Izi Peled, PMP, SPC4

Many organizations adopt agile as a potential solution for their challenges. This article is discussing the difference between doing Agile and being Agile and the recommended measures that should be carried out before the beginning of the Agile journey. Management change is the key factor for this transformation.

Organization dealing with challenges and look for potential solutions for these challenges. These challenges may be:

  • Delays in delivery – TTM
  • Bad Quality
  • Responding to stakeholders changes
  • Lack of flexibility
  • Huge effort during planning phase

Some of the organizations adopt Agile as a potential solution for these challenges. In recent years, many organizations define themselves as an “Agile Organization”. Organization that haven’t gone Agile, want to become an “Agile Organization”. However, not all organizations understand what the Agile mindset is. Consequently, the question is: What is an “Agile Organization”?

Agile organization is one that has adopted the “Agile Mindset”. The Agile Mindset is based on 4 values and described by 12 principles that were articulated in the Agile Manifesto.

Having said that, it is clear that the target is not to do Agile (e.g. implement processes & tools). The target is to be Agile which means defining a new organizational culture that is based on the Agile values and principles. Agile mindset not only has the ability to change how we work, it has the ability to change how we think. We need to adopt the Agile mindset because:

  • It is a people centric way to create innovative solutions
  • A product centric alternative to documents and process
  • A market centric model to maximize business value

Organizations can start adopting Agile only after they figure out the Why. If you don’t know:

  • Why you want to adopt Agile mindset or,
  • What the problem you’re trying to solve

Then, Agile is not going to help.

Agile transition is about change. Yet, many organizations are resistant to change. In many cases they are optimized to avoid changing the status quo. Consequently, dealing with resistance has to be managed as part of the Agile transition. Furthermore, the essence of Agile implementation is cultural change which can be successful only if top management is totally engaged to the process. Subsequently, the organization will have to manage the change, which means applying Change Management processes. The management should understand what the change is and believe in it before they “sell” it to the organization. It is a “top down” process. Hence, in order to make a difference the organization should start with Management Change.

For that, top management should start with;

  1. Understanding and adopting the Agile mindset
  2. Becoming a “Role Model” for the organization
  3. Transforming to “Servant Leadership” model

Only after top management reaches the right maturity level can the organization start its Agile journey. Every organization has its own journey to go through. The path to “Agile Organization” is paved with implementation processes, training & coaching.