Agile organizational transformation
Moving from a “predict and control” to a “sense and respond” mindset
« Agile organizations are different. Traditional organizations are built around a static, siloed, structural hierarchy, whereas agile organizations are characterized as a network of teams operating in rapid learning and decision-making cycles. Traditional organizations place their governance bodies at their apex, and decision rights flow down the hierarchy; conversely, agile organizations instill a common purpose and use new data to give decision rights to the teams closest to the information. An agile organization can ideally combine velocity and adaptability with stability and efficiency. »
The journey to an agile organization, mckinsey.com, May 2019
We have already implemented an agile framework*, aren’t we already transformed?
The words « agile » and « transformation » can mean different things for different people. We make an important distinction between adopting a new methodology and actually being transformed.
We feel that a transformation has occurred when the new behaviours and the new ways of working remain the default choice even during emergencies. Once people no longer revert back to their old ways of doing things and constantly demonstrate the new behaviours even under duress, we can say a transformation has taken place.
By opposition, when an organization only adopts certain simple elements of agile or looks for ways around the new methods, we can’t pretend there has been a transformation – we often see fake agile.
* Scrum, SAFe, LeSS, DaD and Nexus are among the most popular frameworks.
Agile culture = Agile (Mindset + Behaviours + Practices)
Rather than working on implementing a new methodology, we first work on transforming the mindset and the behaviours that will then support the adoption of agile practices and methods. An agile mindset is a set of attitudes such as respect, collaboration, improvement and learning cycles, pride in ownership, focus on delivering value, and the ability to adapt to change. This new mindset is necessary to cultivate high-performing teams, who in turn deliver amazing value for their customers. Below are examples of mindset shifts completed with some of our clients:
Mindset Shift #1
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Mindset Shift #2
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The organization is a machine. Employees are considered cogs of the machine.
The organization is a living organism. Employees are living cells.
« A traditional (industrial) approach to becoming more Agile commonly creates no more than an illusion of agility. »
The illusion of agility (what most Agile transformations end up delivering), Gunther Verheyen, Jan. 2019
What are the steps of an agile organizational transformation?
An agile transformation is an iterative process. Every organization is different and there are no recipes to successfully complete a transformation. Therefore, we use a flexible framework to organize our actions and establish a high-level plan of action and as the saying goes “no plan survives contact with the enemy“. Consequently, in an agile fashion we constantly adapt our approach in order to successfully and efficiently guide the organization through its transformation process.