Imagine that your enterprise business is well… ‘The Enterprise’. Yes, that’s right the USS Starship Enterprise — as in ‘Beam me up, Scotty’. And like the Enterprise that we so fondly recall from years gone by, your enterprise is on a journey that will determine if it goes into warp speed or goes down in flames.
The story so far
This journey, the agile adoption journey, is one fraught with danger, dead-ends, pushbacks and internal resistance. But if planned and executed correctly, it is a journey that will enable your enterprise to use its warp engines and propel itself into the future; to transform itself into a fast, highly adaptable, delivery-oriented machine… or starship. Whatever you prefer.
Ship’s log, Stardate 2019. Agile, the final frontier. This is the agile adoption journey. Agile’s never-ending mission: to explore new processes that get things done better. To seek out new ways of delighting customers. And new business opportunities. To boldly go where no enterprise has gone before.
Agile: Join, or be left behind!
The modern enterprise is in a curious predicament. On the one hand their size, global reach, entrenched processes, and legacy products dictate a slow and steady approach to doing business. They’ve usually been around for quite a while and know how things are done in their neck of the woods. Like they say – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
When new technology comes around, enterprises aren’t always eager to change course, or adapt, to the reality around them.
On the other hand, enterprises require growth, flexibility and an ability to quickly adapt to fast-changing technologies and markets needs to survive. Examples of enterprises that have disappeared seemingly overnight because they were unable to adapt are everywhere. Don’t believe me? Just ask Blackberry and Myspace.
How to make your enterprise more agile
Most enterprises, even the biggest ones, want to reap the benefits of agile yet are uneasy about scaling across the entire business. The need for transparency and insight into operations is clear to all. However, making the transition to agile is not easy for most enterprises. Here’s a few ways to help ease the transition:
1. Be Patient: Rome wasn’t built in a day
It will take time and buy in to scale agile across your enterprise. That’s why it’s best to start with just a couple of teams at most. Get yourself an agile coach and start building a framework and educating your workforce to make sure that your agile pilot is successful. Once you’ve got your first team on board, you’ll feel comfortable and can start adapting the framework to suit the way each one of your individual team’s work.
“Change is the essential process of all existence.” — Spock
- Motivate: Connect projects to the bigger picture
Individuals, and teams collaborating on projects, should understand how their work impacts the organization as a whole. To do this, projects should always be directly connected to an organization’s strategy and goals. For example, if the company is planning on expanding into a new geographical market to increase its market share, the team should understand how their work accelerates this move. Everyone wants to feel like their work matters, especially agile teams.
“Improve a mechanical device and you may double productivity. But improve man, you gain a thousandfold.” — Khan Noonien Singh
- Focus on improving communication: Tear down silos
Agile teams, especially in the enterprise, are often seen as rouge teams working outside the guidelines of the company. This, however, is a fallacy. Large-scale development environments require cohesive deliveries that are able to work in a shared architecture. The only way to achieve this is by focusing on building a culture of knowledge-sharing, collaboration and communication. There is no room for silos in an agile organization.
“The prejudices people feel about each other disappear when they get to know each other.” — Captain Kirk
Hybrid: Balancing agile with traditional approaches
The best approach to scaling agile in an enterprise is to go slowly but surely. An enterprise should first ‘test the water’ of agile, before jumping in headfirst.
Start small — just one or two departments — bite sized bits. Don’t make the transition in one fell swoop. Go team by team, go hybrid. Take a quick look at what worked and what didn’t and learn. Then do it again with another team, another department. Then iterate. And iterate. Until all of your teams are agile.
But that just covers your teams. A hybrid agile enterprise offers a framework that gives teams the freedom to work without forcing management to take risks like restructuring the entire organization.
Clarizen Go offers a simple task management solution that helps enterprises ease into agile. Highly personalizable workflows give teams the freedom to work the way they want, while seamless integration with Clarizen One represents the ultimate framework for hybrid agile approaches.
Stay tuned for our next blog post which will present best practices on just this subject.