Beginning an Agile Transformation

Photo by Jamie Ginsberg on Unsplash

In last month’s newsletter, When is an Agile Transformation the Right Choice?, I discussed what I believe to be the three biggest deterrents to a successful agile transformation. If you have not read this article, I would encourage you to do so. In my opinion, these deterrents must be dealt with and corrected before a successful agile transformation can begin.

In this article, I will introduce several techniques in the Systems Entry Process that I utilize when beginning an agile transformation.

While every agile transformation I have worked on has been different, I always begin the process by asking those involved the following questions:

  • Who wants the agile transformation?
  • What problem are they trying to solve and why?
  • What have they tried previously? What happened? What was learned from this?
  • Why an agile transformation?

These questions are based on the Systems Entry Process, which is derived from Organizational Development (OD).

Figure 1 - Organizational Development Process

I will be taking a deeper dive into the Organizational Development Process in coming articles. Today, however, we will home in on the Systems Entry Process.

So, the questions have been asked and hopefully answered. We now know the who, the what, and the why of the situation. Now it is time to dig deeper and discover as much as we can about the various individuals involved in the transformation. This is where experience in creating Personas comes into play.  Following is an example of the various types of information you may want to collect on each of the key stakeholders and the leadership team members that are involved in the transformation:

  • Name, position, a photo is helpful so you can remember them on sight
  • Demographics: job title or role, time in position, education, likes/dislikes about the job, hobbies, etc.
  • Behaviors: such as, is loyal only to a specific organization, does not like wasting time listening to excuses or long-winded conversations, etc.
  • Stress points: such as, is under extreme pressure to deliver faster and better, a 15% employee turn-over rate (many of whom are the most experienced)

The next step that I take is to evaluate individual leadership styles in relationship to their Creative and Reactive styles. I do this by requesting that they take the Leadership Circle Profile (LCP) survey. This report has two layers of analysis:

  • Leadership Competencies
  • Internal Assumptions

The Leadership Circle Profile measures eighteen Leadership Competencies.  The second layer of analysis measures internal assumptions. How we think, especially our habit of thought, determines a great deal of our behavior.

Figure 2 - Leadership Circle Profile (LCP)

I also request that all teams in the organizations involved in the transformation take the Collective Leadership Assessment. I use this information to create break-out reports on every sub-group from the organizations to the teams.

The Collective Leadership Assessment will:

  • Establish a compelling rationale for change
  • Focus leadership development efforts
  • Delineate cultural challenges associated with acquisitions, mergers, and restructuring plans
  • Correlate leadership to productivity, profits, turnover, and other bottom-line metrics

Figure 3 - Collective Leadership Assessment

For more information about the Leadership Circle Profile (LCP) and the Collective Leadership Assessment see https://leadershipcircle.com/en/products/leadership-circle-profile/

Keep in mind that only certified Leadership Circle Profile (LCP) coaches are authorized to administer and debrief these surveys. I am certified as an LCP coach and can provide you with additional information upon request.

Finally, I analyze the organizational structure to ascertain how the entire system that is undergoing the transformation is structured. In this step, I acquire the most recently updated organization chart. I then verify that this chart does in fact authentically reflect the “true” organizational structure.  We will discuss how the organization chart will be used in our initial transformation assessment in future articles.

We have completed the first two steps outlined in the Organizational Development Process shown in Figure 1. In my next article we will discuss the Organization Assessment (Readiness) and the Feedback meeting.

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or comments.

Stay healthy and safe.

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