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Agile transformation must be measured and managed. At each point of application, the transformational effort ought to be captured as a backlog of changes, each of which is the useful application of one or more agile "patterns", or good practices. These transformation backlogs will need to be ordered and managed by a sponsored and qualified team: change agents who can roll out transformational change until the process is normed, and a self-adapting and self-sustaining innovation network is in place.
Here is a framework, a structured remedy by means of which transformation can be enabled. It is captured as a pattern in itself - a pattern for agile transformation. It consists of 12 components: Sponsored Vision; Transformation Rollout Team; Delivery Teams; Transformation Backlog; Transformation Heartbeat; Team Cadence; Change Actioning; Daily Cadence; Verification; Actionable Metrics; Validated Learning, and a Validated Rollout Strategy. Applying this framework helps an organization to become a "startup at scale". Clicking on any of the components will show further detail.
In identifying each backlog item, this transformational Rollout Team will select the right patterns at the right time for application in the right organizational areas. As the organization becomes more focused on delivery, the respective teams become more agile, and more able to inspect and adapt their own process. Each team will be able to populate its own backlog of planned improvements, to identify new opportunities and innovative solutions, to highlight impediments, and to provide transparency to the wider organization over quality and progress. The success of each change will be evaluated empirically by means of clear acceptance criteria and iterative inspection. These validated lessons help to reorganize and reprioritize each transformation backlog. A measured and managed enterprise transformation, like the agile delivery of a product, is sustainable, transparent, and incremental in nature.
The need for ongoing delivery must be recognized and supported. Organizations do not typically come to a halt in order to change; instead, transformation happens while those organizations are in flight. A well structured transformation backlog is instrumental to managing this. Change must be ordered so that risk is controlled, and the ongoing viability of the business is not compromised.
Agile transformation requires deep and pervasive change, and hence must be a strategic goal. In short, to “SOLVE" the innovation problem at scale it is necessary to:
Note: a worked example of an agile transformation cycle is also available (PDF).
The startup@scale® Transformation Framework is free, and puts the organization in control of its own agile journey. It is provided in its entirety on this site under the Creative Commons License Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0).
We're always keen to hear about your own experiences with using patterns in agile transformation. If you have anything you'd like to share, or have an idea for a new pattern, you can contact us here.
Should training or consultancy be necessary, you can also contact us here without obligation. We offer in-house accreditation programs for agile transformation change agents, and are Scrum.org training partners authorized to teach Professional Scrum Master courses. The official agilepatterns.org reference text, "Agile Development in Practice", is available for purchase.
Structure: A Transformation Backlog is ordered and managed by a Rollout Team. This team is the guiding body which coaches and leads the rest of the enterprise in its adoption. The Rollout Team decide which patterns need applying to which areas and how their application should be ordered, what success criteria will apply, and what actionable metrics will be considered. Each item on the Transformation Backlog must apply the benefits of at least one agile pattern. The transformation process is managed with reference to a regular heartbeat of inspection and adaptation. The transformation heartbeat accommodates and informs the cadence of organizational delivery cycles as well as operational day-to-day work. Validated Learning is used to reorganize and reprioritize the Transformation Backlog in accordance with actionable metrics.
Applicability: Large organizations are likely to benefit from an agile transformation programme, as are startups entering a growth phase. Organizations tend to grow into bureaucracies and can lose their willingness to genuinely experiment. They may demonstrate the following symptoms:
Consequences: Reduced batch sizes and cycle times, improved and more consistent quality, improved Return on Investment, reduced waste, better transparency and predictability concerning the flow of value across the enterprise.
Implementation: The Agile Transformation pattern is often implemented by agile coaches and/or by a guild of Scrum Masters. They must have the remit of improving organizational best practice, and have clear executive sponsorship for implementing organizational change.
See Also: Kanban Sandwich