Our Global Agile Transformation Journey – Part 3

Our Global Agile Transformation Journey – Part 3

If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.

Steve Jobs

In Part 2, I shared with you the personal journey I took to discover the changes I wanted to make to ensure we delivered a $20m portfolio of mandatory regulatory and market-driven projects, reduce the noise and inject some enjoyment back into the team.

Today I want to share with you how I got buy in to execute this change.

What Do I See?

Over the years of running change programmes and being an executive coach, I’ve learnt that an inspiring vision is pivotal for any change that you want to make.

It gives those involved –

  • A focus that is bigger than their day job.
  • Something exciting to talk about when asked – “what are you working on?”
  • A reason to keep going when things get tough as they always do.

I knew that if I was going to change this great team, then I needed to create an inspiring vision. A vision that had their buy-in.

Also, I know that a goal without an end date is just a dream, so I needed to set an end date.

I had to be realistic here. This was a large global team and it was not just a change of process; it was a change of mindset too.

So, I set out a timeline of two years.

Our Agile Transformation Vision

I set out the reasons for the change, i.e. where we are today –

  • The new world we live in requires constant business change.
  • Aggressive regulatory commitments with vague and evolving requirement sets.
  • Substantial technical debt with a high correlation of production problem tickets.
  • Lack of automated testing is resulting in more manual risk-based testing.
  • The team is burning out.
  • A high amount of inefficient context switching by all.
  • The team constantly shifts into the budget each year rather than staying constant and improving.
  • Slower time to market than our peers.
  • Low availability of component specialists is forcing software to be written in the wrong place.
  • Split development processes across the component teams.
  • Our competitors are adapting.

I then set out where we want to get to in two years –

  • Two-week delivery of value to the business.
  • Happy performing teams who want to spend time self-improving.
  • No continual context switching.
  • High visibility of work being done with a clear understanding of capacity and requirements.
  • Accept that change is constant.
  • 98% of automated testing and drive down technical debt.
  • No quality compromises and software pride.
  • Any team can deliver any requirement.
  • A team culture of teaching each other.
  • People on the technical track promotion paths.

I initially set the automated testing bar very high, and over time we discovered this was not achievable and adjusted. But the bar was still very high.


My Bosses

I set up a meeting with my boss and took one of the agile coaches Eben with me.

I explained to my boss what my vision was and why I was executing it.

Eben took my boss through agile, but I don’t think he got it as he viewed it as extreme RAD.

However, he was supportive of the vision.

When I ran my boss’s boss through the vision, I must have sounded very excited as he thought I had joined a cult. At the same time, though, he was very supportive of the change.

My Leadership Team

I took my leadership team through the vision, and we did a few deep-dive sessions with Eben on answering their questions and objections.

I asked the leadership team to attend the internal agile scrum training, and when they had, we regrouped.

They were nervous, excited and signed up for the challenging journey ahead.

Now the hard work really started.

What’s Next?

In Part 4, I will share with you how we kicked this off with the global teams.

Your Virtual Coach