Agile business practice is all the rage currently. Management and executives want to do more with less and many believe in implementing agile business processes that they can reduce staff or increase throughput. At times this might be the case but often it is important to remember the point of agile is to put the customer satisfaction at the forefront. In stating all of this it is essential to think through changes strategically and understand the future state that is being driven towards. Often changing business practices to agile doesn’t speed up work at all but often can slow things down if staff and management are not trained and disjointed.
In my experience with agile journeys, it is important before jumping into agile processes to make sure sponsorship from executive and management is strong and they are actively engaged to provide support for initiatives. Often it is essential to gain alignment within the organization or department before intensifying agile processes. Agile journeys can often fail when laggards are in positions of power and have not bought into many of the steps forward as the journey is a culture change and not operational. Therefore alignment can often be gained with highlighting the benefits but also the limitations of agile. It is interesting that agile journeys can be done in iterations but in reality to a more defined project and change management plan can help in accelerating the value of agile methodologies.
Taking steps to team and organizational agility can be daunting and often organizations. Failure to slow down and look within can cause agile journeys to hit larger roadblocks. In agile journeys, it is important to look at workforce planning as well as overall strategies within the department including up-skilling staff, project management software suitability and multiple other factors to long to mention. It is also essential to communicate to stakeholders and staff as a failure to do so on next steps can cause a lack of engagement. As not communicating also sends a message which can reduce engagement holding back the agile mindset shift.
The word agile transformation is interesting in itself as the word transformation depicts that there is an end or destination but in reality the process of shifting to agile methodologies is a culture change that requires continuous improvement and iterations. But in moving forward with agile methodologies it is important to have a plan but important to slow down and look inward before implementing agile methods to accelerate agile methods and mindsets across organizations.
Fahim Moledina is the Principal Consultant for Opti-Syn Strategic Consulting and is a business leader with expertise in project/change management, finance, lean/agile methods, as well as marketing and sales.
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