How to avoid 'Hitting the Wall' in your Agile Transformation (or how to get 'unstuck')

Over the years as an Agile practitioner, I've seen mindsets change on Agile and what it should and shouldn't be used for. The good news is that the 'shouldn't be used for' list continues to go down. In fact - I'm encouraged by the trend from 'should not' to 'could' to 'absolutely should' - when it comes to applying Lean and Agile.

But over that same time period, I've watched a number of organizations, populated with very smart, creative and passionate people, struggle with their own Agile journeys. Subsequently, I've spent a lot of time working with those organizations and introspecting on my own and with my team.

"How do we make the Agile transformational journey more efficient, fruitful and more enjoyable for everyone?

Ironically, the way most organizations look to start or advance a stuck Agile journey is to seek out a formula or 'best practices' to road-map their enterprise plan. Potentially you cringed as much as I did as I wrote the last sentence. Specifically, taking a plan-based approach to move away from a plan-based approach is an anti-pattern and somewhat the antithesis of the Agile mindset.

So what should we do?

The best way to speed up your Agile journey is not by reading articles, books, blog postings, attending conference sessions ;-) or to seek some kind of formula to put together a plan. While those things can educate and even inspire, they maintain the slower path - albeit one that generally 'feels safer' for some.

A far better prescription is to follow an approach to the Agile journey that is in itself - Agile.

While that may seem intuitive, there are also implications to 'how' you approach the challenge from an organizational perspective. The classic approach to 'train the development team' and everything else follows is prone to stalling for a variety of reasons.

This session will explore both an Agile / Lean approach to 'Enterprise Agile Transformation' but also take a look at where to best start and how to progress more effectively in that transformation. Notice that I quoted 'Enterprise Agile Transformation' because there are some clues in the name that help us truly map out a far more effective and enjoyable approach to moving along your Agile journey.

I promise you that this session will provide some concrete 'ah-hah' moments that in retrospect will not only make lot's of sense, but also be very pragmatic and do-able.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

The classic approach to Enterprise Agile Transformation
  • What it can do - what it can't do (why it's flawed)
  • The cruel nature of the first steps and getting unstuck
  • So why all the dis-information?
How people (and organizations) think and act
An Agile approach to Enterprise Agile Transformation
  • Principle #1 - Use the retrospective pattern
  • Principle #2 - A litmus test for true executive sponsorship
  • Principle #3 - Starting you transformation in the right place, and the next place, and the next....
  • Principle #4 - Distributed teams, multi-shore and Agile
  • Principle #5 - Beware the hybrid 'chatter'
Final Thoughts and Next Steps

Learning Outcome

A pragmatic and more effective approach that you can use in whole or in part (practices) to apply and custom fit to your own organization's Agile transformation that will move things along your Agile journey more quickly and painlessly.

Target Audience

Leaders and influencers taking part in an organizational Agile journey

Prerequisites for Attendees

  • Basic understanding of Agile and Lean is helpful, but not required
  • Understanding of organizations throughout the enterprise - or a desire to understand them better



schedule Submitted 2 years ago

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