducing hierarchical layers and creating a structure in which individuals have more decision-making power. Agile leadership is about supporting and empowering team members, and your corporate structure should reflect this.
That is why, when creating an Agile transformation plan, you should streamline your reporting structure to the point where the higher-ups do not involve themselves in every small decision in the business.
Whether it’s JIRA or Trello or any other platform, you will need the right technology to reach your Agile transformation goals. Not only can you use technology to assign and keep track of tasks, but you can also use it to automate testing and integration processes, and this will surely help you achieve the agility that Agile offers.
Again, processes play a huge role in enhancing the agility of a project. Poor processes result in wasted time and average-quality outputs. However, streamlined processes will ensure that the team’s energy is only diverted towards value-creating activities. You should also create processes through which staff from different departments can communicate and collaborate easily. You should avoid silos at all costs because they often become a hindrance to successful collaboration.
6 Steps to an Outstanding Agile Transformation
Now that we have discussed the four important elements of a fruitful Agile transformation, let’s discuss the steps for how to lead agile transformation.
Step 1: Have a vision
Where do you want to take your company through Agile transformation? Even though the Agile methodology focuses more on changing and doing things better constantly, you should at least have a rigid vision that you and your team should be working towards. You can begin with defining a vision and take comfort in the fact that it is not set in stone. You can transform it as you move forward.
Step 2: Coach the team
If no one in the company is an Agile expert, you should hire an Agile coach who has led several Agile transformation projects before. Flying blind and relying on video tutorials to run an Agile transformation in the company may cost you in the long run. It’s best to let a consultant lead the situation for the first time.
Step 3: Build a roadmap
Just like any other process, you will also need a roadmap for an Agile transformation project. This is where you need to use those four elements of a successful Agile Transformation plan that we mentioned above. What you want to include in your roadmap ultimately depends on you, but usually, it’s a good idea to add the vision, timelines, objectives, and resources to the roadmap.
Step 4: Create short-term plans
Even though it may take a few months or years to reach the end goal, you should create short-term plans routinely, for example, a three-month plan. This plan should entail what objectives do we need to achieve, and who is responsible for what, and the KPIs.
Step 5: Assess progress periodically
Unlike the Waterfall approach, where there is no flexibility and the end-product is pre-defined, there is a lot of room for flexibility in Agile. So, it’s recommended that you conduct an assessment of your progress every seven, or fifteen, or even thirty days, and make changes as necessary.
Step 6: Adapt along the way
This is a very important step, and it’s the one thing that separates Agile from other frameworks. An Agile transformation will teach you a lot of things along the way. You will learn what works and what we need to change or eliminate. You may even modify the end vision before reaching it. This is because, in Agile, you understand systems and products better as time passes.
Agile is a very impressive framework that has helped numerous businesses of various sizes. However, it could take some time to get used to the fast-paced work environment that comes with Agile. In fact, companies that practice Agile usually mention “should be able to work in a fast-paced environment” as a mandatory requirement when advertising a new job.