This page is a “work in progress”.
I often get a request to facilitation of a planning session to get an agile transformation started, supported and eventually sustained in their organization. The question is how to organize these people and start the process.
John Kotter in "Leading Change" talks about 8 steps needed in order to have a successful implementation. The steps are, (including some of the things I’ve done which support this thinking):
|Step||Kotter Steps||Sample Actions|
|1||Establishing a Sense of Urgency||Message from leadership.|
|2||Creating the Guiding Coalition||Establish “rollout team” and “agile coach”.|
|3||Developing a Vision and Strategy||Clear understanding of “why”.|
|4||Communicating the Change Vision||Constant communication. Include “dog fooding”.|
|5||Empowering Employees for Broad-Based Action||Message, then celebrate when it happens.|
|6||Generating Short-Term Wins||Sprints, Pilots, Successful plans, Stories about success.|
|7||Consolidating Gains and Producing More Change||Make it easy to do the right thing.|
|8||Anchoring New Approaches in the Culture||Reinforce. Communities of practice. Supporting infrastructure. Next improvement.|
Before you start going down an agile implementation path it is worth the effort to capture and document why you are doing this change, what problems you expect to see, and how you will know you are successful. These need to expressed in terms of business drivers, not in terms of agile, so everyone is aligned on the objective.
The “why” part is particularly important. Organization change is hard, and your organization will often push back (what I call “organization anti-bodies”). Having a solid understanding of why we are doing this will help us maintain the resolve, the urgency, to get through the complex issues. In other words it helps with steps 1, 3 and 4.
The other thing that I’ve found helps a lot when doing this kind of transformation is when the is clear leadership and, in the case of agile and scrum since this could be regarded as a change management project and Scrum is all about project management, that the leadership adopt the tools themselves.
This helps in many other ways as well. It helps leadership really understand what the process is, what it is like to be on a team, what the roles are, and so on. It also helps set clear messages that we want in the organization. Take “transparency of decision making” for example, which is something we want in an agile implementation. If management is in a team, does and tracks work as user stories, “demonstrates” results in a Sprint Review (including talking about what they’ve learned when they missed a commitment), it will do more to get the message across than any number of presentations etc.
To understand business objective of transformation to agile, to determine basic approach, potential obstacles, and metrics for success and set up the project for the work to be done.
What I have found effective in developing the “why” and also gaining a degree of buy-in is run a assessment workshop. Once we have this in place we can pull together a Sprint Plan for the executive team.
Expect leadership to be involved two days set of activities. “Leadership” in this case is the guiding coalition for the roll out of agile to the organization.
In addition to the team make-up we need to identify the Product Owner and the Scrum Master for the team. We also need to start thinking about identifying someone as the “Agile Coach” for the organization. The idea here is that you build your own expertise in Agile as it is applied to your organization so that you become self sufficient.
We now need to determine what to do – who needs training, what kind of tooling, etc. Idea is to run this as a Scrum Project with the user stories in this case being related to the work of transforming the organization.
Pull together plan for first Sprint of the executive plan:
These workshops work best when done face-to-face and without having proxies do the work in the place of leadership.