In my previous role as the leader of the of a products group, leading one-of-its kind agile transformation initiative, we tried to fundamentally change how value is delivered to customers in legacy technologies. In this experience report, I would like to share my insights about the agile transformation journey by unraveling the challenges and the remediation steps that has helped us in keeping this journey alive. To complicate things further, implementing agile in a mainframe technology stack is extremely challenging because people working with legacy technology/code-base, have a mindset that it is not possible to introduce modern tools/technologies or a different way of developing software in this environment. Specifically I would like to touch upon the following areas to drive agility across the organization:

  1. The need for Agile transformation initiative
    1. Time to market - Long release cycles; Impact on release feature relevance;  - Need for reducing release cycle as well as the need to build what is relevant
    2. Rapid changes in Data Center requirements as well change in direction for technology stack – Heterogeneous platforms, On Premise to Cloud, Web and Mobility driving different usage patterns – driving the need for more and faster innovation
    3. Lack of customer involvement in product roadmap and release plans – Need for early feedback and validation
    4. R&D - Lack of understanding of customer environment; Siloed functional groups inhibiting collaboration;  - De-risk knowledge levels within the organization; Improve cross functional team behaviors; improve engineering practices and usage of productivity tools
  2. Challenges faced during the journey – Communication; Expectation Management; Changing culture and behaviors; HR – role of HR, systems, processes, performance management, job titles/description, Rewards and Recognition; Skills – Technology as well as softer skills; Engineering practices and tools;
  3. Organizational changes introduced to make the transformation successful
    1. Communication and expectation Management
    2. Culture and behaviors – soft skills workshops, move from an I to a WE, emphasize on team thru team goals and team success, team based rewards and recognition; changed job description of managers to get effective participation and right behaviors as well as how they can contribute to the team success; Enabled cross functional skills (T skills / Generalists)
    3. HR – Systems/processes, introduction of new job titles and changes to job description, Team based quarterly performance goals and reviews, multi-rater feedback;   Moved from Individual performance reviews to team based quarterly performance reviews
    4. Engineering excellence – enabling skills and tools for continuous integration, build and deployment to provide faster feedback as well as shorter release cycles; improve quality;   Moved from waterfall to a daily integration and build model;  
    5. Value Delivery – Requirements voted to understand high priority needs; reduce release cycle; customer involvement during roadmap and release planning, sprint review feedback;   Release cycle reduce from 18 months to quarterly incremental releases

Due to the nature and complexity of the change, the impact and touch points involved in this transformation, it is very critical to have an active and deeper participation from the leadership team to effectively plan change management to make the transformation successful.   Since it was a multi-year transformation initiative as well as continuous improvement journey, we had taken a phased approach to implement the overall transformation plan so as to take benefit out of learning coming out from each of the phases.

 

 
 

Outline/structure of the Session

It will be a power point based talk and would be structured as follows

Why? – Need for transformation and context setting  - 5 minutes

Key Challenges faced during the transformation – 5 mins

What and How? -  Role of leadership and areas to focus upon  - 10 minutes

Learning Outcome

Key challenges faced in the transformation journey and areas for leaders to focus / consider.  At the end of the session, participants will have better understanding of the complex cultural & behavior aspects, communication, HR and Performance Management issues  that arise out of a high-stakes undertaking such as agile transformation.

Target Audience

Executives, Leaders, Managers, Coaches

Requirements

Projector and Screen

schedule Submitted 2 years ago

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