Definitive Guide to Building Agile Transformation Roadmap
Article
Agile Development
Definitive Guide to Building Agile Transformation Roadmap
Definitive Guide to Building Agile Transformation Roadmap
Article
Agile Development

Definitive Guide to Building Agile Transformation Roadmap

Agile is steadily spreading its ideology through business and industries, going beyond IT and software development companies.

A recent study by McKinsey & Company on over 2,000 global respondents shows that a successful agile transformation delivers up to 30% gains in employee engagement, operational efficiency, and customer satisfaction. At the same time, organizations that take an agile approach to projects can deliver 5-10 times faster, turbocharging innovation to match or beat the competition. In other words, a successful agile transformation puts your business in a better position of being a top-quartile performer, especially among competitors who are yet to take the approach.

Successful Agile transformation accelerates product delivery by 5-10 times and increases employee engagement, operational efficiency, and customer satisfaction by up to 30%. 

From these trends, it’s evident that an agile organization stays on track, while making the customers happy—the ingredients of running a competitive organization. But how do you get started with this approach and transcend to new working cultures? Here is an elaborate guide on implementing a successful agile transformation roadmap in 10 simple steps. Keep reading to learn more.

What is Agile transformation 

Agile transformation entails transitioning an entire company’s ideals and nature to a nimble, reactive culture that is based on agile principles to stimulate business change. Contrary to what many people think of an agile approach, the strategy goes beyond implementing agile software development technologies in an organization. The goal of any agile transformation is to revamp the whole company mindset and environment to embrace creativity and innovation, as well as reduce unnecessary management layers by empowering employees to think independently.

An Agile mindset involves embracing flexibility, adapting to change, fostering efficient communication, and promoting collaboration—all in the pursuit of achieving high-performing results and customer satisfaction. 

Some companies start out as Agile. For some, it takes a journey to come to the point where they can truly be an Agile company. Agile transformation journey takes a traditional company through a series of steps to adopt new Agile ways of working, which sometimes implies as much as changing the mindset by which the company exists, putting Agile values and principles at its core.

Where there’s a journey, there’s a road to be taken

An Agile transformation roadmap may help a traditional company set out on its way to adopting the Agile principles. A roadmap is not entirely a plan, but it lays out the milestones to head toward and roadblocks to try to avoid. Tailored to the specific needs of any given company, a transformation roadmap defines Agile steps to give the company an idea of how to approach its transformation. If done right, it helps align the teams involved and smoothly roll out the Agile transformation plan.

Reasons to adopt Agile in an organization 

A company should consider introducing some Agile steps in optimizing its work if it:

  • can’t keep up with customer demands and industry trends
  • doesn’t have an effective method of implementing customer feedback
  • product delivery or service takes too long

However, as good as it may sound, change in the ways the company is working may disrupt the usual workflows and be a cause for concern. It is especially the case for large enterprises which consist of dozens of departments and have thousands of people whose livelihood depends on the profitability and competitive advantage of the company.

Some companies may want to try out Agile by first introducing it on a smaller scale: on a department, team, or individual level. If proven successful, this may expand to the entire company. The further Agile transition depends on how efficiently it’s implemented and operating in pockets.

CTA Banner CTA mob

Ready to get started on your
Agile Transformation journey?

Agile transformation should be done meticulously and through meticulous assessment and analysis. Upon examination, an Agile consultant may advise which course to take in the company’s Agile transformation. As an example of this, when Symphony Solutions Lean Agile Center of Excellence (LACE) office accommodated Casumo introducing the Agile approach on all levels of the company, they took the already existing Scrum basics course and adjusted it to the specific company needs. As the case study suggests, the company had a series of practical training courses carried out for teams, product management and leadership. This ensured a deeper approach and a more wholesome and all-encompassing transformation journey.

To stay on top of the competition, a company needs to continuously learn and improve, adapt to change, and keep a steady focus on the goal, which should always be client satisfaction. This flexibility to change and adaptability stands at the core of the Agile approach.

Agile transformation real benefits in practice 

The Agile approach is quickly extending to companies and industries beyond IT with SAFe being a popular methodology to apply for scaling business. The business benefits of embracing the Agile mindset are unprecedented as it shows to directly impact how companies grow in business value, increase customer satisfaction and subsequently drive profits. In the next few years, Agile approach implemented on an enterprise level is expected to grow to 32%, as noted in KPMG Global Agile Survey 2019.

