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How do I know if my organization should embark on Agile transformation?

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Recently at ADAPTOVATE we were discussing some of the questions we often get asked around the traps when we reveal who we are and what we do.    This question was a big one.

Did you know that one of the biggest reasons organizations should embark on Agile transformation is employee morale?   

It’s not the only reason (we’ve outlined four below) – but it’s one which seems to motivate many leaders to take the leap.

So if you are in a team, department, division or in fact run the whole organization,  we hope some of these answers may help you make the move!  You won’t be sorry.

And as ADAPTOVATE’S co-founder Doug Ross said “The real question is- why are you not already on an Agile transformation?”.

Firstly some Japanese wisdom – because – well we all need a bit of that magic.

KAIZEN or KAIKAKU

In fast-paced and constantly changing environments, it is essential for organisations to have the capacity to change. Mark Barber, an agile practioner in Australia says “According to Japanese wisdom, expressed through the Toyota Production System, this capacity for change must include incremental change, what we commonly refer to as kaizen or continuous improvement, and large-scale or radical change, called kaikaku.”

This radical change, often initiated by management, is what we often refer to as transformation.

As the risks associated with kaikaku are greater, it should only be kicked off when the need is there.  And the risk or opportunity cannot be met with incremental change.

Mark explains “When existing continuous improvement practices are not sufficient to meet the need for change that is the point at which transformation should be considered.”

So now we have that understood, back to the question. Should your organisation embark on an Agile transformation?   Here are 4 reasons your organisation should start now, and the first one mentioned above -is Employee morale or engagement.

  1. HIGH EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

Chelsea Bates, our Principal and Managing Director in Melbourne, says “There are benefits for all organisations as agile delivers tangible business benefits. Organisations looking to improve staff morale organisation wide, could consider using agile.  It helps staff understand how and what they are working on fits in the broader organisation strategy.

Doug agrees “If you just take one of the most common outcomes that is achieved, higher employee engagement, then it is difficult to say why you would not be asking why haven’t we started already.

What business does not want to have their employees more interested in turning up to work, and by turning up, I mean being at work and interested in getting stuff done and delivering value for customers.” he says.

Working in end to end autonomous teams also helps improve staff morale as people have the ability to make decisions quickly.

  1. SPEED TO MARKET

Chelsea also thinks that organisations looking to increase speed to market (how quickly they can get the right products into the hands of their customers) should also use agile ways of working.

She says  “This gives you the opportunity to work in short iterations, getting feedback and using the feedback in the next iteration to ensure what you are delivering is what customers want, and no unnecessary extras”

  1. IMPROVED PRODUCTIVITY

Organisations looking to improve productivity should also use agile ways of working. Having cross functional teams reduces the number of handovers and helps break down silos., says Chelsea.   You can read more about Productivity and Value in our recent article the 4 pillars to measure your Agile Transformation.

Improved productivity is not just the domain of IT and tech.  All types of industry and organisations can use Agile to improve productivity.

That’s because the Agile approach of removing impediments, improving communication skills and team collaboration, can apply to anyone and any team.

The MVP, (minimum viable product) or getting a prototype into a customer’s hands is a key benefit to fast tracking decision making and productivity.

In Bruce Harpham’s article, How to improve productivity with agile, he states, “The agile approach achieves productivity gains through more effective communication and being highly responsive to customer demands.”

  1. SEEK GREATER AGILITY

Every organization should seek greater agility. Alan Trivedi – one of our team in the US says, “Agility enables organizations who are both comfortable in their success and ones that are looking to drive greater value by tackling external market forces and maximizing resources to drive greater value, faster.

In the excellent article Agile At Scale published in Harvard Business Review last year, the authors write, “ Expanding the number of agile teams is an important step toward increasing the agility of a business.”

However, they further go on to explain four areas that large companies (think Amazon, Spotify), constantly push for to help with this agility.  The four areas are

  1. Values and Principles,
  2. Operating Architectures,
  3. Talent Acquisition and Motivation, and
  4. Annual Planning and Budgeting Cycles.

We won’t go into them here – the article is worth a read if you want to find out more.

Feel free to jump into our other blogs to help you gain further understanding about the agile journey.   Including :

HOW CAN LEADERS SUPPORT THE AGILE JOURNEY? 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COACHING AND CONSULTING?

To meet and find our more about our contributors:

Doug Ross on Linkedin

Mark Barber on Linkedin

Chelsea Bates on Linkedin

Alan Trivedi on Linkedin

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