An agile transformation project should not be considered any different than other projects that introduces change to an organization or team. One difference perhaps is the outcome which will be a change in beliefs, culture and behaviors of the organization. Creating an agile transformation project plan is the first towards many successful agile transformation steps.
Creating an Agile transformation project plan is not a one-time event, it is a process and should be regularly inspected and adapted over time. The methodology used to create the project plan isn’t necessarily important. It is most important that an agile transformation plan exists and the expectation should be set that it can and should change overtime through regular retrospectives.
It is strongly recommended that a company utilizes an agile coach or champion that has experience in agile transformations and agile adoptions. Additionally, involving the expertise of an agile coach or champion that is not part of the organization or team will help direct the creation of key milestones for an agile transformation project plan and they can also help establish roadmap items in an unbiased manner. These experts can assist those who are responsible for creating agile transformation project plans and others who will help determine what approach will be most effective for the culture of their organization.
The knowledge and experience of such an expert will help ensure that an organization does not repeat similar mistakes made by many organizations who have transitioned to agile.
An agile transformation roadmap is a high level plan that helps to communicate the vision and the steps an organization wishes to take towards their agile transformation. This should not be confused with the agile transformation project plan which is more detailed and should include an agile transformation roadmap as a discrete milestone. Subsequent agile transformation project plans can or may be created depending on whether or not the organization is scaling their transformation.
Many Agile Transformations fail because people naturally resist change, although what often appears to be a resistance is usually a lack of clear direction. A roadmap helps to diminish resistance and serves as a foundational framework when and if the time to scale a transformation is appropriate.
As with any goal, whether it is created at the organizational level or the team level, there must be clarity as to what the goal is, why the goal has been chosen and what steps are needed to be taken in order to achieve that goal.
Creating a roadmap for a series of agile transformation steps sets clear expectations on how the organization would like to evolve towards a culture of self-organization and collaboration will evolve. Interestingly enough, most people will reference a roadmap as it is usually a quick communication aide that is easier to understand than a detailed project plan.
Creating the agile transformation roadmap is not an as easy as assuming it’s a “once size fits all” roadmap. While it is ideal to reference another company’s agile transformation roadmap, it important to recognize that every organization or team has their own unique challenges, culture, impediments that must be taken into consideration when creating an agile transformation roadmap.
There are various techniques organizations use to create their roadmaps and the same technique can be applied when creating an agile transformation plan. In fact, it is recommended that an agile coach or champion be present to assist in the creation of the roadmap to help guide the discussions and to help ensure the most appropriate milestones are included. When creating the agile transformation roadmap, some important items that could be included and are listed in no particular order:
Once the content of the roadmap items are identified it will be important to prioritize, but it’s equally important to consider the agile transformation roadmap to be a “temporary” roadmap that can evolve over time. Much like the agile transformation project plan, the road map should incorporate feedback collected from frequent retrospection meaning a roadmap should be inspected and adapted according to change or newly identified needs that could only be identified once the agile transformation begins.
After an agile transformation roadmap has been established, subsequent agile transformation project plans can begin to develop to help define and plan additional details and requirements for each of the roadmap items.
The agile transformation plan in addition to an overarching agile transformation project plan will ensure that an organization and/or team has properly planned for an agile transformation.