The agile change on a large scale requires the management level as a trigger factor, because it is in a position between top management and operational level. Often it is precisely at these levels that the champions are located among the executives who see agile change as a solution to today’s challenges in the business world. Out of conviction, you are ready to stand up for agile ideas and fight for the agile idea, no matter what. Experts consider seven success factors for scaling agile ideas in the company.
Agility for agility’s sake will not succeed. It, therefore, requires an occasion. It is not just about the challenges of daily business, which are changed with the help of agile working methods. Rather, it also revolves around the issues behind it that arise all of a sudden and ever faster. The focus is on answers to the following questions:
- What do you want to change?
- What is the reason you want to change?
- What values and what benefits do you want to create?
- What are the weaknesses that you want to eliminate?
- What opportunities does this create?
- What is happening in the business world that is forcing you to change?
Answer the questions to create an occasion for agile transformation.
Agile transformation is characterized by a continuum of cooperation and collaboration. To be successful, you must therefore form an interdisciplinary team – a team that has the will, skills, resources and the willingness to take responsibility for one or more tasks. The team must get to know and apply agile elements and integrate them into their way of working. This is usually only possible with external support and impulses. The reason: Teams that have received a lot of instructions initially have difficulties in finding the right level of self-organization and self-responsibility that agile approaches require.
What is a team working towards? A vision of change, a goal. Otherwise, there is no functioning team. Without a tangible goal, a team would have no clear idea of how to achieve it. And if there is no sense of urgency, it would not take the time and effort required to achieve the goal. That is why you need to share your vision and goal with your team. Once that is the case, transfer responsibility for it to the team. Autonomy, flexibility and the ability to react quickly is what you want to achieve.
Avoiding the Worst Colleagues
Especially in situations where there is immense pressure, some employees tend to make all kinds of absurd promises. Either to get attention or to please the superior or the management. Making promises is always easy, but if the mega-project is not completed in the promised two and a half weeks, that is unfavourable.
If there is a team member who churns out false promises that are already clear beforehand that they are impossible to keep, you should stop taking his words at face value. If you can, extend it Time frame and/or increase your budget or use of resources to compensate for bottlenecks in other areas. ”
The first big change in the direction of agility is the consistent focus on achieving concrete results. Many companies at all levels spent far too long on things that remain unclear for a long time or that do not move the business forward. Such developments must be stopped. The first thing a team typically has to think about is the benefit it wants to create and how it can be made transparent. Therefore, measuring and analyzing the results achieved is an important aspect. Even the simplest benefit analysis helps to improve ideas and sharpen teamwork.
In general, even well-planned agile transformations fail because of obvious obstacles, such as line hierarchies, one-way communication, lack of required resources, etc. It can also be the communication and approval processes that have been used to date that delay decision. Any delay is directly proportional to the loss of time and money. The key to speeding up the process is therefore to remove barriers as quickly as possible – not to sit out and wait for them. Barriers can also be small things, such as the lack of suitable space in which the team can work in an agile manner. You should therefore provide the necessary support to remove barriers as quickly as possible.
It is often easier to start a new change project than to complete an ongoing one or to interrupt it for a certain period. The reason lies in human nature: Anyone who tackles something new shows determination and initiative, two qualities that are particularly valued at the management level because they calm nervous executives. The danger with this type of activism is to set in motion a vicious circle that ends in a “blockage”. The temptation is obvious, in the sense of a lot helps a lot, to start as many change initiatives as possible in parallel. The parallel start of many changes and, if necessary, the distribution of the same resources on them usually ensure that the system deals more and more with itself. The elaboration is delayed.
The Kanban flow philosophy advises against precisely this mistake: Parallel activities by the same team or by the same person are largely avoided: All changes are based on capacities. The bottlenecks decide the throughput. It follows that a new project can only be started when a team has finished its topic or a reprioritization has taken place. The appropriate changes are “viral” – they propagate without any order. So pay attention to the speed – if it takes too long, it is a sign that the time may not be right.
Make sure that the successes of the team or teams are as visible as possible for the whole company and are at least celebrated with small gestures. Success stories and celebrating successes have a great psychological effect on change work. It generates a pull effect in which others imitate the agile changes. Each success seems to create a group of passionate evangelists who can’t wait to tell others in the organization how well agility works. It can also be a success to celebrate the current failure. Companies like Amazon or Google, for example, hold so-called fuck-up nights. In it, teams report on failed projects and their experiences. This allows others to learn from it and avoid further failure.
The intellectual energy required for agile transformation is generated through cognitive diversity and interactions between people with different backgrounds and perspectives on the world. This requires experience in agile management beyond the application of Scrum in projects.
At the same time, it is just as dangerous to follow external advice slavishly and dogmatically and to allow change to be dictated by others. External advice must therefore be received, evaluated and adapted to local needs. Things are not done just because outsiders say so, but because they make sense in this context. In the process of adaptation, changes are taken into possession and integrated into everyday life.
In a nutshell: If you have the above success factors in the back of your mind, you can find out what the agile transformation can look like in your company as a whole – or you can ask someone familiar with it.
Many leaders are often discouraged by the slow pace of change. In addition, some difficulties and setbacks occur during agile transformation. If we look at other profound organizational changes throughout history that have affected large numbers of people, we can plausibly argue that the agile movement has been moving forward fairly quickly since 2001. Companies such as Apple, Amazon and Google have already integrated agility into their DNA, displacing industrial giants of the 20th century from the top positions as the largest organizations in the world. So it’s time to start.