The Agile framework aims to streamline the operational flow of an enterprise to improve productivity and efficiency. To transform their business into an Agile enterprise, most organisational leaders hire Agile coaches and have their employees get SAFe Agile Certifications.
Like with most changes, however, Agile transformation doesn’t come without its challenges. To successfully make change in the work environment, you will need time, resources and a lot of effort.
To help you fully incorporate Agile into your organisation, we’re going to take a look at four challenges that you’ll face in Agile transformation. Hopefully, by the end of this blog, you’ll have a better understanding on how to overcome these obstacles.
What is Agile?
Agile is a set of practices and principles that helps professional teams become more efficient.
An Agile framework improves the operational workflow of a business by replacing the traditional waterfall method of development. In the waterfall method, the development team must plan out everything involved in the final product. Once the planning is complete, only then can the team start development.
The issue with this is that the planning stages can take several months or even years to complete. By the time the development starts, the consumer market will likely have changed. There could be shifts in consumer behaviour, available technology or market demand.
In contrast, in an Agile framework, the team is expected to do a minimal amount of planning to begin with. The team needs just enough planning to get the first few features of the product developed. Once the first iteration is complete, it is typically shipped to the consumers as a beta version.
This whole process is called a sprint and it is repeated until the product is completely finished. The advantage of this approach is that the development team can adapt to any market changes in between sprints.
Challenges with Agile transformation
1. Aligning leaders
A common mistake that enterprises make is not aligning their leaders on the value of Agile transformation. The idea of sprints and minimal planning can be disorienting for those who have worked in a traditional manner for many years. As a result, the enterprise needs to make sure that its leaders fully understand the value and methodologies of the Agile approach.
If your organisation’s leaders aren’t on the same page in this regard, different teams are going to be operating based on different methodologies. This creates two problems. First, it makes interdepartmental collaboration more complicated. Indeed, if two departments have drastically different ways of working, it’s only going to cause disruptions in the workflow.
Secondly, such inconsistencies will only require more overhead management across departments, adding more tasks for the enterprise’s leadership.
Because of this, it’s important to communicate with the team leaders. Let them know how the Agile approach can be beneficial to the enterprise. You may have to have a successful pilot (a test run of Agile practices) before you can get everyone on the same page.
2. Establishing Agile mindset as a culture
Agile is not a methodology that only development teams need to incorporate. It is a mindset that needs to exist in the leaders as well as the product builders. For an Agile transformation to be successful, there has to be a cultural change across the entire organisation. An enterprise will need to change the way it sees product development and change the way it distributes control and power.
For example, let’s say there’s a company that incorporated the Agile framework exclusively for its development team. This means that there are executives and leaders in that organisation that are still operating within the confines of the traditional waterfall model. Because of this, they’ll continue to ask for complete plans for the final product, hold redundant meetings and prevent product owners from creating their own backlogs and timeframes.
For the Agile mindset to work properly, everyone in the enterprise must be fully involved in the transformation. Executives and leaders will need to learn when to give control to the product owner and learn how to trust the Agile approach.
Scrum masters are particularly helpful when it comes to such matters. They can help an organisation adhere to the Agile framework and can address any concerns relating to the process.
3. Providing the right developmental tools
When taking on something new, it helps to have access to a variety of learning resources. Luckily, SAFe Agile Certification providers offer a variety of tools that can help an enterprise develop an Agile working culture.
After a trainee completes a SAFe certification, they are provided with a content kit that includes all the Agile knowledge that they’ve learned. They can use this content to revise or brush up on certain parts of the Agile framework. It’s important to note that the SAFe content kit is more than just a PDF file with some static information in it. If there’s a major shift in the market, the content kit will get updated and reflect the latest trends.
When you get your certification, SAFe will also allow you to get involved in the SAFe closed community on LinkedIn. In this community, you can connect with other SAFe certified workers and further your knowledge about the Agile framework.
4. Rushing the process
If a work environment has been using a particular method for decades, it’s going to take a while to break that down. Because of this, an enterprise needs to be given enough time to fully implement the Agile framework. It’s important not to rush the process as doing so could lead to teams becoming overwhelmed. Also, they’ll likely won’t be able to fully grasp the Agile approach in a short period of time anyway.
If you want to pace the transformation properly, we recommend getting Agile coaches to help your enterprise transition into an Agile working culture.
Hopefully, this gave you a better understanding of the challenges involved in Agile transformation. It’s a difficult undertaking, but when done right, it can take your organisation to the next level of productivity.