Become #Agilicious: 10 tips for agile transformation

A lot of organizations are still in a exploration phase when it comes to agile working and agile transformation. Because it is truly different from traditional leadership and operational styles,  organizations often are reluctant to shift agile methods from IT to company-wide. Change is always hard. But not changing, will be harder in the end. Although you should think big, it sometimes starts with small steps…

Tip #1

Start by getting some rhythm in daily routines to create the opportunity to improve step by step.

To start working agile, just implement some rhythm and routines like for example daily stand-up meetings and moments of retrospect. Having these moments in place gives the opportunity to improve step by step.

Tip #2

Communicate frequently. Do it inspiring. Successes, learning points, failures and lessons learned are all a part of the journey.

Agile transformation leads should communicate the successes and learning points within an organization. Do it. And do it frequently. Inspiring. Use blogs, vlogs, did-you-knows and storytelling. Invite or inspire stakeholders and others to share these milestones in your physical agile environment. Just as sharing successes are important, so are failures and lessons learned. Be transparent within the experimental and learning by doing-driven transformation.

Tip #3

Also senior leaders need support from an agile coach. Changing the strategy communication from how to what requires some practice and guidance.

Also senior leaders need support from an agile coach. Prior to, during and after the transformation towards an agile organisation it is necessary to have a proficient team of agile coaches available for delivery teams as well as leadership teams. Because next to the operational change, how should leaders act towards the agile organisation? How do you explain the organisation’s strategy without pushing on the how and solving impediments? Hence, hire agile coaches for everyone involved.

Tip #4

Getting people aboard of your agile transformation requires context. Building organizational agility should be driven by leadership stories that connect people to the company’s why.

Define a clear why for your agile transformation. Otherwise it is not going to succeed. Leadership will have to propagate this ‘why’ time after time, so that employees can commit and link their daily actions to it. Agile transformations can easily start from the bottom up. However, to transform an entire organization, it is the job of leadership to create the appropriate context. That means they set an example, tell stories and communicate and communicate.

Tip #5

Agile working requires different leadership. To lead an agile organisation, leaders need to learn how to let go.

The greatest challenge for leadership in an agile transformation is letting go. In order to be able to respond more quickly to developments in the market, it is desirable to place authorisations and responsibilities with the people who are in direct contact with the market, with customers. Enable them to make their own decisions on topics that they are familiar with.

Tip #6

Governance should not be taken lightly, it needs special attention when organisations start their transformation. There is no standard.

Not only the governance of the processes within the organization, but also the corporate governance and the interaction with clients and regulators. There is not just one way to go. For every organization the governance will be different. Guidance on how to design and implement the governance is a key success factor.

Tip #7

Create remarkable transparency. It is the ultimate way to streamline agile enthusiasm and boost decision-making: what NOT to do yet.

Transparency is the basic foundation of an agile way of working. Create transparency in all the work to be done. This will make it a whole lot easier to decide on what NOT to do… just yet. It is crucial that the oversight of all parallel work that is running is clear. This way it becomes much more to decide on what work not to do, in the running phase or not at all. And creating transparency in the impediments that hold back the workflow instead of accepting them as status quo. Start solving things. For real.

Tip #8

You need sparkling mindsets. Think like Pippi Longstocking: “I’ve never tried that before, so I think I should definitely be able to do that”.

Agile people, teams and organizations are characterized by a growth mindset. A positive mindset that focuses on development, solutions, improvement and transparency. This sparkling mindset is ultimately best served by a basic attitude that Pippi Longstocking describes with her historical words: “I’ve never tried that before, so I think I should definitely be able to do that”.

Tip #9

Delayering is crucial

It is important that every team can define the contribution of the team delivery towards the strategy of the organisation. This calls for the least possible organisational layers between senior leadership and the agile teams delivering value.

Tip #10?

The last one we left open. Simply, because we are really curious what tips about agile transformation our readers can come up with. Please write your input in the comments and we will select the best one as tip number 10!

How is your sparkling mindset doing?