Finding the benefits in Digital Transformation

I hear a lot of people talking about Agile/Digital Transformation quickly followed by complaints that it hasn’t delivered the benefits. We are Agile but nothing has changed?

The issue with Agile is that it has grown from the original concept in 2001 as a software development methodology, and the earlier work done at Xerox and other organisations, into a much wider management ethos. As such, there is a range of agility with lots of people wanting the benefits of the most agile but only willing to invest in the least agile.

On the least agile side of the range, you have organisations changing so their software teams have standups and they iterate. The issue with this is that you are still limited by the speed at which your developers can type. It doesn’t matter what methodology you use, you are limited. There is still an expectation that the team will develop to the requirements and will deliver on time and budget. We know the vast majority of projects with fixed scope, time and budget fail. Agile won’t fix that as it’s limited by the speed of typing, writing code, of the developer. Having said that, agile will always deliver a benefit, maybe better quality / fewer defects or maybe just better stakeholder engagement but there are always benefits to be had.

On the other side of the range, moving from agile and lean as software development methodologies to become Digital or developing products with agility, it becomes a culture, with one of the key elements being to not to give the team a fixed scope, which is a very difficult concept to grasp until you see it work, but it’s to empower the team to come up with a solution to a problem you have or to an outcome you need.

This means the organisations management needs to challenge the agile team to achieve outcomes allowing the team to come up with the best solution. In simple terms management needs to change from being directors to being leaders focusing on business problems and the outcomes the company requires while allowing the teams closer to the customers to focus on the solutions to meet the customers needs and the outcomes the company requires.

To achieve this Agile / Digital Transformation, while it may start with your Software Engineering or Product teams, it requires a company wide transformation, to change the DNA of an organisation and its culture, to break down department silo’s, to have a clear purpose and vision which the entire organisation is clear on and is aligned behind. One of the hardest parts of this is learning to say no, its to stop doing all of the things that won’t take you closer to you goals and objectives the things that all organisations do that are a distraction of focus, people and teams, time and money.

There are way too many benefits to an organisation in this way of working to list here but they include a more engaged team, a team owning the business outcome not just a project delivery, improved quality, better customer experience, happier and more engaged customers etc. I have seen these teams grow business easily by 30% and in specific parts of the business 10 x.

There are a lot of elements; new management techniques, mindsets and ways of working, to making an Agile/Digital Transformation work for your organisation but that will, I hope give you a flavour.

Ask Me Anything

I hope my posts become a useful source of answers to common questions people, teams and organisations have in the quest for Digitally Driven Revenue and Business Growth. If you have a question you would an answer to or a second opinion on please feel fee to email me at jim@bletchleygroup.com.

About The Author

Jim is the CEO of Bletchley Group, an International Digital Growth Consultancy focusing on Digital Strategy, Innovation and Transformation (Marketing, Product and Technology) and Founder and CEO of Tech Startup Machine, advising and mentoring Entrepreneurs to realise their dream.

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