One of the Top IT services orgnaization in their continuous endeavor towards delivery excellence is currently optimizing their value delivery mechanism align to their business outcome for all their internally consumed applications. The organiztion's internal IT landscape is a vastly diversified arena dotted with multiple technologies, stakeholders and business needs.

In addition, their key business imperatives towards this initiative, is a mechanism that would disrupt their levers of operational hygiene to a very minimum and also prove to be economical.

Amidst lot of brainstorming, we found out that transforming out internal SDLC to Agile with “Lean startup” being the foundation principle of this transformation seems to be the answer.



Few months back, we kick started the “LEARN” phase of the “lean-startup” methodology. After quite a bit of analysis, we handpicked one project from each of the key portfolios. These projects were picked based on the fact that all these had members, who had open mind to embrace new of working and also were important from the business need. Despite the initial inertia, most of these projects cruised, their entire journey well. Not only they had a successful completion, but provided us valuable insights on how each portfolio operates. Following were our key learning’s.

Key learning’s

  1. Cross functional Team – the HPAT way

We took a leaf from the Chennai super kings (IPL CSK) success story to keep the team constant and truly cross functional – of course not 100%, but at least 70% of the team. We allowed the team to go thru’ Forming, Storming, Norming & Performing stages so that they emerge out as a strong team at the end – What we call as Hyper Performing Agile team (HPAT).

We earmarked key Agile ceremonies, Practices & Principles to be followed for each of these stages for the team to gradually assimilate them and deliver results. This proved to be detrimental factor in our journey with most the projects finishing with zero UAT defects.

  1. The pride factor

This very important learning for us during the LEARN phase is the need for “Unlearning”. Most of the teams selected were high performers and had a lot success stories from their past. Letting them to forego their past and embrace a new methodology was a big challenge. We effectively used various ceremonies like Retrospective, Release & sprint Planning and stand-ups to bring out the advantages of Agile. Of course, we had quite bit of team members, who were enterprising in nature to venture into new territory, which served as a catalyst towards this transformation.



  1. Need for Changes nodes within the team

Transformation Velocity = Fn {x, y, z}  + c

[X = No of Agile coaches / Experts; Y = No of effective POs; Z = People enablement (Business unit level training, Project level workshops; c = Agile friendliness of ecosystem)

  • Master Agile Practioners (MAPs)

As I said in the earlier part of this article, economy of the initiative was one of the key business imperative to reckon the success of the transformation. Per above function, No of Agile coaches / Experts was a very important variable in our transformation velocity.

To satisfy both the needs, we need more of internal change nodes than external coaches to drive this transformation. Towards this aim, we identified few enthusiastic folks who had been part of this journey and have minimum three months of Agile execution experience as Master Agile Practioners (MAPs). These MAPs in addition to steering their own project, would also guide one another team. This kind of set of a chain reaction increasing the transformation velocity

  • PO Organization

As you have noted in the above function, effective POs are another key in speeding up the transformation. So we started engaging with the senior management of each business unit requesting them to invest on creating a new role called product owners (POs)

  • Federal structure for Agile Transformation office (ATO)

Created an Agile transformation office in a federal set up, where the function of ATO is more of support / facilitating body than an executing body. They will be providing support in terms of Agile process, practices, people enablement (training, newsletters, road-shows), audit and governance.


We are currently in the “BUILD” phase, where the Agile transformation was rolled out in three waves. Technology mix, project complexity and stakeholder readiness was the decider for projects / units in the respective waves.

During this phase we deployed various tools & methods. Some of these are outlined below

  • Tool to calculate Agile Maturity at a business unit level
  • Tool to quantify agile benefits at project level in terms of Faster to market, Total cost of ownership etc
  • Leveraged a predominately used source control tool to become our single source of truth viz Application Lifecycle management tool.
  • Refined our people enablement plan towards obtaining an internal certification towards end of the training to provide a value add to the practioners.
  • Effective governance system to asses Agile transformation effectiveness

Outcome of above were used to refine our transformation method.

Below illustration provides a snapshot on the approach.

Figure 1


We also embarked on the implement and measure phase simultaneously while we are in the BUILD phase. The first set of projects that were started in the LEARN phase, have now hit, stable state on the basic Agile practices. Those projects have started dabbling around with next level Agile practices like CI, TDD etc.

Below illustration would provide an idea on how different people / process practices will be deployed as the team matures on Agile execution.

Figure 2

The Journey so far has been quite rewarding. Biggest reward has been the team motivation. Project teams that has been part of this journey has reported greater satisfaction given the holistic view they get on the progress of the project and also the direct feedback they get from the stakeholders of the project.

Few projects have also reported considerable increase in productivity apart of the team morale. As I said earlier most the project completed with a zero UAT issues. Hope when the transformation is complete, we would get to our target of aligning our delivery mechanism more towards the business outcome in addition achieving this delivery excellence related values.





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Outline/structure of the Session

Challenges faced during Agile transformation journey for a larger business unit and solutions arrived there in considering the options available with in the boundary conditions.

Learning Outcome

Usage of Lean start up process as an effective tool for Agile transformation journey

Target Audience

Agile Experienced professionals

schedule Submitted 3 years ago

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  • Fincy Yousuff
    By Fincy Yousuff  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hey Satish,

    Could you please attach more info about the sessio as a presentation/video? Plus, don't you think this session would better at the "Lean Startup"theme?

    • Sathish
      By Sathish  ~  3 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Fincy - Thanks for your interest. I agree that this article can feature under more than one topic. In fact, I thought quite a bit, before publishing and decided against lean start up, if, in case the person, who reviews the articles would consider lean start up more apt for new product development.

      As for the presentation - it is a WIP. Thought, will devot more time to it, if the article gets selected for discussion.

      warm regards,


  • Sathish
    By Sathish  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Thanks Ellen. Will try to provide you with a 1 min video by this week.

    warm regards,


    • Sathish
      By Sathish  ~  3 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Ellen,

      As desired, pl find the 1 min video in -

      warm regards,



  • Ellen Grove
    By Ellen Grove  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Sathish

    This has the potential to be an interesting experience report/

    Could you please provide links to videos/slides from other presentations you've done?  Or if you don't have a video, record a 1-2 min video describing your presentation and link to it here?  While I appreciate your willingness to devote more time to the presentation if it gets selected (Lean thinking in action!), currently your proposal is lacking some of the material we need to be able to assess it.



  • Sathish
    By Sathish  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Thanks Fincy. will respond to you over this weekend.

    warm regards,