Agile transformation
Project Management

Agile transformation in a nutshell: Getting started

date: 20 October 2020
reading time: 5 min

Agile transformation refers to shifting an organisation towards becoming more flexible, adaptable and efficient in an ever-changing environment. And this can take various forms, depending on the company’s needs and its current state. For example, it can pertain to introducing new products or services, or just to an internal reorganisation.

However, an obvious rule of thumb is that the bigger the company, the more complex the process. In any case, making a smooth transformation requires a good understanding of what Agile transformation means in the first place, as well as having a detailed strategy.

With this in mind, we’ve decided to prepare a series of articles that will guide you through any kind of Agile transformation, step by step, on an overall level. Today, we want to share the first article (out of three) with you, and discuss the preparation phase.

3 steps to a successful Agile transformation

Create a shared understanding of what Agile transformation means on the executive level

  • Organise a meeting (or series of meetings) to analyse and discuss the idea.
    This should take place on the executive level. You need all hands on deck to start this transformation but the most important thing is to create a leadership coalition to get their support. Your executive team can bring a lot of valuable insights to the table, give you a full picture of what is going on in the company and help you see which areas are most lacking in efficiency and flexibility. During the next stages, they will also be key to organising their teams to carry out the work in accordance with the plan.
  • Make sure everyone comprehends what the transformation means for your organisation.
    The result of this discussion should be a shared group understanding of what Agile transformation means in your particular case. This will be crucial to defining a coherent agenda later on, with concrete priorities. Also, after conducting the initial detailed analysis, you should be able to see your weakest points quite clearly, as well as your main strengths.

Define your vision

  • Specify what needs to be changed, exactly.
    After making a thorough assessment during step number one, you will be able to set the main priorities of the transformation process for your business. You may want to do a few things at once or just one thing at a time, depending on the scale of your project and your own capabilities. Remember to always list your priorities in order of importance and urgency.
  • Determine what you want to achieve.
    Having an end vision is pretty important. Yet, of equal importance, is for you and your c-level executives to be aware of the fact that this vision may develop and change as you move forward. Define the expected outcomes but accept that today’s ideas are just hypotheses that you need to have as a starting point, and that they will probably be put to the test during the transformation process itself.

Create a roadmap

  • Create a long-term strategy and a short-term plan of action.
    On top of your priorities, you will finally be able to set up a cross-cutting action plan to begin your Agile transformation. A long-term strategy, along with a short-term agenda for the tasks that you need to accomplish, will help you monitor your progress later on, once you start.
  • Define specific roles and responsibilities.
    For organisational purposes, you need to define specific roles in your project, including a detailed description of their competencies. Each member of the Agile transformation team has to know who is responsible for what, and in what order. This all must be clearly stated in order to avoid any conflicts of interests when implementing tasks as well as during the decision-making process.
  • Build a new sales and marketing strategy.
    Every kind of Agile transformation should have a positive effect on your approach to your customers, whether you’re selling products or services. You can turn the transformation process into a new business opportunity in itself by building a new sales and marketing strategy around it, and letting your potential clients know exactly how they will benefit from your transformation. Also, don’t forget about your existing customer base – and adjust your communication strategy accordingly. To do that, you may need some internal training to help your employees understand what they are actually selling.
  • Build a verification model in order to monitor the effectiveness of the transformation process.
    And last but not least, you need to prepare a set of metrics to be able to verify whether your transformation is going in accordance with the plan and if the outcomes are satisfying enough. There’s no single, set way to monitor and measure the effectiveness of this process – your methods will vary greatly between projects, since each and every one of them is different. It also depends on your objectives. For example, your verification model can be based on predetermined success indicators (when transforming selected internal processes) or on the opinions of a specified target group (when preparing a new product for customers). Either way, this step is an absolute must.

With solid preparation, you’re off to a good start!

When it comes to any project, the preparation phase is essential – if you want to do the job right, that is. And the Agile transformation process is no exception; preparation has to be well-thought-out and carefully orchestrated. With support from and a shared understanding among your staff, together with a clear and ambitious vision, and a solid plan – you will have a much better chance of success. Especially when the project is complex and requires a lot of resources. So, it’s definitely worth investing some time during the beginning phase in order to make sure you are well-prepared, so that you don’t end up losing it (and your money) later on.

Hope you’ve found our tips helpful! If so, look at the next article in our Agile series – we’re going to guide you through the transformation process itself, one step at a time.

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