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When you do transformation programs, most of you will hear these statement

  • “we were delivering projects before, we will continue to deliver projects … how much difference a mere ‘way of work’ can bring?”
  • “All this agile and stuff is just a new name for the same old thing. It wont solve my problems“
  • “I am doing all this Agile Transformation and stuff because my customer expects me to use the word – Agile”
  • “I don’t believe in all this Agile Transformation and Stuff, however, if I don’t use these words and jargons, I will be left behind – And I need the god-damn promotion”

Many of us have come across this resistance when people don’t perceive any real value to them by going agile. They believe 

I have had some of my most notable successes, when I shifted the focus away from agile structure ( the events, artefacts and rules) to agile values and principles. I ask the stake holders a simple question 

“List some of your pain points in current way of project execution” 

Almost everyone has a long list of items that they claim are painful. I then move along further – In an ideal world – how these painful items would change? After I manage to do chip at the usual reluctance, we get to the meat – people start listing out things that they believe will help. Now we are in business. We then identify items that will bring most value to the organizations. These then become the value objectives for the transformations.

Some points to keep in mind are

  • Make sure that the items you identify, are adding real business value to stakeholders. Its easy to have items that describe the behaviour and not the result. We all are used to tracking progress based on activities completed not results achieved. For example “code review done” is a behaviour – the value can be “zero defect production release”.
  • Items on the Improvement Backlog should be quantified and you agree on measurable acceptance criteria before the item is taken up for execution. “10% improvement in time to market” is a better objective than “reduction in delays”
  • When the Skeptical stakeholders see that their real problems are getting addressed, and more importantly they are able to project the results to their bosses, they feel happy in trying out the next set of items.
  • It is important to keep the interest of the stakeholders, otherwise they lose interest quickly. Short sprints that show at least some measurable results is the best way to keep their interest alive and kicking.