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Agile Transformations: One size DOESN’T fit most

Let’s face it, when most people hear the words, agile transformation they think of a large scale, multi-year disruptive exercise that encompasses organizational re-definition, new ways of working, team formation, outsourcing and a myriad of other items. The reality is that an agile transformation is not a one-size-fits-most solution and can encompass a wide range of initiatives, from organizational restructuring and team formation to new ways of working and outsourcing. 


Contrary to popular belief, an agile transformation doesn’t have to be a massive, disruptive undertaking. In fact, I believe that any effort, regardless of its size, that empowers your team to work in a more agile manner is worth pursuing. The key is to approach the transformation with a tailored approach; taking into consideration your organization’s current state, capacity for change, and clearly defined objectives for success. By focusing on achievable goals, you can ensure that your organization’s agile transformation is both manageable and impactful. 


 At the heart of any agile transformation, regardless of its scope, lies the critical support of leadership. While grassroots efforts can certainly achieve success, a unified message and commitment from the top sets the tone for the entire organization. To ensure a successful transformation, it is essential to establish governance and a defined way of working, while remaining open to adjusting these as you gain a deeper understanding of your company’s culture. With these foundational elements in place, you can then develop charters and set clear, measurable objectives and key results (OKRs) to guide your progress towards success. And most importantly, START THE WORK! Don’t get bogged down in planning, act and stay focused on delivering results. 


Let me paint a picture for you. Our client was eager to embrace an agile approach but struggled in previous attempts to make it stick. We began by fortifying executive support and clearly defining the desired outcomes and measures of success. Recognizing that this culture was not equipped for rapid change, we took Listened to the organization as we moved forward. We implemented loose governance structures, introduced new roles focused on agile practices and selected small, low-dependency projects as the starting point. We brought in an agile leader and an experienced coach to shepherd the process. 

As a result of our engagement, we were able to deliver all our objectives, train a significant portion of the organization, refine governance structures, customize agile ways of working, and set the foundation for future success. This client is now incorporating agile in their project management office as a viable delivery option, experimenting with a user experience loop, and preparing to scale up the number of agile teams. 


As you progress on your agile journey, it’s crucial to continuously learn, adapt, and evolve. By regularly assessing your ways of working, you can identify those that are no longer serving you well and discard them while exploring new opportunities to scale, improve efficiency, and deliver even greater value to your customers. Embracing a culture of experimentation and iterative improvement is essential to achieving true agility and realizing the full potential of your organization.