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Agile transformations: The good, the bad, and the ugly

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Are the majority of agile transformations failing? Succeeding? Just sort of stumbling along? It’s really hard to tell. You hear a lot of promises and platitudes from consulting firms specializing in transformations, you read case studies that focus on the good and downplay the bad, and there’s a plethora of agile trainers who will certify that you’re a master, a professional, or an agile coach in just a few short days. Who do you trust to share with you what’s really happening in organizations making these transformations? What’s really working? What isn’t?

Published in: Software

Agile transformations: The good, the bad, and the ugly

  1. 1. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 1 Agile Transformations The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
  2. 2. Who We Are Co-creators of the Disciplined Agile (DA) toolkit Help enterprise-class organizations around the world to improve their processes and organization structures © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 2 @scottwambler@mark_lines
  3. 3. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 3
  4. 4. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 4 Agenda • The Ugly: Challenges with Agile Transformation • The Bad: Questionable Strategies • The Good: Strategies for a Disciplined Journey • Parting Thoughts
  5. 5. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 5 The Ugly: Challenges with Agile Transformations
  6. 6. Change Efforts have a Lousy Track Record • Average success rate of change initiatives 34% – Standish Group, 2011 • Reasons – Lack of a structured change management process – Irrational human behavior – Treating change as linear process initiatives 6
  7. 7. Adopting a Prescriptive Method/Framework Helps a Bit © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 7 You Actually Get Recent study of 3,000+ teams within 155 organizations found: • Teams adopting agile (mostly Scrum) saw productivity increases of 7 to 12% on average • Teams adopting prescriptive scaling frameworks, the most popular of which is SAFe, saw average productivity increases of 3 to 5% InfoQ.com/articles/reifer-agile-study- 2017 You Are Promised
  8. 8. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 8
  9. 9. Culture is Hard to Change • Typical goals of agile transformations – Build high performance motivated teams – Optimize enterprise groups for agility (such as finance, architecture, UX, QA) – Centers of Excellence/Communities of Practice – Incorporate agile governance – Alignment with HR/People Operations • These goals require culture change • Cannot force people to change • Change must be negotiated continuously
  10. 10. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 10
  11. 11. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 11 The Bad: Questionable Strategies
  12. 12. Agile software teams are building awesome race car engines… 12© Disciplined Agile, Inc.
  13. 13. …but they are surrounded by organizational tractors 13 © Disciplined Agile, Inc.
  14. 14. Questionable Strategy: Focus Solely on Software Development © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 14
  15. 15. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 15 Questionable Strategy: Let each area/group determine how they can transform – “Divide and conquer”
  16. 16. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 16 Questionable Strategy: Hope your problem will solve itself
  17. 17. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 17 Questionable Strategy: Wait until there’s a obvious crisis before you begin your change journey
  18. 18. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 18 Questionable Strategy: Assume that senior leadership knows best Don’t be silly, the staff will do what we tell them.
  19. 19. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 19 Questionable Strategy: Believing that you can transform quickly
  20. 20. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 20 Questionable Strategy: Assume everyone wants to go on your improvement journey
  21. 21. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 21 Questionable Strategy: Adopting an agile framework because everyone else is doing it
  22. 22. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 22 Questionable Strategy: Assume that transformations are straightforward
  23. 23. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 23 The Good: Strategies for a Disciplined Journey
  24. 24. Delivery teams interact with the rest of the organization, and they need to become agile too! © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 24 Enterprise Architecture Security Finance Operations People Management Procurement IT Governance Data Management And many more…
  25. 25. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 25 Enterprise Coaching Team Coaching
  26. 26. Agile Transformation Effort Over Time 26 © Disciplined Agile, Inc.
  27. 27. Agile Champions/Sponsors • Agile champions external to the team can help support and promote change • Help to accelerate agile “transformation” in the organization • Without executive sponsors in it for the long term it is very unlikely your adoption will succeed • You need an internal Product Owner for your transformation 2 7 © Disciplined Agile, Inc.
  28. 28. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 28 Executive Workshops - Education - Vision - Guiding Principles
  29. 29. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 29 Several “Big Visible Charts” will help communicate our vision & progress against it
  30. 30. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 30
  31. 31. Leanchange.org
  32. 32. Metrics Design with GQM © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 33 Goals trace back to Vision canvas goals
  33. 33. A Strategy Board helps tie high level objectives from the Vision canvas to smaller enablers © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 34
  34. 34. From Transformation to Continuous Improvement • This is a journey, not a destination • Once the key transformative work has been complete, the transformation changes more to a continuous improvement approach © Disciplined Agile, Inc.
  35. 35. Continuous Improvement Process Blade © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 36
  36. 36. Establish CoEs and CoPs/Guilds • Centres of Excellence – Typically staffed full time by “experts” – Temporary – Ensure consistency of approach and messaging – Provide leadership and purposely disseminate information – Enterprise & Team Coaches • Communities of Practice/Guilds – Part-time responsibility staffed by practitioners (could be guided by CoE) – Long-term – Shared learnings and experiences – Improve their collective craft over time © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 37
  37. 37. 38 A Disciplined Agile Centre of Excellence © Disciplined Agile, Inc.
  38. 38. Invest in Coaching © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 39
  39. 39. Disciplined Coaches Focus on Mindset and Skillset Values Principles Lifecycles Process Goals/Blades Decision Points Practices/Strategies © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 40 Mindset Skillset
  40. 40. Adopting a Prescriptive Method Helps a Bit © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 41
  41. 41. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 42 Identify a Potential Improvement Experiment with the new WoW Assess Effectiveness Adopt the new WoW Abandon the new WoW Share Learnings with Others Continuous Improvement Apply the Disciplined Agile (DA) toolkit to identify better options Guided
  42. 42. You Improve Faster With Light-Weight Guidance © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 43
  43. 43. You Can Improve Your Way Out of Method Prison © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 44 Disciplined Agile Gets you out of Jailwith a bit of guidance
  44. 44. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 45
  45. 45. Simplify the Process Get plans out of MS Project & make them visible. (no hidden work!) © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 46
  46. 46. Simplify the Process: Replacing detailed project charters & requirements docs with 3-day Inception phases © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 47
  47. 47. Invest in Terraforming: Workspace design No need for meeting rooms!! Fosters continuous collaboration © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 48
  48. 48. © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 49
  49. 49. Some Advice • Communicate, communicate, communicate (town halls, radiators, wikis, lean coffees) – radical transparency! • Have a Product Owner for your Transformation • Executive sponsorship is critical • Coach and mentor people over the long term – Everyone and at all levels of the organization, not just IT • Get some help from experienced Enterprise Coaches • Hire coaches who can help you to “be agile” AND to “do agile” © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 50
  50. 50. Thank you! @scottwambler @mark_lines info@disciplined-agile.com © Disciplined Agile, Inc. 51

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