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The Seven-Step Journey to Agile Transformation

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Organizations for decades now are trying to correct their dystopian present to ensure a utopian future. This process has come to be known as Agile transformation. 

But, what’s the best way to get there? If you’re looking for an answer to this question, then you’ve come to the right place. 

Let’s learn the 7 essential steps to achieve agile transformation, but not before learning its definition and need. 

Let’s begin! 

What is Agile Transformation? 

Agile transformation is the controlled organization-wide process of helping individuals and organizations undergo the necessary mindset shift to experience the benefits of agility. 

Need for Agile Transformation 

Does one really need Agile transformation? How does it harm if our organization is not fully agile?

These are some questions organizations ask our Agile coaches and our answer is summed up below. 

In a volatile business world where things are fast-changing and the easy accessibility of value definition and delivery. By applying agile values and undergoing an agile transformation, you can grasp the competitive advantage. 

7 Essential Steps to Achieve Agile Transformation 

How does one achieve Agile transformation? Is there a playbook or an expert guide to Agile transformation?

The answers to these questions aren’t so simple. Here are 7 steps to help you achieve Agile transformation. 

1. Building a culture of trust 

Trust is hard to build when it comes to agile implementation. Trust takes gigantic efforts since senior leaders and team members should be deeply immersed in the agile process.

Managers who don’t listen to team members, don’t understand and correct their mistakes and don’t create a conducive environment for open communication fail to create trust in the organization. 

Do you want to know how to trust, the easy way?

Listen to your employees and seek advice. You would be amazed to receive some productive advice and problems you never knew existed will be brought to your notice. 

Leading by example demonstrates trust. Promote open communication everyone irrespective of the designation can share their opinions freely. Also, it’s best not to penalize the team for mistakes. Take responsibility for the mistakes, correct them and use them as learning lessons. 

2. Create a framework that enables continuous improvement 

Agile propagate the principle of continuous improvement which involves a steady process in improving the products and services.

Constant improvement helps to build an agile culture that helps build value. 

Continuous improvement enables an increase in skills and knowledge of team members giving way for healthy competition. 

To check whether agile is delivering results, the processes and strategy must be measured and reviewed regularly. 

Continuous improvement is beneficial in reducing costs, optimizing and channeling workflows, enhancing quality, saving time, and engaging team members. 

3. Empower teams to resolve problems 

When problems arise, the team should be given the authority to resolve them. The team is well aware of the problem at hand and possesses the knowledge to resolve problems.

To foster a culture of self-organized teams, ask teams to solve a problem and enquire about their approach. The team will then get down to the task, pool all their expertise and knowledge, and present a steady and feasible solution. 

You need to watch and ensure the team gels well and works as a close-knit team to solve the problems. 

4. Ensuring quality is a team responsibility 

Every team member should take ownership of delivering quality products. Suboptimal quality is hidden in the agile development process.

This includes requirements, documentation, code, delivery, automation, and support. Since none of these come under the ambit of Quality Assurance(QA). 

The other team members should be equally proactive in identifying mistakes and correcting them. Quality first mindset ensures that everyone is equally responsible to identify flaws and deliver the optimum product. 

5. Ascertain the bottlenecks and rectify them 

Timely delivery and continuous improvement are the core commandments of agile methodology. Determining the areas where time is mismanaged and removing impediments or bottlenecks regularly should come second nature if you want to ensure your organization becomes truly agile.

Prioritizing important tasks and working on tasks that need overhaul should be the main goal.  

6. Develop Products by applying the principles of quality 

Building quality products take precedence over everything else. As the head, you need to ensure that the software development process is as per best practices and quality principles.

If a final outcome does not meet the quality standard even by a minor percentage, the product should be reworked. 

7. Concentrate on the smallest value 

Delivering value is the essence of the agile methodology. Diverting your efforts in providing value, however small it might be, means focusing on features that meet customer requirements and business value.

To build features that deliver value, user stories should be studied and not overlooked. Everything should be evaluated and measured, the impact of a feature on customer satisfaction and ways to decrease costs and increase revenue. 

Conclusion

Agile transformation isn’t achieved in a day, a fortnight, a month, 6 months, or even a year. It takes 1-3 years to witness a turnaround in an organization. 

Agile transformation is a methodical process and involves meticulous planning, senior management support, and knowledge and experience of agile methods. 

Author – Naveen Kumar Singh is an Agile Coach and a Professional Scrum Trainer (PST), facilitates Scrum Master Training, Scrum Developer, Product Owner, Agile, Kanban, and LeSS Practitioners as well as provides agile technical workshops. Naveen is active in the agile community and participates in major events as a speaker and volunteer. He has also presented papers in Global Scrum Gatherings as well as in many other Scrum Alliance conferences and meet-ups.

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