Agile Transformation is a strategy, not a goal.

Leave a comment
agile

I came across an interesting article on InfoQ, it’s titled “Transforming from Projects to Products“. If you want deeper understanding on topics, InfoQ offers descent and great articles. So I’d like you (someone in any position who plans or is part of an “agile transformation” to read this).

Excerpts of the article:

The general understanding and perception of “Agile” or “agile”

” ‘Agile’ as we have come to know it whether we mean Scrum, Kanban, Lean, Lean Start-up, or any of the many other Agile frameworks is, in most cases a collection of historic good practices and guidelines identified by successful leaders and businesses in the past, they have been collected under one umbrella polished up a bit and marketed – very successfully – which is likely why you are reading this.  I say this to discourage the notion that ‘Agile’ is new and untested, there are certainly some misinterpretations and misapplications but the underlying principles are sound and based on a lot of experience.”

In fact, each company or organisations should be concerned to become more agile (as defined in the dictionary), this is a matter of sound principles and ‘common sense‘ (for example: eliminate waste and become more effective in what you do – certainly in software development / product delivery there are many ways to achieve this).

If an agile transformation is not an end-goal, what is the goal?

Organisations shouldn’t embark on a mission to become agile, without understanding what it takes in terms of cultural and organisational changes – and most importantly: figure out what they want to achieve – why do you need a change?

Questions to be asked:

  • Are your customers dissatisfied?
  • Are your products missing the mark?
  • Do you (or your clients) feel you are not getting value for money?
  • Are you slow to market?
  • If you are creating software products for internal teams are they not having the impact you expected?
  • Are people circumventing your tools?
  • Is your ROI on software development too low?
  • Are you losing key development staff?
  • Is there a lack of transparency in the software development process?

As you notice these questions which concern the whole organisation. Any initiative for improvement should be looked at globally – at an organisational (systems) level – in order to avoid local optimisations.

  • What are the major areas of improvement?
  • Transform from projects to products, including:
    • Stop managing, and start leading
    • Shift from “output” (deliverables), to focus on “outcomes”
  • Embrace the idea there is (and will be) uncertainty, instead of fighting it.

“Agile Product Leadership is about accepting the plan is likely wrong or at the very least unclear and the scope is unknown, and so adapting to change and building the right things to fulfil our customers’ needs.”

  • Reward people based on contribution to a common goal, instead of individual performance

Changing from:
“What will I do today?” to “What can I do to help the team towards our goal today?”
can make a huge difference to behaviour.

Common understanding why we want to change as an organisation

“Your business should be saying:

  • Where do we need to improve?
  • and how will we measure success?

Agile transformation may be a means of reaching that goal.

“If you choose an Agile Transformation you will measure success by delivering what customers need, by creating happy and satisfied customers not adherence to a plan. You will measure teams success by those that are willing to learn and grow.  By empowering teams to make decisions for themselves you can create an environment of continuous improvement.”

Read the full article at InfoQ.

and recall:

Image source: https://quickscrum.com/Images/article_detail/Whyagiletransformationisdifficult-1.png