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Apr 11, 2022

Why is an Agile transformation so demanding?

Agile transformation is an organizational transformation that affects all the people in a company: leaders, managers and employees. It is a bottom-up and top-down transformation that requires a strong focus on the overall mindset of an organization and one of the critical aspects: the elimination of fear-based norms.

Getting started with an Agile transformation

In the corporate culture, developed during the years of mass manufacturing and lasting for a significant number of years, it has often been thought that managers have no right to make mistakes and have no excuse for not having answers. Employees are expected to arrive with the right skill set for the job starting from their first day at work. In such, an environment has been created with the mentality of, "If you can't do it, don't do it". In this environment, everyone hides their fears and insecurities by pointing the finger at others when they don't have the ability to live up to expectations -- which are often unattainable -- without having a discussion around it.

Agile transformation is not an adoption of rituals, roles, or buzzwords within an organization. It is a real, overall change in the culture of an organization to move towards psychological safety first, and then towards the adoption of a new operating model.

Since 2001, the year the Agile Manifesto was created, thousands of organizations have been able to testify for the fact that Agile transformation has enabled them to improve product quality, accelerate growth, and reduce time to market. Yet, on the other hand, almost half of all Agile transformations end in failure.

So, if you are not yet reaping the benefits of Agile adoption in your organization, you certainly need to find your sticking point before you completely abandon the idea of an Agile transformation.

Agile transformation is not an adoption of rituals, roles, or buzzwords within an organization.

The Agile manifesto's importance

I strongly believe that the most optimal point of the Agile Manifesto is this: "People and their interactions more than processes and tools." It is of utmost importance, and it should be the first point on which to focus. Agile teams need, above all, psychological safety and the cultural development towards acceptance of vulnerability. This also applies to all individuals in a corporate sense, regardless of their role in the hierarchy.

The atmosphere of psychological safety stimulates creativity and productivity within teams. On the contrary, if the culture of feedback, exploring "unconventional" ideas, and standing out is also one that’s full of judgment, people in our companies will stop taking the risk of bringing these elements that are essential to the success of Agility.

What can we put in place to ensure the success of Agile transformation?

First and foremost, we need to find a balance between several components:

  • The mindset: the culture of the company as a whole and at all levels of the hierarchy! Alongside this comes an indispensable element - the destruction of the culture of guilt and fear.
  • The framework: defining the heartbeat of the organization in charge of developing a product/service.
  • Business Agility: the development of the skills necessary for the adaptability and speed of the business response.
Written by Gladwell Academy, but most of our content is created by trainers and partnering experts!