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What Must Management Do for a Successful Agile Transformation?

As the world constantly evolves, new methods of getting work done are coming on to the scene. While each company has a unique inner structure and workflow, more often than not, a particular system can apply to many of them to enhance the work environment. During recent years, more and more companies have opted for an agile approach for both software development and project management. This has led to an inevitable spread, and a demand for agile transformation.

agile transformation.png

Only, when it comes to such a huge undertaking, there’s a lot of risk that comes with it. If done correctly, the company will soar. If, however, things go wrong, it might be a big loss. So today we’re bringing you a few things to keep in mind before attempting this transition!

What does agile transformation mean?

The simplest way to describe agile transformation is when a company or an organization decides to transition into using a fully agile system. According to Atlassian, "Agile is an iterative approach to project management and software development that helps teams deliver value to their customers faster and with fewer headaches."

By implementing this system, a company's focus on deliverables changes, altering the entire production plan from huge releases to small increments in shorter cycles. This results in more releases and in smaller doses.

Since this is an organization-wide transition, it affects every individual team and department. As such, it's vital to have a solid plan before deciding on this undertaking, as well as doing everything you could to make it work.

What are the benefits of agile transformation?

If done correctly, agile transformation can yield some great results. To start off, it can help team members, and even those outside of said teams work better together as their work process becomes more cohesive. Then, with a solid system in place, and everyone working well together, it goes without saying that there will be more deliverables at a faster rate. This, in turn, will lead to a great ROI, ensuring this was the right move for the company. 

What are the drawbacks of agile transformation?

As with any change, there will be a lot of problems for the company higher-ups to deal with. The first is that the employees might not be willing to embrace this change in the first place. This is particularly prevalent for long-time employees, as they’ve gotten too used to the old system and how things work that they’d rather stay with what they know. After all, adopting a new system will require training, wasted time, so much energy to get a better understanding, as well as various mistakes along the way. For someone to be doing so well with an old system, they wouldn’t want to flounder with a new one and look the fool. 

The second concern would be the employees having a hard time understanding the new system. A mistake like this can not only slow down the implementation process, but it can also cause damage and rejection of the new system. 

Another concern would be how costly this change would be. Whether it’s to buy all-new software for the entire organization, hire people to do the training, or even halt the production to put this system in place, the company is going to lose a lot of money during this transition.

Now, that we have a grasp of the concept, let's talk about what management must do to make it happen.

What should management do to ensure it succeeds?

1. Have a solid objective in place

Before embarking on such a long and arduous journey, you should have solid plan in place. This plan will include your company-specific goals that you’re ultimately hoping to achieve. For that, you’ll need to put into consideration:

  • the size of your company,
  • the different departments within,
  • the separate teams and their roles,
  • what you currently have on hand that could transition into the new system and
  • the future production rate.

With all of this down, you can work on a roadmap to highlight the small accomplishments by specific points until you achieve your end goal.

With the right plan in motion, by working SMART, you can make it happen.

2. Employ the right resources  

Being fully aware of the resources you'll need to help you make things happen is a great way to start. For example, which mailing service will you be utilizing? Will you be going for Google's suite of apps or would you prefer Microsoft? With Jira as your preferred service management tool, will you be needing other app integrations such as Confluence for documentation and Mobile for Jira for versatility?

There will be a lot of tools to consider beforehand, so ensure it's done thoroughly.

3. Find the right team structure

Going from one system to another isn’t the only change that will need to take place. You might have to change the teams as well to create a much more efficient workflow. Finding those who work better together, or those whose skills complement one another, or even those with skills that balance each other out on different ends, isn’t going to be the easiest of tasks, but it is vital.

4. Provide the proper training

As we mentioned earlier, one of the reasons people cannot accept a new system being put in place is that they aren’t properly trained in it. This could cause a lot of unnecessary problems at the start, that could later on lead to bigger complications and a failure to implement the new system. But if you take the time and put in the energy to ensure the proper training takes place, everyone will be happy in the long run. This might seem like a waste of time, since all the employees will have to give up their work in order to focus on the training. Except, it really isn’t because if the employees fully understand everything properly, they’ll take to the new system better and without any pressure being put on them.

Don’t try to rush this.

5. Ensure there's constant communication

One mistake you can inadvertently make is accidentally create a block in communication. Whether it’s simply because you’re too busy, or the employees aren’t comfortable discussing the problems they face with other managers, this is teetering on dangerous territory. Not only is it a step into becoming a toxic work environment, but it also creates a wall that will hinder the transition process.

You need to ensure your employee as comfortable talking to you and the other managers about every issue they’re facing. Not only that, but keep them in the loop in some of the progress so that they don’t think it’s all for nothing. Demonstrate how their efforts are going to affect the company’s efficiency, and how you believe they’re doing an excellent job in sticking to the new system despite whatever difficulties they might be facing.

6. Be patient

The biggest mistake anyone can make is assuming that agile transformation is a simple transition that shouldn’t take long to implement and get results from. This system can take from months to even years, depending on how large the organization is and how long it's been established. Older systems are much more difficult to change than newer systems in smaller companies. 

All you need to do is stay consistent, don’t falter in your quest, and before you know it, you’ll be seeing results.

Conclusion

An agile transformation might just be the right move to take your company to the next level. However, there’s a lot to keep in mind when it comes to putting it in place. You’re not merely changing a work system, you’re changing your company’s culture and how your employees interact with it. Every work process will be transformed, with roles needing to be re-identified and deliverables coming out differently. But if you put the right plan in place and adhere to it properly, you’ll be able to come out of it with incredible results.

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