Agile Transformation Strategy: Overview and Education

An agile transformation strategy is an organization’s long term plan towards a goal of transforming an organization’s culture and software delivery methods to be one that practices the values and principles according to the Agile Manifesto. The strategy may also include which type of agile practice or framework or combination of (Lean, Scrum, Kanban, TDD, XP, etc.) is best suited or recommended for the organization.

Developing an agile transformation strategy requires an abundance of planning, assessments and collaboration among members of the organization and it is highly recommended that an expert (or firm) in agile transformation guides this important effort. A strategy must be unique to the organization, however proactive education will prepare an organization to prepare for the mindset change agile requires.

The agile community is very large and there are many contributors that offer different perspectives on the subject. When exploring enterprise agile transformation strategies, one can find a great deal of information in the form of white papers, power points, pdfs and even various videos. There are also many workshops, seminars and conferences, many sponsored by local consulting firms or even individuals.

While there is no shortage of information available to help educate, the quantity of resources can be overwhelming and it may be difficult to determine which content is credible or which set of guidelines will be applicable. Some of it may even appear to conflict with another source.

CAST Software highly recommends engaging a consulting firm who has the expertise in transformations with industries similar to the organization it will help transform. When researching a firm, case studies can be a helpful reference that aids decision makers in making informed decisions about which firm to hire.

Agile Transformation Strategy: Points to Consider

Exploring enterprise agile transformation strategies will help take the mystery out of what happens during a transformation and provides a general idea on what is involved during the agile journey to transformation.

While there isn’t a secret formula that “applies to all”, there are some basic guidelines to reference when preparing to create an agile transformation strategy.

Understanding Why

Why the need to transform to an organization of agility?

Assessment

Agile transformation will eventually affect the entire organization so there should be assessments conducted with members of each team or department, from top down. Agile transformation is not applicable to only the members of the IT teams therefore all roles should be included. Assessments can also baseline an organization’s current state which can be used to compare mid-state or future state to help measure progress.

Training

There needs to be a common understanding of what it means to be agile. Identification of what type of training and who should attend will ensure that the information delivered is consistent with all members in attendance. Training also helps to establish a common vocabulary.

Retrospections

An agile transformation strategy should be frequently inspected to ensure that the strategy is still relevant to organization’s goals. Goals can change rapidly and those changes must be embraced. Agile transformation is an evolutionary process and the strategy should be revisited and discussed often to discuss what is working and what isn’t. Retrospections can also ensure that impediments are removed quickly and that successes are celebrated.

Coaching

Initial coaching, during and post-support is absolutely key when creating an agile transformation strategy. While training will provide book knowledge, a coach/consultant can provide firsthand knowledge about the actual practice based on previous experience with similar industries.

Metrics others Measures of Success

The organization needs to establish which metrics or other measures of success will need to be determined or gathered to understand if the goal of achieving organizational agility is on course. The types of metrics and to what depth will vary depending on the specific needs of the organization. The main goal of agility is to produce working quality software faster so in order to truly measure if the goal is on target, software must be analyzed and measured.

 

How CAST Can Help

CAST provides measurement to organizations undergoing agile transformations. These metrics are reported through a set of audience-tailored dashboards that provide visibility for managing complex transformation initiatives.

  • Establish a baseline for measuring quality and productivity of application development process prior to agile transformation. The baseline creates factual understanding of the existing state of development process, teams and output to serve as the benchmark for improvement.
  • Baseline the key applications along the most important application health parameters to ensure they don’t deteriorate over the life of the agile transformation. This protects critical systems during transformation process.
  • Govern and manage risk and quality based on established management criteria and metrics.
  • Support continuous improvement through automated, sustainable measurement of application development process output.
  • Measure quality and productivity of development process post agile transformation to document improvement and serve as the basis of return on investment.