91% of CIOs consider agility as a core issue in today’s organizations. In addition to that, the real challenge is to scale agile, so to implement agile methods across the enterprise, including all the business departments and stakeholders. Based on our customers’ feedback as well as on the field experience of agile coaches with whom we regularly discuss, we have identified key steps to « kick-start » agility, gradually deploying it within cross-functional teams and then at all organization’s levels. We are sharing with you a few tips to help you achieve business goals by working differently. If you are willing to bring agility to your organization, bear in mind the following 5 best practices.
#1 Elaborate a collective reflection via an organizational diagnosis
Before launching the transformation process to become an agile enterprise, an organizational assessment is necessary to elaborate a collective reflection involving the corporate levels, aiming to determinate if there’s a strong need for an in-depth transformation. If this transition towards agility feels more like a trend effect, then it won’t be a priority – or even useless – since it doesn’t come from the organization’s intrinsic motivation and will.
Is our corporate culture really Agile?
The enterprise agile transformation is successful whenever all the stakeholders are involved in the process: so they should feel part of it since they are carrying out the projects.
Agility at scale largely relies on values, on a mindset: without all the employees’ participation and implication it will inevitably fail. For sure, agility is made of 30% tools and practices and of 70% culture.
What is our level of Agility ?
Before launching an agile transformation, aiming at reconfiguring the teams’ work environment, it is necessary to assess the current level of agility within the company. For example, if there are Scrum teams or if teams already use the Kanban method is a very good starting point to facilitate spreading agility at scale.
This assessment enables to evaluate the organization’s functioning as well as to define the expected outcomes and ideal final state, thanks to pre-established areas of improvement.
Ultimately, what drives us towards an agile transformation at scale?
Agility is on the rise and embodies an innovative organizational method, attracting more and more businesses. Yet, it is fundamental to frame and define both the needs and the expectations of the agile transformation: a lack of purpose and motivation will undoubtedly make it falter…
This is why before getting started with agility at scale it is of paramount importance to ask yourself « why? ».
The transition towards agility has to be thoroughly thought, meaningful and supported by the company. Why do we want to go through an agile transformation? For better time-to-market? For quality improvement? Or else, for costs reduction? All your needs have to be posted out as to successfully carry out this change. Give yourself time to think it straight!
#2 Involve the Top Management throughout the whole transformation process
The deployment of agility at scale has to be supported by the top management, in order to better face with any potential resistance to change and operational challenges. The management represents the driving force of the company and therefore should be ready to launch this transformation as well as to adapt to it, if they are expecting the same support and participation from all the stakeholders. The management has to embody the change and values they are wishing to promote across the organization.
Gaining advocates at the highest organizational levels, ideally within the top management, ensures to achieve the overall transformation of the enterprise, hence not only focused on the IT department.
#3 Support change: leading the transformation « agilely »
As mentioned above, an agile transformation can’t be successful without the motivation and the involvement of all the company’s members. Accompanying change to become agile mainly focuses on considering the human factor.
An agile transformation has an impact on the whole organization, at all levels and for every business unit. This is why it is essential to spread information about it and even to train employees sometimes, in order to easily introduce and convey the philosophy, the values and the language of Agility. This step enables to foster the stakeholders’ commitment to the transformation launch.
Some people may refuse to embrace agility because the new collaborative work mode doesn’t suit their work team. Coaching is at this point necessary to understand how the employees perceive change, so that it will be possible to find a solution, making it acceptable. An enterprise having no experience in Agility can count on an agile coach to help it out throughout the process.
To get started, we have explained here some complementary practices to know how to deal with your large-scale agile transformation.
#4 Choose a scalable agile framework adapted to your business
If you want to succeed in your agile transformation, merely applying a pre-designed framework might not be the best solution for you. Instead, it is advisable to implement a specific, customized framework that better suits and adapts to your business and enterprise environnement, as to get actual benefits for your organization.
After having chosen among one of the top 5 methods to scale agile, it is important to make sure that all the business units are involved in building up this development model, thanks to key functions, such as the role of the Product Owner.
#5 Make your tools evolve towards cutting-edge agile solutions
It is essential to provide your teams with the most appropriate solutions to ensure your agile transformation. By choosing Tuleap, the French open source software for project management, the Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA) has merged its 3 IT departments and succeeded its agile transformation while making operational methods evolve to better manage its software development projects.
Scaled Agile: how to implement transformation
Agility at scale is one of the current challenges in large organizations. To help you get started, we have this e-book for you. Whether you are the initiator of this new business approach or at the heart of operational teams, this e-book helps you better understand the challenges and contributions for all agility at scale can bring.