Agile Transformation: 9 Things You Didn't Know About It
Do you need more advice when it comes to managing your software development project? How can the core principles of agile transformation help? Here's how.
The business world is entering the age of Agile, but that doesn't mean that everyone understands what it is.
As Agile principles spread from business to business, many managers and CEOs are left trying to figure out if a culture shift is in their company's future. Such a huge shift can definitely be terrifying. But it's even more daunting if you're not 100% sure what you're getting yourself into.
When it comes to project management, Agile is clearly the way of the future. Before you call a company meeting, though, make sure that you've got all the facts. Here are nine things that you probably didn't know about agile transformation.
1. Agile Isn't a MethodologyThe first question on people's minds when they hear about Agile is usually, "What does Agile mean?" How does a business become agile, anyway?
The answer you might get is that Agile is a methodology that companies follow if they're trying to revamp their management styles. That's a common misconception, though. Agile isn't a methodology.
Think of it more like a value system.
2. There Are Four Main Values
So if Agile is a value system, what are its values? There are four main values that companies should keep in mind if they want to be truly agile:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
You can find these in the Agile Manifesto, published in 2001. If you want to get really specific, you can also check out the 12 principles that go along with the four main values.
3. Agile Transformation Isn't Agile Adoption
So you've learned the four Agile values. Everyone in your companies knows them by heart. You're finally ready to incorporate them into your company processes.
Done deal, right?
Not exactly. Adopting agile isn't the same thing as a true agile transformation.
If you change your company policy to make sure managers and employees have face-to-face meetings instead of sending an email, that's adopting agile. An agile transformation, though, is the act of changing the mindset and culture of your business.
Basically, people have to believe in the change.
4. It Can Be Scaled for Large Businesses
This is where managers at larger enterprises might start thinking, "This is never going to work where I am. We're too big."
It's true that larger companies tend to have more paperwork, more processes, and lots of hoops to jump through to get things done. It can be harder for a larger company to go through an agile transformation -- but it's not impossible.
Agile can be scaled for larger businesses, too. By discovering when different teams can work together and collaborating more often, you're already on your way.
5. It's Not Just for Tech
Agile principles got their start in tech, but you don't have to be a technology company to adopt them. You can apply them to any company.
Getting rid of silos, involving the entire team in decision making, and streamlining processes is something everyone can be working towards. Many people would argue that we should be. After all, if businesses are going to thrive in the 21st century, they've got to be able to adapt quickly.
Society moves faster now, so all businesses need to be able to keep up.
6. Timing Is Everything
Most tech companies are familiar with the fear that the code or software that you finally deliver will be outdated by the time it's done. If your teams work in silos instead of collaborating, you also risk miscommunications increasing the time it takes to get the product to the customer.
Being agile means knowing that timing is everything. Even with a strict timeline, you should be able to change up the cost and scope of a project without sacrificing quality. Agile values help you do that.
7. Discomfort Is Normal
If it's not uncomfortable, you're not doing enough.
It's common for some companies to notice the growing pains that come with agile transformations and want to quit. Maybe you're losing some managers who can't adapt their leadership styles to the new values or you're having difficulty getting executive buy-in.
The worst thing you can do is quit in these situations. If you're uncomfortable, that means real change is happening.
8. Your Idea of Change Might Change
When companies start to become agile, their leadership probably has an end goal in mind. Maybe there's a specific idea of how the company will operate once they've undergone this agile transformation.
That's the thing about change, though -- it's always evolving. That means your idea of positive change might change, too.
Being able to easily adapt to shifting expectations and needs is a fantastic sign. Don't be afraid if your goals are changing. Embrace it!
9. Agile Leads to Happier Employees
Here's the thing about the business world of today -- you can't attract top talent without dynamic management.
The young professionals of today are not interested in taking jobs where the policies are rigid and unchanging, where they don't have input in the decision-making process and are expected to do as they're told with no questions asked. Businesses don't benefit from it, either.
To keep up in today's world, you need to attract people who are idea-generators, thinkers, and passionate about making changes and being ahead of the curve.
Having a business where change is encouraged instead of fought is key to attracting the talent you need. You might even be surprised at how quickly your employees flourish in a new, agile environment.
Start Your Agile Transformation
There are a lot of misconceptions around Agile transformations. Once you have the information you need, though, you can start taking steps to transform your own business.
To survive, let alone thrive, firms today must learn to embrace the new business reality: they are entering the age of Agile.
That's where we can help. RESTRAT® consultants and coaches are trained to help your business adopt Agile best practices, optimize your tools, and tailor scalable frameworks that are right for your business.
You won't have to take this on alone and you'll have experts helping you every step of the way. Schedule a free consultation to get started.