Companies stated that they pursue the transition to Agile approach to benefit from:

  • It strains to keep up with the prevailing customer demands and industry trends
  • It takes longer than necessary to deliver products and services to end users
  • It can’t garner customer feedback effectively to draw insights
Agile transformation real benefits in practice -image

A cultural shift is recognized as the main challenging factor in an Agile transformation by over 59% of those surveyed. However, taking into account that most of the respondents (81%) only started their Agile journey within the last three years, the tendency may be expected to improve over time. Noteworthy is that among these respondents an overarching majority plan to implement Agile on enterprise level in the foreseeable future.

agile-transformation-article-image

Overall, it’s a generally well received and desirable approach that companies strive to adopt. It’s safe to say that the majority recognizes the benefits that are brought about by the introduction of the Agile approach, so it’s here to stay in the long run.

10 Steps to building an Agile transformation roadmap

10 Steps to building an Agile transformation roadmap-image

The complete transformation journey may take a lot more than ten steps, but you need to start somewhere. Here are some essential tips to get you set up and running.

Do an assessment 

Analyzing where the company stands in terms of structure, workflows, performance, etc., helps determine the starting point in the transformation process and come up with an Agile transformation strategy. 

Adjust your mindset 

For an established company, it may be hard to jump right into the new way of running things. Taking upon an Agile mindset may help make the transition smoother. 

Address employees’ apprehensions 

Before you can even start implementing the roadmap, Agile concepts and principles need to be well-received and accepted by the people who will be doing all the work. That’s why it is important to address any concerns and questions coming from employees. This comes hand in hand with adopting an Agile mindset – Agile can only work on company level if every person involved understands the principles and is guided by Agile values. 

Invest in coaching 

If you want to engage all company levels in the Agile transformation, it makes sense to invest in expert coaching. An Agile coach can be of much help, starting from introducing each team to the basics of Agile and Scrum, to setting up the processes, to assisting in Agile activities up until the team is self-sufficient and capable of taking up more initiative and responsibility for the successful completion of the project. Moreover, investing in Agile coaching helps you save expenses in the long run. For example, having timely applied Agile coaching allowed Ladbrokes Coral to reduce time to market by 32 days and have efficient, cost-effective delivery. 

Narrow down your vision 

A distinctive characteristic of Agile thinking is being able to set your eyes on a concrete goal of completing the task and delivering usable results to the client. This means that having one task with dependencies brought to completion is oftentimes more important than focusing on multiple of your personal tasks. So, the question is not “How do I finish my tasks?” but “How do we finish and deliver this task to the client?” 

Seek competent guidance 

Efficient leadership and guidance are important for the successful implementation of the Agile approach. The leadership needs to have a clear vision, define where the company is heading in the transformation journey. Likewise, competent guidance from an Agile coach is what can boost the company in the initial steps of its transformation and see to it that the team is well-equipped, aligned, and able to further operate independently. 

Empower team self-governance 

Having teams reach self-sufficiency is one of the goals of Agile coaching. The Agile mindset promotes democratic decision-making and effective self-management. 

Continuous communication 

This should be achieved within the team, for distributed teams, and with the customer. As the Agile approach means high responsiveness to change, flexibility to customer feedback and fast delivery, effective communication is a way to achieve this. Daily stand-ups, retrospective meetings, sprint demos, online PI planning for distributed teams: all these are Agile events that contribute to effective communication in Agile teams. 

Here are some tips on how to improve communication across your organization in preparation for a successful Agile transformation project: 

  • Start your communication with the “Why” to be clear and honest about the strategy’s expectations 
  • Set up multiple communication channels to accommodate employee preferences, as well as increased volume of communications 
  • Display formidable agility throughout internal communications 
  • Apply “MVP” thinking in your daily meetings and routine FAQ (frequently asked questions by employees) sessions 
  • Communicate more frequently with leaders, so that they can pass the same trend down the management hierarchies 

Change management strategy 

An Agile management differs from that in a traditional company, in a way that a greater role is given to self-organization, accountability and responsibility of each member of an Agile team

Accountability and remediation 

There should be clear metrics to measure progress and analyze the efficiency of the implemented changes. Each team member should take on a proactive role in self-organization and increasing value-added to the common goal. 

