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How to Ensure a Successful Agile Transformation

The 5Ws and 1H on the road to transformation

24 November 2015

Sayi Sarat Chandra Parvatam
Cigniti Technologies Ltd

Companies experience transformation periodically, but IT firms embark on transformations to tweak the way the processes in the firm are implemented to improve business growth and create a path to success. One optimal means to organizational betterment is Agile adoption, or Agile transformation. It has traditionally been IT firms that apply this type of transformation to facilitate business growth, though other companies are now following suit.

Transformation calls for a remarkable effort in tolerating and managing the effects caused by change in the structure of the firm, behavior of the team members, dynamics of the team, reciprocal action of the stakeholders, process implementation, and tool usage.

Before embarking on an Agile transformation, it is important to explore all its possibilities. Prior to considering an Agile transformation, an IT firm team must define what change means to them.

What change is all about

This is the first step that the team should consider at the start of the transformation. By investigating the vision for the desired change and the positive aftereffects of that very change, the process becomes easy and clear.

Though there are many conventional ways that facilitate solutions during the transformation journey, the team has to investigate how a practice would impact the processes post change.

Create a description that includes why the team has decided to implement a particular Agile model and how that model can make changes to the system to make way for success. The description should also include points on how the Agile model would affect stakeholders and what would be the possible benefits of implementing the model. This definition should also aim at helping the stakeholders understand their piece of the cake in the whole process.

Who makes up the team

After the leaders have developed the transformational vision, the next step in the process is to identify self-motivated and self-driven people to implement the intricate transformation agenda in a professional manner. Ideally, this team would have the senior members of the firm and some experts in Agile development.

Each member of the core implementation team should assume specific goal-oriented responsibilities and also make sure that the reporting system is easy to use, with minimal scope for any possible intricacies. To help achieve these objectives, some liberty to navigate during implementation is helpful. The senior team oversees and manages the implementation process-doers, and they are expected to advise the team members when necessary.

When to shoot the target

Now that the implementation team is ready, identify the easy-to-access target goal and convert it into a business goal through the Agile transformation process.

For instance, the team may identify one or two tasks that would facilitate faster production through Agile and then plan to pursue these tasks so as to reap some benefits. However, reaping quick benefits can be successful only if the team is sure that the implementation strategy includes the necessary support and infrastructure.

Where to focus to reach the target goal

Following the advice of stakeholders and senior members, the implementation team must work on creating a brand name or a catchy tagline, to grab the attention of the target audience and result in lead generation. Taglines help in promoting the brand more swiftly. However, taglines should be derived in such a way that they highly compliment the brand. The team should keep in mind the company policies and important conditions while planning for the branding campaign.

Agile transformation is not just the system and process change, it is also a mindset change. The team must focus on uninterrupted communication to effectively reinforce the model and also reap its benefits for the target teams.

Socialization also is an important aspect in enhancing the scope for successful Agile model implementation. It creates a space for interaction, knowledge transfer, and most, importantly, interest in the target audience. In fact, training affects the results positively.

Why training is important in Agile transformation

During the Agile journey, training for technical and business teams, with specific focus on Agile fundamentals followed by Scrum, can help in adding more value to the transformation. With training, the teams become strong and knowledgeable, and they can also adapt to the change easily.

Seminar sessions or speeches by external consultants and Agile experts can also add more value to the implementation. The teams will be equipped with immense Agile knowledge, thereby making quick wins possible.

How to strategically perform the implementation

Once trained, the teams will be well equipped to easily identify the quick-win projects. They can then pilot the implementation to correct any necessary issues, creating a way for the final, flawless implementation.

To make the process more user-friendly and exciting, business stakeholders, senior members, and the teams should be brought on one platform.

Sometimes, even though the teams plan extremely well, certain issues may interrupt the process. Here are a few challenges that might crop up:
  • Knowing no difference between Scrum ceremonies and status review meetings, and conducting both in a similar fashion
  • Technical teams not being advised about the time frames
  • Teams working in chaos due to improper instruction
Other issues might also arise, resulting in a gap between the scheduled plan and the implementation process. Such issues should be dealt with consciously, and leaders should empower the teams to keep moving toward the finish line instead of penalizing them for any initial failures.

For a successful Agile adoption, the implementation teams should prepare long-term transformation plans so that the change is stable, and they can sustain the condition so that it becomes a part of the firm’s culture.

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

Article Rating

Current rating: 4.5 (18 ratings)


Nagaraju Dasam, CSM, 11/24/2015 3:42:06 AM
This is very good article. Thanks for detailed explanation. I like the way you divided the topic in to separate sections 5Ws and 1H. This is really helpful for successful Agile transformation.
Amitav Bhattacharjee, CSM, 11/24/2015 9:17:03 AM
great thoughts Sayi. I am a great fan of 5W1S and been practicing it for almost 30 years now. You can achieve any thing, practically any thing by religiously practicing these framework.
Ravi Konduru, CSP,CSM, 11/24/2015 12:59:24 PM
Good read.. thanks for publishing this...
Kasi Viswanadha Pavan Kumar Rayaprolu, CSM, 11/25/2015 12:09:01 AM
Good coverage on transformation activities Sayi.. Keep writing and sharing..
Anantha Inti, CSM, 11/27/2015 3:55:59 AM
Good article Sayi. Looking forward for more good reads from you.
Divakarla somasekhar, CSM, 11/27/2015 4:07:18 AM
Nice article Sayi!!!. Good luck
Uma Mahesh Rao, CSP,CSM,CSPO, 11/29/2015 9:33:43 PM
Good thoughts based on your experiences..
Krishnaveni Domathoti, CSM, 11/30/2015 11:38:35 AM
Good Article.
Sayi Sarat Chandra Parvatam, CSP,CSM,CSPO, 12/1/2015 6:57:57 PM
Thank you @Nagaraju, @Amitav, @Ravi Konduru, @Pavan, @Anantha, @Divakarla Soma, @Uma Mahesh & @Krishnaveni for your comments - Thank you again
Meghan Robinson, CSM,CSPO, 3/17/2016 4:11:07 PM
Would you be okay with us highlighting this article on our new AgileCareers Blog?

You can view the blog here:

I look forward to hearing your response! Thanks.
Sayi Sarat Chandra Parvatam, CSP,CSM,CSPO, 5/30/2016 4:41:18 AM
@Meghan Robinson: Really sorry that I missed your text earlier. Please go ahead and use this info accordingly. Thanks much

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