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8 crucial questions for enterprise scale agility

Choong Sin Fatt, Senior Solution Architect, CA Technologies | Feb. 17, 2016
Software development teams have used Agile to deliver software that customers want, quickly and efficiently, for years. Choong Sin Fatt from CA Technologies shares eight key questions on enterprise scale agility.

4. What are some basic agile principles that need to be in place before transitioning?

People commonly misperceive agile principles as practices, when in fact they constitute a mindset. This means you don't need to have mastered Scrum and Kanban to start a transition to agile (you'll practice as you go), but you need to be open to an agile mindset. You need to be prepared to question the efficacy of your standard operating procedures. You need a clear, urgent vision and a customer-centric focus. You need infrastructure that supports high
degrees of communication and visibility across the company. You need to empower your people with trust and training so they can collaborate and make good decisions close to the work. And you need a willingness to inspect, adapt, and improve as you go.

We typically suggest that you train leadership on enterprise scale agile organisational structure and processes, along with the ten core lean thinking principles.

5. Is the transformation ever finished?

A transformation is never finished in the sense that there's always room to improve and be better: the minute you're complacent is the minute your competitors begin to close the gap. That said, each iteration of the transformation is finished. You bite off small chunks, implement a step towards the desired change, finish, and evaluate it -- then look at the results so you can determine the next right step to implement.

The goals of enterprise scale agile aren't just predictability, performance improvements, quality improvements, and increasing customer happiness -- you also need to strive to continuously improve.

6. What are the major roadblocks in the way of scaling agile to the enterprise?

If you're leading the organisation, then unfortunately the roadblock typically is you. Agility requires a willingness to adapt at enterprise scale, and it takes courage to re-architect a whole business system for speed, steering, and opportunity capture. Most top-down, waterfall-planning-centric organisations were not designed for this.

7. Why does agile fail in large enterprises, and what can be done about it?

Organisational change initiatives often fail because they lack visibility, disciplined actions, empowered employees, and a culture of continuous improvement. And anything done at scale is more challenging. Our customers have often told us that the cultural changes are the hardest. Treating your agile transformation itself as an agile project can solve for these problems and help pave a road to success.

You can ensure better odds of success for your agile adoption by committing to a few key actions: setting a clear, inspirational, customer-driven vision for change; creating a transformation team to provide leadership and accountability; communicating frequent and consistent leadership support; take small steps, and expect to learn as you go; and inspect and adapt after each step, adjusting the plan to make sure you're steering towards the long-term vision that was set.


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