What to Do Before Implementing Agile

January 28, 2020
5 minute read
Read

Many companies come to us to help them with implementing Agile.

With the popularization of Agile “methods” from technology sectors, companies have sought these good practices in order to implement improvements in their processes.

We’ve worked in many different sectors such as:

They seek us out to get more knowledge through training and consulting.

What is common in all these segments is the question of how to transform their current scenario—sometimes very bureaucratic—towards an environment of Agile decisions and higher quality.

Before we dive right in, I’d like to thank my BERTEIG colleague Travis Birch for his contributions to this article.

Improvement, Focus, Urgency, Vision and Teamwork

The five aspects above refer to five key elements of the culture of change:

  1. Improvement culture: the improvement culture aspect corresponds to how well people on your company take the initiative to improve.
  2. Urgency culture: the urgency culture refers to if your people care about delivering results now, not later.
  3. Teamwork culture: teamwork culture refers to how strong people’s mutual commitment is for working together.
  4. Focus culture: for focus culture, we evaluate how likely people are to remain focused on their tasks, projects and commitments of getting things done.
  5. Vision culture: how people are united around a common vision

Together, they allow a deep analysis of how people interact with the work that needs to be done.

On one hand, we have organizations that are very comfortable with the products and services they offer. People do not feel the need to change because there is consistent revenue and profits. They do not perceive threats in the short term. They expect that the work must follow a normal rhythm. Everything at the end of the day will be fine.

But…

On the other hand, there are companies that want to conquer their space. These companies incessantly seek the need to innovate. Not only their products or services, but also the way such products and services are developed and delivered to their customers. People are continually interacting with each other around a common purpose. All are focused on and possess the ardent desire to achieve the purposed results.

Effectively analyzing all these elements will enable an organization to identify the desired outcomes of a transformation. Results include:

  • increased quality of their products and services,
  • greater speed to market,
  • increased efficiency in their process and retention of employees

These are just some common examples of desired improvements.

It depends on the type of organization. But generally, less intense approaches with gradual changes should be chosen. Very aggressive approaches may lead to business disruption.

Three Possible Best Ways of Changing your Organization

  1. Train and Launch

    This consists essentially of training a group of people in some practices to start the work.In this model of low intervention, it is expected that the processes are gradually improved. Those who receive the training will gradually experiment with the new ways in their day-to-day work.

    With this approach, the people in the organization will organically choose the best method they wish to follow. They may even create their own method.

    Notwithstanding, this approach takes more time to be adopted as a whole in the organization. Desired changes in the structure of the organization may not be immediately perceived.

  2. Assess and Coach

    This approach can help facilitate the best implementation pace and the customization of concept implementation for the context of each group and team.

    Training will be conducted as needed—not by default. This allows people to learn and develop structural changes to achieve the end result.

  3. Intensive Implementation

    This can bring the greatest benefits in the short-term.

    This type of approach is recommended when the organization is facing a survival threat. In this case, external teams will support internal teams so that organizational designs are implemented. The results are measured over time.

    The risk with this approach is that it can provoke resistance. It can be too disruptive for the organization and its people to sustain.When this happens, the organization is at risk of reverting to the previous status quo. It can be harsh for some people but it can help with implementing the necessary turnaround measures.

There are several ways to implement Agile methods in organizations.

The best approach is the one that can leverage the current status quo and enable the organization to adopt new practices through existing resources and knowledge.

Our Licensed Scrum Master & Product Owner training is a great place to start.

Click here for more information about how to run the Real Agility Assessment.

Berteig Consulting

Empower Your Entire Organization with BERTEIG Consulting in Agile, Scrum, Kanban, SAFe and LEAN.

Aimia
Bruce Power
Capital One
CBC
Comcast
Equitable Life of Canada
FreshBooks
Suncor