In my previous article, I shared my view about the organizational strategy across People, Process and Technology for a successful Enterprise Agile Transformation.
The "definition of success" envisaged by each organization on their transformation journey is different based on their current state and given business outcome thought-through for a specific milestone. However, they go through a certain commonality in the roadmap which is critical for their success. Let us deep dive into the various stages of this journey, from what we understand are - Early Adopt (Warm-Up), Storming, Intermediate Maturity and finally the Accelerate stage.
Similar to a coach explaining the significance of a warm-up to his athletes, every enterprise coach will also look to have a good warm-up (pre-requisites) to strengthen the base before going full throttle into the storming phase towards Enterprise Transformation. This would lead to enhanced performance, better coordination and efficient distribution amongst various entities - most important of all - reducing the risk of impacting their business as usual while there is an attempt to overhaul its core.
Setting the Base with Correct Warm-up:
Here are some of key focus areas and best practices that has to be implemented at the warm-up stage. These are not a "big bang" approach of enforcing all practices. It is about "piecemeal adoption" of Agile practices across various functions in the organization, though each function will have varied level of maturity at a given stage based on their as-is state.
- Bringing in 100% agility across - through influencer leadership
- Emphasised speed of taking decisions and resolving impediments
- Partner Alignment where in, partners should be on-boarded keeping in-line with the overall initiative.
- Empowered Transformation Office to govern this journey
- Gauge and Imbibe Agile Culture / Mind set, where in, identify and deploy Agilists (Technical and Process) across with Central Enabler Council Governance and enabling the teams to speak the same Agile language through common trainings across teams / locations / geographies.
- Enable Collaborative Environment by setting up work infrastructure which encourages empowered and collaborative environment with togetherness - making it a cool and fun place to work
- HR enabled team happiness exercises where the whole set of DNA change in the appraisal process is linked to individual growth in the Agile construct.
It goes without saying that during the warm-up stage, we will find the following few sentiments that needs to be outpaced by focusing on the long term goal:
- Change management exercise: Impacting the generalized middle management
- Overemphasized team size with multiple ownership
- Business on-boarded with over excitement / expectation
- Lack of enabler teams aligned to the initiative
- Team recognition and "regionalization"
As we gather steam towards the storming with the given base strength, we should also bring the following aspects in team thinking
- Teams should start focusing on completing the features (End user focussed User Stories or Epic(s)) rather than the individual tasks with the appropriate definition of done aligned to the business need.
- Teams should step-up on the Agile practices by scaling maturity across business units by focusing on what suits the organization rather than the prescribed scaling frameworks.
- Flexibility & Transparency - Teams should get in single source of truth across the people layers right from execution teams to leadership teams.
- Content Decisions - Teams should follow lean principles where in, they should decide as late as possible and deliver as fast as possible.
As we weather the storming stage, we start seeing following sentiments which is an assurance towards moving in the right direction:
Each Organization will have its own duration of the storming stage based on how rooted they are with their culture and readiness for adoption. As the organization moves from the storming stage towards intermediate maturity state, the focus would shift on the following aspects:
- An overwhelming focus on effectiveness of Agile processes (Scrum / Kanban) adoption.
- Teams shifting their focus away from POC and individual modules, starts focusing on the end to end functionality which is a big step towards "Speed to Market".
- Teams obsessed with the white board and sticky, worried about updating their activities on the physical boards. Positive competitiveness on using the single source of truth either in the form of white board or Enterprise Agile tools (specifically for distributed teams)
- Dismantle / Merge of specific functions as part of federated model adoption i.e. Test and BA function. This leads to building the culture of cross functional skill building amongst teams.
- Bringing Product Thinking - Focus on the MVPs over multiple releases
- Pushing the pedal on speed-to-market - Frequent predictable sprints & outcome with MVP focus on joint planning
- Quality Focus-Engineering Rigor
- Bringing predictability of the team outcome by increase business flexibility
- As we move closer towards the intermediate maturity stage, we will see the following sentiments seen in varied trends:
- Focus on productivity - Efforts vs Speed vs Quality
- Sentiments of in-house skill building rather than outsourcing / contracting
As the organization thrives to accelerate and sustain the achieved maturity state it becomes relatively easy for them to typically shift their focus into increment and new innovation initiatives depending on their area of business Engineering Metrics. During this stage the focus shifts towards the 'value generated' against the given spend during this journey. This is critical and we plan to pen it down in our next blog. Till then we would appreciate your feedback on the same and help us improve on it.