In today’s fast-moving digital landscape, organisations of all sectors and sizes are looking at ways gain the speed, flexibility and responsiveness needed to remain competitive. A desire to take advantage of emerging trends and opportunities has driven a growth in the popularity of Agile methodologies, which are focused on continual communication, collaboration and iteration, and also helped extend its influence far beyond the world of software development where it originated.
But if you too want to benefit from Agile adoption, you need to make sure you go about it the right way. More than simply following a set of instructions, to get the greatest value from the approach you need to not only do Agile, but be Agile too; otherwise you run the risk of failed initiatives and wasted budget.
In this article we’ll cover in more detail some of the key activities you need to undertake to make sure your Agile transformation is a success, drawing on lessons from those organisations that have effectively adopted the approach to help you achieve maximum impact and returns.
1. Assess the current state of your organisation
Before embarking on the road to Agile, conduct an ‘as-is’ audit to understand exactly what point your organisation is at currently. This will provide you with an overarching view of your organisation’s core practices, processes and cultural fit for Agile that can be used as a benchmark to measure the impact of future initiatives, as well as highlighting any blockers and pain points that your transformation will need to address.
Remember to involve your team from the start too, building staff questionnaires and collaborative workshops into your audit to capture insight that will inform your eventual training and rollout plans.
2. Choose an approach that works for you
Armed with a clear understanding of your organisational environment, you’ll be better able to define the best approach for your needs. There are numerous diverse frameworks that all fall under the term ‘Agile’, so be sure to explore a variety of options to find out what works best for you.
You don’t have to limit yourself to a single framework either. If you’re finding it difficult to fully embrace a particular technique, then consider tailoring it to better meet your requirements. Different departments may also have different goals, so don’t be afraid to adapt your approach accordingly.
3. Put the right knowledge and skills in place
Once you’ve defined your approach, you need a training plan that will provide your team with the knowledge and skills to put it into practice. Including lots of practical exercises and collaborative workshops will help equip staff with an understanding of Agile’s core principles and processes, as well as demonstrating how the approach will impact their particular role, department or tasks.
You should also factor in training for key stakeholders that provide a high-level introduction to the approach; focusing on business benefits to secure buy-in at an early stage.
4. Start small
While it can be tempting to launch right into an organisation-wide Agile transformation, beginning with a single team will help reduce risk, by enabling you to resolve any challenges encountered practising Agile ‘in the wild’ and optimise your approach in a small, contained environment first.
When choosing your trial group, look at who stands to gain the most from adopting Agile as well as who is already using elements of the approach, and be sure to regularly review progress to keep things on track.
5. Plan your roll-out
When you’re satisfied that your trial initiative is working effectively, it’s time to begin rolling out the approach. Keep your initial group involved in this process; not only will they give teams a proven example to follow, but they’ll also be able to act as Agile evangelists, championing the approach while allaying fears or concerns.
The review process implemented during your trial period should continue throughout your roll-out, to ensure that the approach is tailored to each team’s specific requirements. It’s also a good idea to conduct wider retrospective sessions that assess how effectively Agile is serving your organisation as a whole.
To find out more about making your journey towards Agile a smooth and successful one, download our Agile transformation white paper - and start reaping the rewards as soon as possible.