Agile does not just happen, though some deeply misinformed people might think that. Rather, the organization transforms to become agile through deliberate actions. In an article for Scrum Alliance, Samarjit Mishra shares five steps to reliably make the agile transition:
- Raise awareness about the need for improvement.
- Set a goal for value creation.
- Implement the transformation for value realization.
- Learn to adapt.
- Enhance by continuous improvement.
As Mishra astutely observes, people find time to go through the same inefficient work processes time and again, but they never find the time to make the improvements that would obviate the need for them in the first place. Thus, you should use the beginning of transformation as a time for self-reflection, encouraging employees to think about how processes and operations could be better. You can collect this feedback through a suggestion box and the like, and that feedback will then inform the desired future state that you set for the organization. And from there, you should land upon both short-term and long-term goals for the value you would like to create with the transformation.
About actually implementing the transformation, Mishra writes this:
You can follow any implementation process that you like and are comfortable with. My suggestion will be always to make the transformation in an iterative and incremental way. Involve all the stakeholders. Create a top-down approach instead of a bottom-heavy approach. People want to follow the leaders who are role models. By doing only a command-and-control approach, we will have the effect for the short term but experience long-term resentment. Make them part of the transformation rather than make the transformation for them. Prepare people to embrace the new ways of working by both the top-down and bottom-up approach.
The final steps, to learn to adapt and to conduct continuous improvement, are pretty straightforward. You need to be able to pivot according to changing data, and to keep scrutinizing the status quo for further improvements. If you can manage these steps, then the transformation should go just fine.
For additional thoughts, you can view the original article here: https://www.scrumalliance.org/community/articles/2018/january/how-to-facilitate-organizational-transformation