Why Is Starting an Agile Transformation So Difficult?

Artemisa Yescas | September 07, 2021

When organizations hear there is a ‘magical’ way in which they can get more speed and flexibility to deliver their products, they immediately say yes to any proposition. Done right, Agile will eventually get you there. However, obliging teams into an imposed rigid transformation because you want a fast-successful result is not the answer. Think of it this way: suddenly, someone forces us to have fundamental changes in the way we carry out our workday. Of course, we would put up resistance.

 

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As with any other methodology, practice, or tool, an organization will confront a broad range of challenges as they introduce Agile. What is most surprising is that these challenges have remained largely unchanged for the past several years.

Top 5 Challenges Implementing Agile

  • Organizational Culture
  • Resistance to change
  • Inconsistencies in processes and practices
  • Lack of skills and experience
  • Absence of leadership participation

 

Based on the 15th state of Agile report, this year’s findings show significant growth in Agile adoption within software development teams, notably increasing from 37% in 2020 to 86% in 2021. 1 It is evident that for an organization to succeed, they have to adapt and quickly identify and address the critical skills needed to drive their business. The current pandemic has accelerated the need to use Agile and support more collaborative remote and distributed environments.

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How Can We Guarantee a Successful Agile Adoption?

First and foremost, implementing Agile is a team effort but it requires strong leadership and acceptance in all the company.
Pitching Agile benefits so that everyone shares the same enthusiasm for the big picture is a good strategy to perform.
Top leadership should empower and motivate the teams to share their views and concerns. Agile requires acceptance of failures and whole-team accountability. Everybody needs to be on the same page for this shift, understanding why and how this will take place. Let's not forget that adoption is a choice.

Even though Agile is so popular, not everyone dominates Agile topics or even knows what they are about. Overall, Agile is a mindset -a set of skills- and sometimes this knowledge is better guided by a specialist. This can happen via proper training and even close support during the first weeks of adoption; this is key for a successful embracement.

Communication and collaboration encouragement is crucial, it should happen within and between teams. The use of tools that enable visibility in planning and review is a must. Tools that support remote work are imperative. Teams should turn into multidisciplinary, cross-functional units: they work together, are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and use these insights to reduce dependencies. Recognizing waste, removing silos and bottlenecks are a big part of the final goal.

Stakeholders are external to the team, but they should get involved in the decision-making process; most importantly, they need to understand the relevance of the changes that are being implemented.

Feedback and praise are fundamental concepts that will allow your team to improve, and the team will feel their contributions are valuable.

Don't try too hard, narrow your research on Agile methodologies, practices, and tools. A recommendation is to start with one or few approaches and later on try other ones. Don't feel apprehended to drop any of these practices and select another that might be a better fit for you.

At Encora, we drive transformational outcomes. Based on Agile values, our teams are able to shorten development cycles, increase deployment frequencies, and deliver robust, dependable releases to improve the client’s application time to market, visibility, and growth.

It is essential to remember that Agile is not a goal in itself. It is an iterative approach; it is the ability to create and respond to change. And it can be life-changing for your organization.

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References


1. Digital Ai. “State of Agile.” State of Agile, © 2021 Digital.ai, 9 July 2021, stateofagile.com/#ufh-i-661275008-15th-state-of-agile-report/7027494


2. Encora. “Agile Continuous Engineering & DevOps Services.” Encora, © Encora Digital Inc, 17 May 2021, www.encora.com/services/devops-continuous-engineering.

 

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