Six lessons about Agile adoption: work smarter, not harder

Rick Weaver

Rick Weaver, Program Director, IBM Rational Software Services

Guest Blogger: Rick Weaver – Program Director, IBM Rational Software Services

Before undertaking your own Agile journey, it’s important to learn from those that have been there before and shown how it applies to business. I’m sure we all have some great examples and case studies of businesses doing this best but, ahead of next week’s conference, I wanted to share six key points I’ve learned along the Agile journey to get us all thinking about how this technology can best be integrated for business success. It’s about working smarter, not harder.

1. Start with a Measured Improvement (MI) Assessment and define your objectives
It’s never smart to drive without knowing where you’re going, and the same applies for understanding your end business objectives. Before undertaking any technological transformation, ask yourself a few questions: What are your current business challenges? What is your ideal outcome? And how can you measure your business transformation to ensure your Agile adoption is on track?

2. Analyse your portfolio to evaluate change
As Dr David Posen said, “Being selective is self-protective”. Rather than attempting to transform your entire organisation to become more Agile at once, you need to be selective and start on a small scale. As the diagram below suggests, be selective on those areas where Agile will have the greatest impact:

3. Focus on the end goal
Identify the end goal first and allow the desired outcomes to guide your path to change. Without ongoing measurement against business objectives, you may run the risk of making isolated choices and being forced to retrofit processes.

4. Stay agile while transforming to Agile
Change is not a linear path, and you cannot pre-determine every outcome. For this reason, you need to be agile in your approach and how you measure your transformation to agility.

5. Persistence is key for culture change
Regardless of the size of your organisation, change on any scale leads to uncertainty. In the same regard, change will not happen automatically – you need to drive the process in the direction you desire to achieve your business objectives.

6. Build a parallel walk process for all changes
Change takes time and requires added resource, but continuing ‘business as usual’ is imperative. To ensure this even balance between day-to-day work and the change process, it might be useful to adopt a ‘crawl – walk – run’ model:

What lessons have you learned from your own activities? We’d love to hear from you over on our Twitter account or please do introduce yourself at the conference to discuss further.


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