Failure to Launch: Lessons Learned from a Failed Agile Transformation at a $20B Health and Human Services Agency

Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes… well….the bear eats you.

We tried our best. We worked hard trying to transform the way human services were delivered. Our mandate was clear—we needed to deliver new systems in weeks, not years. We needed to modernize our legacy systems. We needed to make our systems user friendly, so the social workers didn’t have to work across four different applications just to help someone apply for food stamps. In short, we knew we needed to change just about everything. Sounds familiar? Maybe you are undergoing a similar radical change at your organization.

Come join us for a deep dive into the lessons learned regarding an unsuccessful large-scale agile transformation at a $20B agency with a 500+ person IT department. What went wrong? We will peel away all the layers of the onion to start at the core, and examine each aspect to find out!

We will start by thinking about culture. What kind of organization are we talking about, and what implications does that have for where and how we should start our transformation?

We will look at transformation strategies. Should we start top-down? Bottom-up? In the middle, then spreading out? We will talk about what we did, where it went wrong, and implications for future transformation efforts. We will introduce the concept of flight levels and see how that may help us clarify and communicate a strategy.

We will continue on, to ultimately examine every aspect of transformation including training, engagement, communication, tooling, software architectures, metrics, and more. I hope that our lessons learned can help you make your large-scale agile transformation a success!

 
2 favorite thumb_down thumb_up 0 comments visibility_off  Remove from Watchlist visibility  Add to Watchlist
 

Outline/Structure of the Case Study

  1. Context
    1. Size
    2. Culture
  2. Challenges
  3. Winning Hearts and Minds
    1. Why Resistance happens
    2. How to recognize it: Jabari Window
    3. Messaging, Active Inquiry, Structural Tension
  4. People (training, coaching)
  5. Process (agile methods, change management)
  6. Tooling
  7. Software Architectures: implications for transformation at scale
  8. Thinking about Flight Levels
    1. Single Team
    2. Organizational Unit/Integration/Programs
    3. Strategy/Value Stream/Portfolios
  9. Big picture Strategies
  10. Wrap Up

Learning Outcome

  • Learn the pain points and risks of large-scale IT transformations
  • Explore ways to avoid pitfalls and recognize warning signs before it is too late
  • Understand how to pivot and some strategies to try, in order to adapt
  • Recognize that adaptation will be absolutely necessary and no large-scale transformation goes “according to plan.”

Target Audience

Middle and Senior Managers, Agile Coaches, Executives, IT practitioners, anyone involved in agile transformation!

Prerequisites for Attendees

none

schedule Submitted 1 week ago

Public Feedback

comment Suggest improvements to the Speaker

  • Liked Craeg K Strong
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Craeg K Strong - Kanban Antipatterns: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

    45 Mins
    Workshop/Game
    Beginner

    In this interactive workshop we will examine multiple examples of Antipatterns observed in real-world Kanban boards. In each case we will identify the issues and discuss ways to improve the situation. We will review a number of better alternatives and see how the improvements map to the core principles of Kanban such as visualization, managing flow, and making policies explicit. Brand new to Kanban? Learning by example is a great way to get started! A long-time Kanban veteran? Come to see how many antipatterns you recognize and help firm up our Kanban Antipattern taxonomy and nomenclature!

    Kanban is an extremely versatile and effective Agile method that has seen significant growth in popularity over recent years. Kanban’s flexibility has led to widespread adoption to manage business processes in disparate contexts such as HR, loan processing, drug discovery, and insurance underwriting, in addition to Information Technology. Like snowflakes, no two Kanban boards are alike. The downside to this flexibility is there is no well-known and easily accessible library of patterns for designing effective Kanban boards. Like Apollo engineers, teams are expected to design their board starting from first principles. Unfortunately, sometimes teams get stuck with board designs that may not provide the visibility and insight into their workflow they hope to see. Worse, some designs actually may serve only to obscure the situation. Working within the limitations of an electronic board can exacerbate the problem even further. Is all hope lost? Certainly not!

    Let’s learn more about effective Kanban system design by examining what to avoid and why. Learning by example is effective and fun!

  • Liked Joel Tosi
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Joel Tosi - Metrics that Matter - Moving from Easy to Impactful

    Joel Tosi
    Joel Tosi
    Dojo & Co
    schedule 1 month ago
    Sold Out!
    45 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    Metrics are the bane of many organizations, getting fascinated on measurements that don’t matter or can drive improper behaviours. In this session, we walk through a simple grouping for metrics where the groupings not only call out the metrics, but their limits, and help guide to better metrics.

  • Liked Craeg K Strong
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Craeg K Strong - Kanban for Non-IT Teams

    45 Mins
    Workshop/Game
    Beginner

    Why should IT have all the fun? This interactive workshop will explore how non-IT organizations are leveraging Lean and Agile principles to improve the way they work. We will explore how Kanban boards are being used in surprising and innovative ways to track things like insurance underwriting, sales funnels, and HR team workflows. First, we will review a few examples as a group. Then things really get interesting as you will be given a business scenario outline and asked to try your hand at designing a Kanban board to visualize the given workflow. Managing a drug discovery process? Preparing legal cases for trial? Managing a large portfolio? Kanban is a perfect fit! By reviewing and analysing different examples across multiple disciplines, and developing your own alternatives, we hope to generate new insights and deepen our understanding of how to leverage the power of visualization in your own organizations.

  • Liked Vanessa Humphreys
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Vanessa Humphreys - Help! My mum is an agile coach !

    Vanessa Humphreys
    Vanessa Humphreys
    COACH
    onepoint
    schedule 4 weeks ago
    Sold Out!
    45 Mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    Let's take a quick look at the common sense we usually demonstrate in our family organisations and put it into practice at work to find new ideas to help an agile transformation.

    Use a kanban board for your house move, a weekly kudos and delegation poker with the kids at home, give them a hot tub workshop to plan a 4 weeks road trip in the US.

    If I think about it, as an Agile coach, do I take my work home or do I bring who I am at home to work?

  • Liked Matthieu Cornillon
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Matthieu Cornillon - The Confidence Game - Self-Managed Navigation Toward Successful Delivery

    Matthieu Cornillon
    Matthieu Cornillon
    Amplify
    schedule 1 week ago
    Sold Out!
    45 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    Team struggling to complete sprints? Having trouble achieving multi-sprint goals? Bogged down by onerous meetings to sync with other teams? Feel like teams aren't all pulling in the same direction?

    Five or six years ago, I was working with a Scrum team that was struggling to complete its sprint goals. The team would start every sprint feeling optimistic, only to realize a few days before the sprint's end that they would never make it. One sprint, on a whim, I asked the team a question, and one of the team members made a wisecrack in response. We all laughed, but the joke gave me the idea to try something new. That experiment turned into an extremely reliable tool that I now use every single day. I call it The Daily Question. Though it is absurdly simple (it takes minutes to learn and seconds to use), I have found it to be one of the most powerful ways to help teams inspect and adapt effectively. Inspired by the reliability of this tool, I started experimenting with other applications of the basic mechanic: using confidence at an individual level to adapt for success at a broader level. In this talk, I'll go over the original tool, as well as the other successful applications I've found.

  • Liked M. Scott Ford
    keyboard_arrow_down

    M. Scott Ford - Mob Programming with Legacy Code

    45 Mins
    Workshop/Game
    Beginner

    Let's explore Mob Programming by looking at an older project. When learning a new way of working, it can be easy to think that you'll have wait until your next project for it to be a success. This session aims to prove the opposite. We'll dive into an existing code base and work on making it better as a group. You'll leave realizing that Mob Programming is something that you can take home to your team, no matter how old your system is.