8 Steps of Agile Transformation: What you need to know?

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8 Steps of Agile Transformation

Introduction

22 years of the 21st century alone has seen few of the biggest technological advancements, centuries of human civilisation has ever seen. The introduction of technologies such as artificial intelligence, energy storage, cloud computing etc have catapulted us into an ever changing, ever evolving era. Which is why businesses today need to be on their feet with their entire developmental process, infrastructure and deliverables. How can a company achieve that? One way is to transform their company to Agile. Agile transformation enables a business to move, ideate, create and deliver in the most efficient and effective way possible, while reducing developmental costs. Its revolutionary concept of iterative releases comes with many advantages which have been discussed later in this article.

What is Agile Transformation?

Agile transformation of any organization is a process wherein an organization transforms its existing process management techniques(namely waterfall/traditional methodology) to Agile. When transforming, an organization adopts the agile methodology of releasing a product in installments rather than all at once.Agile transformation encourages building designated teams, keeping backlogs, and regularly releasing increments of working, tested software. It believes in creating a holistic environment of loosely coupled teams and well managed dependencies to get at least an initial version of the product to the masses.
Agile ensures continuous delivery which not only enhances the product manifold but also gives freedom to team members to ideate, improvise and make changes at any given stage. Client and user feedback is incorporated again and again on each increment. Delivering quality software in short, is also known as continuous delivery. This often requires that teams are able to accept and implement fast, changing requirements.

Benefits of Agile Transformation

Anybody who is a part of the IT industry can tell you Agile methods are tried and tested developmental practices which come with quite a number of benefits. Below are a few of the Agile Benefits to look out for.

Flexibility

Flexibility is a core feature of Agile methods. Unlike the traditional waterfall approach, Agile allows its team members to make changes throughout the developmental process rather than just at the beginning. This allows the product to be improved and able to deal with new requisites. The agile process not only accepts change but also encourages it. If the team gets a chance to enhance a part of the product, it can do so without changing other parts and at any given time.This gives them the flexibility to test and switch.

Continuous Improvement

Agile’s iterative method makes it very convenient to modify the product at regular intervals. This was not possible in the waterfall approach which believed in delivering one final product to the masses.

Cost Control

Agile works in uniform sprint lengths throughout the developmental process and, therefore, the cost of each sprint can be calculated conveniently. Also, Agile is proven to reduce project turnaround time by as much as 40 % which ultimately minimizes project costs.

Less Risks

Since the product is tested and debugged again and again, it’s very less likely to incur failures. The incremental approach helps identify potential failures early on and can be mitigated simultaneously which is surely a boon in the developmental arena.

Client Collaboration and Interaction

In the early 1990’s , software scientists around the world started realizing one of the major flaws of traditional process development methodologies, that they lacked client input and collaboration. This led to a lot of customer dissatisfaction and high failure rates of the product along with waste of money, time and resources. Agile changed that. Its principles laid emphasis on client interaction and input and even made it a primary aspect of the development framework. This enabled teams to deliver to customers the product they wanted, how they wanted it and when they wanted it.

Transparency

Transparency, yet another core principle of agile, is critical for a business success. Transparency in the development process ensures that the team members and stakeholders are on the same page and work towards a common goal. Regular updates and progress charts offer concrete, tangible ways to track progress and manage expectations at every level. There are also many agile process management tools that help to maintain efficiency and transparency in the workflow.

Along with these, Agile comes with a lot of features which when incorporated multiplies a team’s efficiency and organizes workcycles.

8 Simple Steps of Agile Transformation

Change is uncomfortable but inevitable. Every big organization is skeptical about big changes to their management and administration. Which is why, Agile transformation of any organization can invite skepticism from its employees. However, there are few simple steps to ease any new organization into agile adoption such as :

1. Redefining Agile Structures at managerial level

Traditionally, businesses have a hierarchical structure with a top-bottom management approach. In such a management, tight control over workflow inhibits the transformation process. Agile, on the other hand, encourages a flatter hierarchy of employee empowerment to decentralize decision-making across cross-functional teams. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that the agile transformation journey starts with identifying the managerial structures and briefing them on agile.

2. Adequate experience with Agile approaches – Agile coaching

An organization may find that its employees are a little reluctant to change to agile which is why they should first be introduced to the agile framework and should be explained its benefits. Employee mindset and behavior should be inclined towards agile before-hand with the help of briefings and training on agile. Internal communications also play an important role and can help transition to agile easier.

3. Enough management support

During the transition, providing enough management support to the employees is crucial. Here a company can do well to hire agile consultancy services for the employees. These consultants can facilitate adoption of agile methods much quickly and efficiently.

4. Sharing Inspiring Content To Build Engagement

A company must also drive employee engagement via different creative and interactive methods. For example, Information Communication & editorial teams should devise different engagement models which are interactive and informative. Authentic communication which is candid often gets through to the employees.

5. Making Managers Role Models and leaders

Since the managerial level is introduced to agile first , they can be appointed as leaders and guides who can take care of the team members and address their grievances while easing them into agile transformation.

6. Collaboration

Transition to Agile also calls for cross collaboration between team members, managers , stakeholders and customers. 92% of global organizations admit agility and collaboration conform to each other; very few organizations complete the agile transformation process. It is important to ensure smooth communication to drive collaborative efforts. One can do so by sharing updated newsletters on agile transformation benefits for both teams and clients and via consistent communication channels.

7. Introduction to Agile tools

Many Agile tools simplify developmental processes and tasks and keep records of the same. Employees can be more willing to accept Agile if they experience first hand use of these efficient Agile tools. Few examples of very popular Agile Tools are, Jira, pivotal tracker, Slack, LeanKit etc. These tools enable flexibility while maintaining organization.

8. Taking regular updates

Once Agile is adopted in a process, it’s important to track its progress and map its effects on the product. This serves as a validation for whether or not the framework is good for you and if yes what are the metrics that have changed as a result of the switch.

Conclusion

Many big names have switched to agile in the past three decades. Companies like IBM, Microsoft, and Procter & Gamble, Apple, have also benefited from the framework. From reduced defects to 300% increase in throughput, from saving millions of dollars of company money to exponential rise in Sales, Agile has surely revolutionized businesses, world wide.

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author
Samragyi Chamoli
AUTHOR

Zealous, enthusiastic, and consistent, Samragyi is an ardent reader and an experienced writer. She loves animals and adventure.

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