Insights

Agile transformation: a Journey towards a new identity

Agile transformation is a journey. It is a continuous repetition of cycles of alignment and self-organization.

The world is moving faster and becoming more complex and the digital era is gaining momentum. Needs are changing and what worked yesterday will not necessarily work today.

Faced with this fact, traditional project management and siloed organizations are no longer adapted to this speed of evolution and the need for continuous innovation. Today, the objective of organizations is to be competitive by delivering the right product, at the right time and with the best possible quality.

Agility is not the goal. It is a great way to move towards the goal. An Agile transformation is the act of evolving culture and practices, relentlessly, in order to thrive in this digital age. An agile transformation is a journey. It is not an isolated action in time with a start date and an end date.
 

Leading a Transformation with the Agile Mindset

Transformation models are all over the web and they are all equally valid. The success of a transformation depends on how you approach a model. To be successful, agile transformation is approached with an Agile mindset.

The agile mindset encourages to lead projects by valuing a collective intelligence which works in autonomy towards a common goal by making regular alignments to adapt.

Transformation models provide a roadmap, a basis to start the journey. Subsequently, it is the succession of alignments and self-organization that takes precedence.

The Best Way to Align is Through Communication

Prioritize discussions over surveys. Bring stakeholders together and allow differences of opinion to emerge and then reach a collective consensus.

This obviously requires total transparency. We can only improve if we face facts.

At the end of the alignment, the priority areas for investment emerge. The objective of this step is to raise awareness, which intrinsically triggers the motivation to get involved in the change.

To succeed, any transformation must be spontaneous. It must be desired and not undergone.

Self-organization

Once the urge to lead the change emerges, self-organization takes over.
 

The team self-organizes in terms of how it chooses and conducts the experimentation. This allows them to take ownership of the process, celebrate successes and learn from failures.

It is recommended to make small steps forward by looking for simple solutions. Seek the smallest possible step forward that brings us closer to the goal.

Each experiment is specific, solves a specific hypothesis and must be testable. The following model can be a good practice to successfully model these experiments:

We believe that the "problem hypothesis to solve" to verify we will "experiment to conduct" and measure "indicator that allows us to evaluate." And we shall be ok if "the criterion of success."

If the experimentation is a failure, we must go back without hesitation. This is the essence of experimentation. This is what will allow us to build the next step by considering the learning acquired.

If the experimentation is a success, we must ensure that it becomes a habit.

The cumulative effect of habits

Successful experimentation is one step. Changing a habit is another. It is easy to follow a practice when you have time to focus on it. A new practice is mastered when it becomes a habit and persists when minds are distracted by other disruptions.

The speed of a transformation is the speed of the collaborators who work on it.

It is important to take the time to anchor your practices until they are done without thinking about them. Just like driving a car.                                

Once a habit is acquired, it is possible to invest in new habits and reap the benefits of the cumulative effect.

Habits work by cumulative effect. Just as a bad habit can cause an accumulation of damage, a good habit will result in a cumulative benefit.

Conclusion

Agile transformation is a journey. It is a continuous repetition of cycles of alignment and self-organization. Each experimentation is emergent and has the goal of establishing a new good habit. Habits take time to become embedded and it is very important to invest this time. It is the accumulation of good habits that shapes identity.

To be Agile rather than to do Agile.

To be accompanied by an Agile coach can be relevant.

On the one hand, the coach has the tools to facilitate the emergence of collective intelligence and the Agile state of mind that will favor a transformation by small steps. On the other hand, he/she brings a neutral viewpoint and proposals that facilitate their consideration by the stakeholders, disregarding the history and experiences of each1.

 

1 Few references

*Habits: Atomic Habits de [[James Clear]]

*Transformation models : Agile fluency ;SAFe implementation Roadmap

*Assessment models : Spotify health check ; SAFe assessments

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Skander Hamza

Agile Coach