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A lot of organizations now a days have a plan to move to agile. For which they hire “consultants” , do a “analysis” and come up with a detailed, prescriptive plan that they intend to track meticulously to completion. This in itself is “waterfall” way of work.…

In my experience as Scrum Master as well as an Agile coach, a plan dictated approach usually does not work for to transform an organization to agile ways of working. This in no way means that agile transformation does not need planning, indeed it does but the plan needs to be flexible and driven by value delivered. In short, its best to drive an agile transformation in an agile manner.

Key aspects to drive the agile transformation in this way are

  1. Have the transformation driven by business value – Many organizations are starting the transformations, just to get on “agile ” wave. They have no idea why they want to be agile or what they will gain from being agile. It is important to have a clear idea about what business objectives will be achieved by being agile. With out clear business objective – transformations will fail.
  2. Plan Short “Time-boxes” – Often the transition to Agile are like plans which are detailed, prescriptive and long term. Many time they do not give a tangible value that gets delivered sooner rather than later . This in itself contradicts the agile principle of ” Early and Continuous Delivery  ” I have found it very helpful to divide the ultimate transformation goal in smaller , more immediately achievable sprint goals that can be demonstrated to stakeholders. This also helps to build consensus and create a positive vibe about the whole initiative
  3. Get together an Agile Team – Like any other project, transforming to Agile way of working in an organizational is a complex and challenging work. It needs all the 3 important roles of a scrum team. A experienced scrum master . A product owner – who can articulate the value and represent it in the backlog. Lastly, we need a development team that actually implements the backlog items.
  4. Build a tentative Product Backlog – While its easily said to have short sprints with sprint goals that are achievable and can be demonstrated, its another story to actually identify those goals. It is important to build a prioritized and refined backlog to achieve the business value that is desired. This product backlog refinement is ongoing activity and usually a good scrum master with facilitation skills will be able to achieve this goal .

Some of the following blog posts may help with further understanding of this topic