How to Successfully Manage Agile Transformation in Your Company

Many software product companies have been using the Agile Scrum methodology for years. But even companies whose core business has not traditionally involved software development are rapidly following suit.

Regardless of industry, companies are always looking for a way to deliver the most valuable product in the least amount of time, and in many cases, Agile software development makes that a reality

Although Agile Scrum offers many benefits in software development, it’s not easy to manage an Agile transformation in most organizations. To succeed with Agile, you need to shift your focus and thought process around how to manage your business’ software initiatives, and understand that processes will change.

Common Challenges Businesses Face

When transitioning to Agile software development, many businesses experience challenges getting the entire team on board, including:

  • Resisting change. One of the most frustrating roadblocks is resistance. When people are used to doing something a certain way, they often resist change. It’s important to keep team members motivated and to remind them why your business is making this transition.
  • Failing to adapt to changing roles. Transitioning to Agile Scrum shakes up roles throughout teams, and for some people, that’s scary. Managers may fear a loss of authority while team members may have trouble stepping up. To overcome this, send your team members to formal Scrum Master training or Product Owner training to help them understand the importance of their new roles.
  • Misunderstanding the process. Agile Scrum introduces a fundamental change to the way people work, so there’s room for confusion regarding the new daily routines as well as the regular ceremonies. That’s why it’s essential to do a complete implementation and transformation instead of trying to implement certain processes here and there.

4 Steps To Successfully Manage Agile Transformation

Even if you know transitioning to Agile Scrum is right for your software development process, it’s important to implement it in a way that’s positive, informative and beneficial to your team and your organization. Trying to rush the implementation process with your team or not talking to business stakeholders and leadership team about upcoming changes often backfires.

Here are four steps to help you successfully manage Agile transformation in your company:

1. Set the Vision and Align Leadership Team

This is one of the most important steps when beginning the transformational journey, as it often determines how your team and involved business stakeholders handles the transition. You must clearly articulate the vision for change to your leadership team and how Agile Scrum will benefit the organization. Also, let your team members know how they will be impacted by the change and what to expect during the transition.

2. Conduct Training For All Employees

To help with the transition process, hold Agile Scrum orientation sessions for all involved business and IT stakeholders. This will give everyone a general sense for what Agile Scrum is and how it works. Additionally, provide Agile Scrum training for all future members of your Agile Scrum teams. And finally, have Scrum Masters and Product Owners enroll in the formal certification courses.

Once you’ve completed formal training, consider working with an Agile software development company in a co-development arrangement. This could be a short- or long-term partnership, but it will help you adopt Agile Scrum, customize it for your unique environment and implement the practices correctly.

3. Experiment Early And Make Corrections As Needed

Before rolling out Agile for all of your projects, start with training sprints on one project. During training sprints, you focus on the process rather than the output. This helps your team and all stakeholders get used to the new processes.

Work in training sprints for several months and start with a project that doesn’t have tight deadlines. This gives you the opportunity to experiment, learn and identify common problems. Work to remove any impediments before implementing Agile Scrum across all projects.

4. Establish Stable Teams

One of the most valuable steps you can take when managing Agile transformation is to create an organizational structure that enables stable teams. In other words, you want to create teams that stay together throughout the duration of a project.

Over time, team members will form bonds, learn how to effectively work together and optimize their collaboration. Stable, long-term teams will also learn how to predict their velocity, which is essential for accurate business planning purposes.

Agile transformation is a journey that results in major changes to the way your software development process works and how stakeholders from all departments collaborate to build new products together. To successfully manage this transition, it’s important to take it slow and follow a well-developed process. By being prepared and following the tips above, your company will experience a smoother transition to Agile Scrum.

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