I am never sure how to answer someone who says “What is agile?” After all, my mind is racing so fast that my ultimate, simple explanation – “A way to innovate and deliver products more effectively” leaves me wishing I could kidnap people for a 3-day course on lean-agile and continuous delivery.
What I can simplify (for someone who has a basic understanding of agile) are the steps in a true transformation, so that they can let me know where they are in the process. Note that I have ordered these quite logically, while the real world is full of resistance, grey area, and co-evolution.
- Establish a cadence of synchronization (typically, this is scrum). Hypothesize the results of every change ahead of making it, test it, and validate or invalidate the hypothesis. Inspect and adapt.
- Change from a human resource allocation mindset to a well-formed team mindset.
- Change from a finite project mindset to a living product mindset.
- Sell who you are, not what you plan to have on a shelf in X months.
- Change from a P&L and ROI mindset to an Economic Value Flow across the organization mindset (including upgrades in equipment, training for knowledge workers, benefits that raise barriers to exit).
- Change from centralized (top-down) market research, innovation planning, and risk assessment to distributed control over prudent risks. This requires a framework for self-validation of discoveries, exploitation of opportunities, and communication of results.
- Change from performance tracking and formal leadership to systems optimization and organic leadership.
Hit Contact if you’d like to discuss your scenario or any of these points – I’m always available.