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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Bullock

3 tips for handling an agile transformation

There are two main approaches to agile transformations. Many companies use a bottom-up strategy, in which one or more teams serve as the spark, setting an agile example for other teams to follow. Some take a top-down approach, with an executive advocate (usually in technology or operations) guiding the organisation towards agile procedures and concepts to provide progressive value to consumers.

Both approaches can be used for an effective transition, but the most successful organisations will use a combination of both, harnessing a product-centric focus that prioritises both the customer and the company's goals.

Here are three ways to navigate an agile transformation:

Take on the right people

To be successful, agile teams must be dedicated to taking on people with the skills and specific topic knowledge required. If a crucial individual or team interferes with your production capacity, work towards eliminating your reliance on them. It won't be easy. You may need senior leadership assistance to reorganise projects, relocate people across teams or temporarily share workers until the posts are backfilled.

This is also the case for critical stakeholders who aren't needed regularly. Integrate them into your company's purpose, make them part of your agile activities, involve them in strategic planning and even write stories for them if necessary.

Start as you mean to go on

Businesses that begin with agile, product-focused practices in mind may find it easier to maintain this attitude and their customer-centric approach as they develop, shift and evolve their operations as needed and learn to scale in an agile way.

Find new talent

Avoid the temptation to allocate significant roles to well-known performers. Instead, look for unrecognised talent. These are people who have the skills and connections to design and implement an idea but are less visible inside the business, and hence are less inclined to be overburdened. These people are also less likely to be buried in the company's 'This is how we do things here' approach, allowing them to bring a fresh viewpoint to a project that seeks to redefine procedures and goals.

TAKEAWAY: Every organisation looking to incorporate agile processes into their business can discover a natural way to achieve this. Rather than blindly following any old strategy, I strongly advise a bespoke approach. Strictly involve only the right people, keep thinking in an agile way and remember to look for new talent.


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