Previously, in Agile Transformation: Being Agile, Doing Agile, and Supporting Agile and Agile Transformation: Comparing Transformation Strategies I discussed the need for your agile transformation efforts to address three factors: People-oriented issues (being agile), process-oriented issues (doing agile), and tooling issues (supporting agile). I argued that you must focus to a different extent on each of these factors – 80-85%, 10-15%, and 5-10% respectively – and that you need to address all three at once if you’re to successfully transition to agile. But what is the impetus for becoming more agile in the first place?
The answer is that you want to help people to become more effective so that they can work together to address the success criteria that their stakeholders have set out for them. The challenge of course is that success criteria varies by team. Some teams want better time to market, some want better quality, some want improved staff morale, some want improved stakeholder satisfaction with what gets delivered, and some want improved return on investment (ROI) in IT. Many of course need to deliver on a combination of several of these criteria.
The point is that every team has their own success criteria that they should fulfill. To do that effectively, agile coaches need to help these teams to “be agile” so that they have the proper mindset and culture to provide a foundation from which they can “do agile”. To “do agile” teams need to understand, and have the skills to execute, agile practices in such a way that they perform the right practices at the right time to the right extent. And to do that they need the appropriate tools to support these practices.
Your stakeholders could care less about whether your agile or even about what agile is. They do care deeply about whether your team is able to meet, and better yet exceed, the criteria set out for them.