When entering an Agile transformation, a bit of context driven planning can help!

By Duncan Troup on Tuesday, June 13th, 2017 in Lean and Agile, Transformation, Workforce Planning.

Here is a story for would be enterprise Agile adopters to reflect on. I was called by a prospective client (happily now a key client) to see if i would do some Agile training. They had heard of Tingle Tree’s successes at ANU with their change to a continuous delivery model and wanted to pursue the same path. BUT….here is the odd part for a vendor! I suggested they look elsewhere! My reasoning being that you cannot “train” your way out of a clunky delivery model – especially if they are going through some significant organisational change and redundancy. There are many many contextual factors to consider to make the transformation a success.

So what happened next? Well,  i was honest in telling them that i believed that training was not step 1 and that they should think more deeply about the operating model. Just because a training provider said it would work and had in the past did not mean it would work for them. I felt strongly about this  because this was a first Agile implementation in the unit and it was at scale (4 Scrums). In short i walked away as i did not see the lead indicators of success in their approach – even though i could have won the business.

Thankfully for them (and me!) they called a few weeks later after reflecting on my counsel and invited Tingle Tree to help design a scaled Agile model. So Tingle Tree set about understanding their context, designing the model, defining the rituals, defining the demand management model, suggesting the best type of training and a wrapping this in a transition plan.

A year on when i visited the energy of the new model is everywhere. This is a team that in the course of 12 months lost 25% of the staff through redundancy, merged two teams together from those who successfully reapplied, set up the model and then marched on. I don’t think they would have succeeded if all they did was send them on training and hope that it worked out in the end.

So if you are about set out on this journey and there are spiders everywhere, have faith and make a move….but think hard about the context and beware of decision bias from previous projects.

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