Roadblocks and pitfalls to avoid on your journey to Business Agility

Any change rarely comes easy, so it’s important to be aware of difficulties that the team may face in the process. Generally, all that may get in the way of a company’s transformation journey, comes down to a few main roadblocks: 

  • Culture. A set of values and principles build up the core of the Agile approach. The transformation is a lot about embracing the specific mindset, way of thinking in different categories. So, problems may arise if the company has a strong culture that opposes the very principles of the Agile approach. 
  • Lack of alignment. Teamwork and accountability play a big role in adopting the Agile approach. The more teams are involved, the more dependencies, the more important it is to have good alignment within the team and across teams. 
  • Unclear vision. To get to your goal, you have to set your eyes on it and know how to get it. Clearly defined goals and a transformation roadmap may help in this regard. 
  • Availability of tools. Lack of proper tools may hinder the teams from successfully completing tasks, efficiently communicate, track progress. An Agile coach may introduce the teams to the right tools and train you how to make good use of them. 
  • Scaling beyond team level. Whenever there’s a need to scale up, difficulties are expected. SAFe is a framework that helps bring alignment across organization and guides the company in scaling Agile practices. 

These and other difficulties, however, are possible to overcome as long as the team has good guidance and is set to succeed. With the prevalence of the Agile approach and its future prospects, there is no reason for resistance in the company’s transformation. At the end of the day, everyone who want to stay relevant on the market, will have to learn to adapt and embrace the new world. 

CTA Banner CTA mob

Agile Transformation is an important step
in preparing your teams for growth.

To conclude

With Agile, everything needs to be better and faster. The sooner the clients get to see and make use of what they’re paying for, the better. The Agile approach empowers the contractor to deliver tangible results to the client in mere weeks, creating minimum viable products sometimes as soon as two weeks into development. The company that has successfully completed its Agile transformation, bears a great competitive advantage in the rapidly changing and highly demanding market.

With optimized processes and maximized efficiency, the journey from an idea to an actual product now takes weeks, instead of months or years.

 Just about any company can achieve such astounding results by resorting to Agile Transformation services, that encompass all the phases of the transition, leading a company through assessment, to training and implementation, certification, up until the point when the teams become self-sufficient. 

FAQ on Agile Transformation 

An Agile Transformation roadmap is a visual plan that guides an organization on how to transform to an agile workflow for faster innovation and enhanced customer experience. The roadmap usually contains clear goals, success metrics, product vision, as well as initiatives to be taken by key team leaders.

Steps of a typical Agile Transformation project include: 

  • Thorough assessment 
  • Mindset adjustment 
  • Addressing employee’s apprehensions 
  • Professional agile coaching 
  • Clear vision definition 
  • Competence guidance 
  • Inculcating self-governance among teams 
  • Ongoing communication

Agile Transformation entails transitioning an entire company’s ideals and nature to a nimble, reactive culture that is based on agile principles to stimulate business change.

You can create a roadmap to build an Agile organization in the following steps: 

  • Define company strategy and goals 
  • Turn the goals into initiatives 
  • Garner cross-functional feedback 
  • Build products to reflect the gathered feedback 
  • Capture customer feedback 
  • Measure results
Share
You might be interested
Agile Mindset to Drive Your Business Results
Article
Agile Development
Agile Mindset to Drive Your Business Results
Agile mindset, also referred to as a “growth mindset”, is a system of beliefs applied to a working environment that appeals to the notion of continuous change with the main focus on delivering value to the customer. In contrast to a “fixed mindset”, when you are set in your ways as an expert and do […]
How to Make Your Agile Transformation Process Right: Tips from Experience with Multiple Clients
Article
Agile Development
How to Make Your Agile Transformation Process Right: Tips from Experience with Multiple Clients
LACE team knows a lot about change. LACE is the Lean-Agile Center of Excellence in Symphony Solutions, an IT company that provides software development services to our clients. LACE is the cross-functional Lean-Agile change management team. We work by SAFe. Our team is being involved to support our clients’ transformational initiatives towards Lean-Agile ways of working. We cover the full cycle of organizational shift to […]