Business agility, i.e. the transition to an agile organisation, is more than just introducing SCRUM or KANBAN in teams. It is about looking for the benefits expected from agility, such as a faster time-to-market, not only in individual teams, but to realise them across the entire organisation.

What has to be done?

Many companies today face competition that is faster than they are, better organised or better able to respond to customer requests. Many top managers want to realign their organisation in order to achieve the set goals, increase turnover and profit, improve employee satisfaction or better respond to market demands.

The idea is born to build one’s own organisation in an agile way. First agile teams are set up and you suddenly find yourself confronted with questions you hadn’t expected:

  • How do you manage an agile transformation?
  • What happens to the organisational structure and the existing hierarchy?
  • Who may do what?
  • How do you manage an organisation full of self-organised teams?
  • How do agile teams and classic teams play together?
  • Which organisational units need which form of agility? And do all teams need an agile form of cooperation?
  • How do you ensure good cooperation if teams are allowed and encouraged to develop independently?
  • What are the next steps of change?

Many want to introduce agility like a new computer program and see it mainly as a process or method that is simply adopted. You define a goal, nominate a team, make a plan, start implementing it and expect the finished agile organisation to be ready by a certain date. The focus is on ensuring that the new approach is applied correctly. Therefore, one often falls back on templates of existing agile organisations, which might not be helpful in one’s own situation. The actual purpose and the associated goals sometimes take a back seat.

In change situations, people need something to hold on to. Now it is even more important that the purpose of the change is clear to the people involved. Because in such a situation, where the old approach is often no longer desired and the new one does not yet really work, confusion, disappointment and frustration quickly arise.

Here, clear communication is needed as to what the change is needed for, how the state of change is currently, what who can contribute to it and what the next steps are. In order to have this always clearly in focus, good preparation of the transformation process and a very coordinated approach are needed.

At Coverdale we believe that agile transformation should take the form of a step-by-step introduction of change, always focusing on the purpose of the change and triggering the necessary steps in an order that is helpful and “digestible” for the organisation.

To do this, it is necessary to have a clear common picture for the purpose of the changeover, even though the final state may not yet be known. It requires a common understanding in the management team about the current state of development of the organisation. From the clear picture of the current situation and a description of the future demands on the organisation, a transformation plan can be developed which can be followed step by step in a very structured way.

In each of these steps, the focus should be on the respective stage of change, followed by a review of the effectiveness of the change. Based on the resulting findings, the next step is selected and tackled.

This iterative form of transformation has significant advantages over a classic project with a pre-defined target state and fixed plan.

  • Often the target picture is not yet clear at the beginning of the transformation. In a cyclical approach, the final target state may mature as the learned is continuously incorporated.
  • You can start quickly with the first steps.
  • Many small steps are much easier to take than a few big ones.
  • The next step is to do what appears to be the most effective on the basis of current knowledge.
  • The organisation learns during the change, the experience flows into the change process.
  • Constant monitoring of success through the cyclical process allows rapid correction.
  • Possible adjustments to the big picture can, according to their priority, be immediately incorporated into the transformation.
  • The major levers of change remain transparent for the management team and all those involved.

We will be happy to show you in a personal meeting how this approach can be of concrete use to your organisation.

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