How to Make an Agile Transformation Stick

Previously, I wrote about top-down and bottom-up Agile transformations. After the organization has started their transformation, it is important to make sure that the teams and organization are not slipping back into their old habits. Especially if Agile is new, it is easy to regress. It’s critical to stick with it so the teams and organization can get the most out of the transformation. Below are three focus areas that I believe are important to help a transformation gain steam and then begin to make lasting change.

Education
Those who are not familiar with Agile need to be educated, and those who are familiar with Agile should continue their education. Identify areas within the organization that could be improved and explain how Agile methodologies can make a positive impact. Create an Agile champions team and encourage Agile ambassadors to spread the word or hold lunch and learns. Invite people to attend the daily scrum and look at the burndown chart so they start to get an idea of how the teams operate. Engage others and encourage their teams to become Agile.

Patience
An organization is not going to transform over night. Or in a week. Or in a month. Set expectations that the process will take time, but remind people that the team is completing work and inspecting and adapting regularly, so they will be able to provide feedback and see continuous improvement. Let people know that Agile brings a level of transparency that will help make challenges visible early on. Bringing Agile into an organization can be a culture change, so be patient.

Support
From an executive level, let the team know that you are behind them and support what they are doing. That is important and can make a difference by letting the team feel comfortable and confident to try new things, learn and get better. From a team level, be willing to engage with management and explain what you are doing. Justify why pair programming is helpful and not a waste of time. Explain the importance of having the team sit in the same room. Also, don’t undervalue the importance of Agile coaches. They help get teams up and running, but also make sure that teams are continually improving and performing at a high level – not just flatlining and being content.

Education, patience and support. Do you have any other ideas on how to make an Agile transformation stick?