Agile Transformation: Being Agile, Doing Agile, and Supporting Agile

Many organizations struggle to transition to a more agile or lean way of working.  In this blog posting we address three questions:

  1. What factors should your agile transformation address?
  2. How important are these factors in practice?
  3. How difficult are these factors to address?

What factors should your agile transformation address?

Our experience is that successful agile transformations need to address three fundamental issues:

  1. People (being agile).  This factor addresses issues such as individual mindset, team and organizational culture, and team and organizational structure.  As a Disciplined Agile coach you must help people to evolve to an agile mindset, learn new skills, adopt improved collaboration strategies, and evolve the way they are organized to reflect their new ways of working.  As you can see below, this factor typically comprises between 80 to 85% of your agile transformation effort.
  2. Process (doing agile).  As a Disciplined Agile coach you need to help organizations adopt new agile and lean practices, strategies, and the Disciplined Agile framework itself.  This tends to be between 10 to 15% of the overall transformation effort.
  3. Tools (supporting agile).   Agile teams will need to adopt new tools, such as continuous integration (CI) tools, testing tools, and perhaps even agile task board software to name a few.  Agilists will use existing tools, such as their configuration management environment, in new ways.  And they will abandon some existing tools, in particular traditional test management tools, that aren’t applicable in the agile world.  Reworking your tooling strategy tends to take about 5 to 10% of your agile transformation efforts.

Agile Transformation: Focus of Effort

How important are these factors in practice?

In the 2014 Agile Transformation survey we asked a series of questions around how important it was to address various people, process, and tooling factors.  The survey respondents had either been through an agile transformation or were currently well into one.  The figure below shows that the first and third most important transformation factors were aligned with being agile, the second and fourth most important factors were around doing agile, and the two least important factors were around tooling (supporting agile).

Agile Transition Factors - Importance

How difficult are these factors to address?

In the 2014 Agile Transformation survey we asked a similar series of questions around how difficult organizations found it to address various people, process, and tooling factors.  The first and third most difficult factors to address were cultural (being agile).  The second and sixth most difficult factors to address were process oriented (doing agile) in nature.  The fourth and fifth most difficult factors addressed tooling.

Agile Transformation Factors - Difficulty to address

Our experience is that if you don’t address all three factors in your agile transformation effort that you will run into serious trouble.  This topic will be explored in our next blog posting.

If you’d like help with your agile transformation, please contact us via ScottAmbler.com.

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