Satisfying customer needs is at the heart of every successful business. But customer needs change, and organizations must learn to adapt with new ideas, new solutions, and new ways of approaching their problems. With over 70% of all projects failing in today’s organizations—despite rigorous planning—it makes sense that many organizations need to rethink the way they execute and operate.
The executive team of a telecommunications management company needed to respond to market shifts and evolving customer demands by delivering new products and services at market speed. To achieve this, they knew that the entire company needed a mindset shift and new method of operating—one that emphasized more experimentation, risk-taking, and iteration while preserving existing strengths.
Create a new way of working by introducing a Lean Agile mindset and Agile methodologies
Celerity introduced a new mindset and the power of Agile methodologies to increase customer innovation and adaptability of the entire organization. The Lean Agile mindset is a combination of beliefs, assumptions, and actions based on the reality that:
- We do not have perfect information
- Customer needs change extremely quickly
- People work best through collaboration
This Agile mindset stands in contrast to a traditional approach that assumes rigorous upfront planning is the best way to ensure project success. Capitalizing on a pre-planned corporate retreat, we involved every employee across the enterprise to begin the process of connecting the concept of a Lean Agile mindset to the more adaptable, responsive organization the leadership team sought.
Over 70% of all projects fail in today’s organizations. Lean Agile transformation exponentially increases your chances of success, allowing you to rapidly test hypotheses, iterate on successes, and continuously focus on customer centricity and service.
Operationalizing Lean Agile across the enterprise
Next, we leveraged a phased maturity model to move the organization from the “Concept” to “Practice” to “Culture” across teams, organization, and technology. This maturity model allowed us to incorporate disciplines at the appropriate time, include key operational areas throughout the process, and align around a shared roadmap. Critical elements included:
Craft and communicate a vision
To successfully establish a Lean Agile organization, we started by working with the leadership to establish a vision that provided the purpose, intention, and overarching goal of their Agile transformation.
Define and organize around value
We worked with leadership to define value and organize around that value; focusing on a customer centric approach of who is the customer, what is the value they deliver to the customer, and how can they align to deliver that value. This work required change across practices and disciplines from intake, procurement, and funding, to organizational structure changes.
Establish cross-functional early adopter teams
We created small, cross-functional early adopter teams and provided guidance and coaching in scrum and scrumban frameworks. This empowered the people doing the work to have autonomy to make decisions, collaborate, iteratively test hypotheses, demonstrate outcomes, and incorporate feedback so that they could deliver value.
A Center of Excellence helps cement new thinking
Finally, we helped establish an Agile Center of Excellence (COE) to govern and advise on Lean Agile approaches. This COE would help cement the new mindset and pilot particular programs to reinforce and practice this new way of working. With a new Lean Agile Center of Excellence in place, the company’s team has the know-how, governance, and leadership buy-in they need to continue their evolution to an operating model and culture that embraces adaptability.
An Agile mindset enables you to rapidly adjust to major changes, particularly those driven by external factors. But it’s never “done.” It requires a commitment to continual improvement and evolution. If you want your organization to operate at that level of efficiency and effectiveness, the energy you put toward Lean Agile transformation will be worth it.
Traditional project management and governance-heavy focus
Limited visibility into where gaps exist and what to do about them
Siloed functional organization and operation
Output and activity-focused company culture
Agile Center of Excellence to guide Lean Agile approaches and drive continual improvement
Prioritized opportunities for improvement, along with a one year implementation roadmap for change that is continually re-evaluated
Matrix enterprise with teams focused on delivering around value to both internal and external customers
Shift in culture to one that drives innovative and agile outcomes