5 Aspects Of Successful Agile Transformation for Your Enterprise

1 Stay Responsive to Customer Demands
2 Focus on Talent Development
3 Align Team Efforts with Your Company’s Business Strategy
4 Take a Comprehensive Approach to Measuring Performance
5 Empower the Agile Transformation Office with a Strong Mandate

1 Stay Responsive to Customer Demands
Traditionally, product managers follow a step-by-step process of planning, designing, implementing and testing the finished product. This approach worked flawlessly a couple of decades ago.

But in the fast-paced digital market with shifting customer demands, it is counterproductive. Businesses need now, more than ever, to adopt agile methodologies to stay on the crest of a wave.

And it is not about delivering products faster. The goal is to put customers and their needs first.

It means building products in short increments and working closely with customers early in the process. This lets you gather feedback and adjust the plan as needed.

One of the most popular Agile methodologies is Scrum. The product owner meets with the development team daily to provide customer feedback and insight.

2 Focus on Talent Development
Even customer-centric organizations struggle to make product management truly agile.

The problem often boils down to poor talent management. High-performing companies avoid this mistake by creating skills matrices with clear team roles. They also attract top talent and increase employee retention rates by providing hands-on coaching and career advancement opportunities.

These enterprises evaluate talent following the agile approach. They veer away from annual assessments in favor of on-demand evaluations. Major companies now provide their employees with frequent feedback on the fly.

On top of that, agile enterprises pick star employees and encourage them to take the lead.

As a result, such companies kill two birds with one stone. First, these employees provide direction or vision of what success looks like, thus making processes more efficient.

Second, they feel rewarded for doing their job well and are more likely to stay with the company for a longer period of time.

3 Align Team Efforts with Your Company’s Business Strategy
It’s not enough to have high-performing agile teams. You must also tune their efforts to your business strategy and objectives.

Here’s a common scenario:

Teams take care to observe agile ceremonies like daily stand-up meetings and retrospectives. However, they stay in the dark about how they influence the solution road map or the enterprise’s strategic direction.

You can design interactive training to explain the big picture and break down silos between engineering and business teams. Feeding the iterative process with frequent feedback loops also helps.

There are certain companies which provide their teams with a high level of autonomy. But they make sure they are guided by the company’s business interests.

This establishes a clear overarching strategy and measurable objectives. There are feedback systems in place monitoring activities and measuring progress toward goals.

4 Take a Comprehensive Approach to Measuring Performance
It takes time to see the results of an agile transformation. And when you finally do, you might have a hard time attributing them to your agile initiative. So, how to assess whether your agile transition has been effective?

Successful agile transformation offices (ATOs)—the teams responsible for shaping and managing the agile transformation—take an end-to-end approach that covers three types of metrics:

Transformation progress metrics:
Early on, the task of ATOs is to assess how the agile transformation is progressing.

Companies use 2 typical metrics:
1) the number of employees trained and certified, and
2) business units covered.

These basic metrics, however, do not articulate the initiative’s real business impact. Hence, the need for an end-to-end approach.

Execution metrics:
As the teams start to operate in agile mode, ATOs can measure execution metrics.

They include defect rate, cycle time, velocity and volatility.

Business-value metrics:
After the product launch, it is time for metrics showing the business impact.
Costs, revenue, core earnings and net promoter score fall under this classification.

These end-to-end metrics allow leaders to spot problem indicators and promptly address them. For a holistic approach, enterprises measure performance within each project using uniform metrics.

5 Empower the Agile Transformation Office with a Strong Mandate
Low investment in the ATO translates into a mediocre approach that merely educates the company about agile. To get the most out of this core team, leaders must back it up with actionable mandates and executive buy-in.

An ATO that gets strong support from the C-suite can put in place an agile system that goes beyond the IT and business departments. They can rope in other company units like HR, finance and change management. They go the extra mile to set standards, create playbooks, collect data, provide hands-on coaching and deploy tools that facilitate agile execution and business portfolio management.

A well-functioning ATO helps companies achieve true enterprise agility.

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