metamorphosis (noun) a change of the form or nature of a thing or a person into a completely different one (Oxford)
I believe organisations are living, not made of brick and mortar, they are made of people. And hence, organisational transformation is a natural, organic process that all living creatures go through.

The Transformation Playbook approach to Leading Enterprise Agile Transformation

I was recently invited to speak at Agile India 2017 at Bengaluru on the topic of Leading Enterprise Agile Transformation and I felt it would be suitable to share my work on Medium for the broader community. Below is the content which was part of the 45-minute workshop with the templates for the Transformation Playbook attached via Slide Share for downloads and usage by you all. I share my thoughts in the post-workshop chat available on YouTube and look forward to constructive feedback.

Search for the Secret Sauce

In the digitally disruptive world of today traditional business models are being rapidly made redundant and new ones are taking market share leading with never-before-seen customer experiences through innovative products and services. Agile, a term with origins in software development is therefore fast moving to be a core competency for organisations to implement future-proof strategies. It is no surprise therefore, that the number of organisations embarking on their transformations is growing year-on-year with change agents challenged with ‘what is the secret sauce for success?’

Reframing Agile from “Doing” to “Being”

For me, Agile is not just about tools, processes, methodologies and frameworks. It is, and always has been, about creating an environment where people are empowered to improve their quality of lives — to the point, creating great places of work where people enjoy and love what they do! It is more about culture and mindset than the items listed before, which I feel are all enablers on how to get there. Looking at the conversations happening on social media and in the interactions I have with individuals, I feel that somehow this essence is lost and the industry suffers from the Dunning–Kruger effect, no standardisation of knowledge (experience and certification) to name a few key ones. This has resulted in a marketplace where with the focus on the enablers ‘how’ — Scrum vs. SAFe, the Spotify Model, etc. and not on the ‘why’. So, how do you go from ‘doing Agile’ to ‘being Agile’?

We need to create new ideas and change of our way of thinking before we can change of ways of working.

Conventional Management Thinking

For the last decade or two, the focus of this ‘Agile’ movement has been very much in the software, product development space. When the change agents finally realised that they would not be effective much without engaging the leadership and involving those who are operating in a more ‘traditional’ way of working, the focus has, in the recent past, shifted dramatically to topics like ‘Agile Leadership’. Given that the Agile Manifesto has ‘Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools’, one would imagine the exact opposite to be the approach which would have been taken.

To further exacerbate this situation, conventional management literature provides frameworks and behavioural sciences in conventional times, which are not applicable in today’s disruptive times. It is therefore, a dire need to address this gap and provide an approach that is grounded in human behaviour than processes and tools.

I introduce, the Transformation Playbook as a set of competencies and practices that I have applied to not only start rapid transformation but also build long-term scalable and sustainable capability for organisations, from start-ups to multi-national conglomerates. By applying the 5 templates in this playbook, you identify the key drivers that will “sell” Agile internally, create a tailor-made approach that works for you and your organisation, design what your enterprise Agile transformation model would look like, define creative and relevant metrics (e.g. fun, happiness) and built a culture of continuous learning into the DNA.

The Transformation Playbook

· Key Drivers to identify why ‘Agile’ is important to you and the organisation. What does it really mean? How do you build desire to change? This template presents a set of keywords and principles to guide the strategy and provide direction for your transformation to grow as a strategy.

· Design Tailor-made Approach to build on the ‘why’ and identify the ‘who’ and the ‘what’ based on your level of influence and therefore, transformation within your organisation. Which of the 4 levels of transformation are you operating at? It is organisation, portfolio, project or product?

· Your Enterprise Agile Transformation Model is unique, as is, your organisation and your business problem and is made up of your key drivers, capabilities, influencers and approach. Identify the capability areas to build on and the team that you need to build to achieve them.

· Business Benefits requires rethinking as traditional management requires defining external, observed measures. This approach frees you to ‘think different’ and define new ways for business benefits for you and your organisation — for example, are teams happier and having fun? If yes/ no then why?

· Continuous Improvement is a way of learning in life. Is Agile improving your quality of life at work? If not, what do you need to do differently? Which of the enablers listed need to be reapplied? Is it process, tools, frameworks or methodologies? How do you make continuous change part of your culture?

Conclusion

Your Agile journey is yours, and hence unique to everyone else’s. Then why should you use the same cookie-cutter approach that is being applied elsewhere? Pick up the Transformation Playbook, use this to lead workshops within your organisation, create your own future world — and most importantly, have fun. Always remember, this is a journey and the transformation emerges only as you engage with it.