Being agile has become the new normal in the business world.
In a rapidly changing business environment, agile transformation has become a necessity. The organizations that have been traditionally managed will have to undergo many changes in their organizational culture to have an agile transformation.
What’s Agile Transformation?
According to McKinsey, “agile transformation is the ability of an organization to renew itself, adapt, change quickly, and succeed in a rapidly changing, ambiguous, turbulent environment”,
as well as “the ability to quickly reconfigure strategy, structure, processes, people, and technology toward value-creating and value-protecting opportunities.”
The modern usage of the term agile as a way of working can be traced back to 2001 as the Agile Manifesto had been introduced at that time.
The history of the Agile Manifesto
In February 2001, at the Lodge at Snowbird ski resort in the Wasatch mountains of Utah, 17 independent-minded software practitioners met to talk, ski, relax & discuss how to improve software development.
Most of the software development at that time was completed using heavyweight methodologies and the group wanted to find something better. They started working on various alternative development approaches like eXtreme Programming, Crystal, and Scrum. These approaches were informally called lightweight methods. The group further discussed among themselves to find an appropriate name instead of lightweight methods.
What emerged after their discussion was the “ Agile Manifesto For Software Development”.
Over the years Agile Manifesto For Software Development had grown and the agile ways of working had spread beyond software development. Today Agile manifesto has been shortened to agile and has been applied in various fields.
Since agile transformation is of paramount importance, let’s look into some practices that organizations can follow for a successful agile transformation.
7 Best Practices for leading Agile Transformation
1. Define the Agile Structures & processes
When an organization decides to have an agile transformation, it needs to first define its agile structures and processes for better speed and flexibility. A rigid chain of command must be foregone in the process of agile transformation. The organization should also embrace employee empowerment, set up new decision-making processes, and establish cross-functional teams.
2. Internal communications play an important role
Transparent and clear communication plays an important in the process of agile transformation. Internal communicators will have to be creative storytellers. They have to explain to the team members the importance and benefits of agile transformation. To catch the attention, the messages can be conveyed in an authentic and personal way.
3. Leaders should act as role models
Agile transformation isn’t just a project or new initiative but an ongoing journey that requires a fresh way of thinking. Leaders should act as role models for their team members and help them adapt to changes.
4. Easy Collaboration
Teams and departments should be able to easily collaborate with each other.
According to a study by Deloitte, 94% of organizations report that “agility and collaboration” are important to their organization’s success.
When an organization decides to be agile it has to shift to a network, team-based collaborative structure as a collaboration among various departments is a must.
5. Success needs to be celebrated & recognized
Once an agile transformation happens in the organization it is necessary to regularly manage it. Appreciation has to be provided for new employees’ actions to embrace the change further. A recognition program can also be implemented on the basis of the new company values and principles. When an employee act in accordance with the values set, his/her hard work can also be recognized and it can encourage the same behavior in other team members as well.
6. Employee-driven communication should be encouraged
A rise in employee-driven communication is a sign of positive change in the workplace rather than the communication initiated by the leaders. At any point, employees should be able to initiate and lead company-wide conversations. The agile transformation will only be successful when there is open & honest communication in the workplace.
7. Agile Friendly communication medium needs to be developed
Companies should use agile-friendly communication tools for the efficient transfer of information. More intuitive & and mobile-friendly communication tools can be considered for this purpose.
Barriers to Agile Transformation
Agile transformation is not an easy task as it has to face some challenges
Let’s have a look at it.
1. Resistance to change
There happens to be resistance to changes by the employees as they have to adapt to new ways of working. A leader should explain the benefits of agile transformation to reduce the resistance of employees.
2. Poor communication
When there is a lack of clear, open, and honest communication between team members the agile transformation will not be successful. In order to gain success, internal communication channels need to be well defined and strengthened.
3. Role of technology ignored
There are many solutions that make agile transformation much easier to achieve. But many times the role of technology in becoming agile is ignored by many organizations This needs to be avoided as appropriate use of technology can provide remarkable success.
4. Lack of support from leaders
There are times when the leaders are not supportive and not conducive to changes. Such behavior can also hamper the process of agile transformation.
To wrap up, Agile transformation can be successful when it touches every facet of the organization including people, process, strategy, structure, and technology. The most important aspect that requires utmost care in the process of an agile transformation is people. If the employees are aligned with the new culture and initiative, everything else will be much easier.
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