Wholesome digital transformation is a result of several changes across multiple levels of an organization. Similarly, restructuring customer experience is a holistic process that calls for the adoption of flexible and sustainable software. In order to respond to all these rapid changes, an organization must naturally attune to dynamic, agile environments.
Agile methodology is gathering momentum at many large organizations, turning into the new normal.
In order to deploy agile across every level in an organization, also knowing as scaling Agile to the enterprise level, the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe™) seeks to combine Agile approaches with more enterprise-centric organizational practices. Coined by Dean Leffingwell, SAFe® is a guide to scaling Agile practices across the enterprise, including team and project level expansion. It is a proven framework based on Lean, Systems Thinking and Agile Development principles, and is increasingly gaining greater popularity and acceptance throughout medium and large corporations. Let us look at some of the sustainable ways of launching agile across every level of an enterprise.
Organizational structure reorientation
For launching agile at scale, a company has to move from an organizational structure that has an application-oriented approach to a product-based one. This necessitates the need to adopt an end-to-end perspective with specialized teams focusing on designated business results.
Overhaul of business models
Value creation is significant because shared processes and practices across an organization enable responding to dynamic market changes. Through the process of harnessing an entire organization to focus effectively on a few specific priorities, the organization is well poised to create and deliver value effectively. Therefore, moving away from traditional business models that emphasize hierarchy, to small, non-bureaucratic self-organizing teams, is key to creating value in the world of digital.
From going agile to being digitally transformed
At the core of agile is the flexibility it brings with it. Traditional business models are too rigid and offer little or no room to accommodate dynamic changes. The agile process, however, accepts change, so much that it anticipates it. If the team discovers that a different solution provides better results for their specific challenges, then they have the flexibility to test and switch.
Agile is of the view that technology does not work independently as a solution, and this could not be truer for digital transformation. A new initiative is possible only once a team has outlined the business challenges, objectives and practical use cases right at the outset. The agile methodology follows an inquiry based approach that is well aligned and responsive to a business’s needs.
- Transparency and continuous improvement
Agile teams are constantly on the road to learning, collaborating and adjusting throughout regular iterations, reviewing what is working well and what can be improved. This enables shared learning, which can be applied across several departments and at several stages of a given project. In effect, with regular collaboration, communication and updates between multiple agile teams comes higher visibility across the business. Agile ensures every team member is up to speed with how a project is going.
Look who’s gone Agile!
OpenView Venture Partners, a firm that has invested in about 30 companies, took the agile route for its product development. Having learned about agile from some of the companies in its portfolio, Scott Maxwell, the firm’s founder, began incorporating its methodologies within the firm. As a result, he discovered that they fit some activities more easily than others. Agile worked well for areas such as strategic planning and marketing, for instance, where complex problems could be broken down into discrete modules and solved by creative multidisciplinary teams.
In 2015, Barclays took to embracing Agile as a significant strategic initiative by driving several of its teams to become champions of an Agile transformation. Currently, it boasts of nearly 800 teams that are part of an organization-wide Agile transformation that is aimed at enabling Barclays to deliver instant, friction-less, intimate value at scale.
It is no secret that more and more large companies, old and new, such as John Deere, Discount Tire, Spotify, and Salesforce.com among others, have managed to adopt SAFe, or custom their approaches to shorten their product development lead times, and frequently deliver working software to customers.