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!

 
 

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 2 months ago

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