Planning for Your Enterprise Agility Transformation

By Doug Rose

After analyzing your existing culture and developing a clear vision of what you want your organization to look like after the change to enterprise agility, you have points A and B — your point of departure and point of arrival. All you need now is a map (a plan) that connects the two points. Your plan may look something like this, which is based loosely on the six-step adoption plan for Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS):

  1. Choose or develop your own enterprise agile framework.

    Choose the framework that’s best suited to your organization’s existing culture. You generally want to choose the framework that you think your organization will transition to easiest.

  2. Develop an overall strategy for implementing the change.

    For example, many organizations start small, with a single product and two or three teams. After these teams have successfully adopted the new approach and are satisfied with the results, the change can be extended out to other products or product lines or to other teams.

  3. Establish a time frame for implementing the change.

    Keep in mind that large organizations tend to take a long time to adopt any new approach. Think in terms of months and years, not days and weeks.

  4. Create a consensus document for everyone who will be involved in implementing the change.

    Your consensus document must clearly describe the vision and provide all involved with a list of priorities they need to focus on when addressing their changes locally.

  5. Provide education and training to everyone in the organization who will be involved in and affected by the agile transformation.

    Your approach to education and training depends on your strategy for implementing the change. If you’re planning to roll out the change to the entire organization, everyone needs to receive agile education and training. If you’re starting with one product and only a few teams, focus on training those who will be involved from the start.

    Education and training are important in changing the way people in your organization think about the way they do their work. As they begin to understand and experience the benefits of enterprise agility, they will begin to share their experience with others in the organization, which will help drive the cultural change that delivers the greatest improvements.

  6. Build cross-functional teams.

    The team is the fundamental unit in agile. Teams must be cross-functional, meaning they have all the knowledge and skills required (design, development, analysis, testing, and so forth) to deliver a product end-to-end to the customer.

  7. Define “product.”

    Your product is anything of value delivered to the customer. Identify the value you deliver to the customer and use it to formulate your definition of “product.” Everyone must agree on what the product is before your organization can begin to work on delivering it more effectively to the customer.

  8. Define “done.”

    The definition of “done” (DoD) is a term from Scrum software development that refers to a set of criteria that must be met for a product to be considered satisfactorily completed. For example, a DoD may state that “done” means a feature has been tested and successfully integrated into a working version of the product. Without an agreed-upon DoD, teams may never be able to tell when a product is ready for delivery.

  9. Provide teams with the resources they need to complete their work.

    In agile, the role of organizational leadership shifts from manager to leader-servant. Leadership sets the mission and overall vision, provides the teams with the resources they need, and then steps out of the way, trusting the teams to deliver the highest quality product to the customer.

In Scrum, teams conduct two-part sprint planning meetings where they first figure out what needs to be done and then determine how they will get it done. Approach your agile transformation plan the same way. First, figure out what your organization needs to do (or be) and then how your organization will do it (or be it). The vision statement describes what your organization must do. Your plan describes how to do it.