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Enterprise transformation requires clear executive sponsorship. If top-level support for the initiative is not made clear at every level of the organization, then only localized or tactical improvements are likely to be made.
Make no mistake about it – enterprise agile adoption is a strategic issue. It requires organization-wide, deep and persistent change. The support for this change must be driven by senior management. It has to be sufficiently strong to overcome “organizational gravity”...the tendency of people to revert to traditional ways of working. Agile transformation is hard. It means learning new ways of working and new ways of thinking, and unlearning old cultural norms that masquerade as common sense.
Senior management has three key responsibilities to fulfil in this regards:
Now, we must be clear on the following important point. Although executive sponsorship is a critical success factor in enterprise transformation, agile change is not something that can be imposed. The duty of sponsors is to encourage the adoption of good practices by responsible and self-organizing teams. Also, enterprise agile transformation should not be regarded as a separate initiative, but rather as a means of adding value to the organization and its ongoing business.
Note: The Agile Buddy Guide is available to help team members on their agile journey (DOCX format). Transformation Teams may configure it to suit the organization's context and to evidence sponsorship of an agile vision. The companion video presentation Scrum in an Hour can be used to further socialize agile change in "lunch-and-learn" or "brown-bag" type sessions.