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Agile Transformation

  1. Typical mistakes in agile transformations
  2. Avoid typical mistakes thanks to our combination of agile coaching and agile backbone consulting
  3. How we help: Methods for an agile mindset (examples).
  4. How we help: Methods for agile structures
  5. How we help: Support for managers in agile change processes
  6. How we help: Support for employees in agile change processes
  7. How we help: Methods for customer orientation in agile change processes

Among other things, we support you in the introduction of agile organizational frameworks such as SAFe and LeSS. These help you to build a customer-centric, lean-agile organization and achieve faster time-to-market, focused portfolio management and higher customer satisfaction.

1. Typical mistakes in agile transformations

Introducing agile ways of working holds the potential for increased efficiency and customer satisfaction in the long run. However, in the short term, embarking on an agile transformation can present challenges for well-established organizations. Structures, processes, and roles are undergoing reorganization, prompting a reevaluation of mindsets and previous approaches to success.

Typically, many companies make one or more of the following mistakes - we help to avoid them:

  1. Overemphasis on agile methods: For those who think that mastering agile methodology guarantees a smooth agile transformation, it's important to recognize that these methods are just a tool to reach the ultimate goal. That's why we assist organizations in determining their true objectives and how agile methodology can support them. We also focus on cultivating an agile mindset, as without it, agile methodologies may actually hinder progress rather than enhance it.
  2. Too much focus on agile mindset: Some organizations and also agile coaches focus strongly on creating an agile mindset, but then forget to also make the "backbone of the organization" agile, i.e. the "agile backbone". This means changing roles, structures, processes and management to fit with agile, starting with the organizational structure and process organization. So the "new culture" fails because of old structures and processes. That's why we support you to draw the right conclusions also structurally and to develop an organization that can adapt to a volatile market and "home" the new agile culture.
  3. Ramping up too quickly: The challenges of an agile transformation can lead to agile teams moving too rapidly. It's more effective to start by making mistakes in low-risk pilot units and then gradually scale up. In essence, aim for a gradual growth curve that allows the organization to learn and adapt. While errors are inevitable, having numerous individuals make the same mistakes simultaneously can hinder the transformation process.
  4. Agile transformation as a waterfall project: Many organizations embark on agile transformations with great enthusiasm, only to falter when managing these intricate change processes as traditional projects. That's where we step in as your trusted partner and ally, guiding you through the agile transformation journey in a way that enables you to embody the desired state even as you progress towards it.
  5. Agilization of isolated teams: We often notice that enthusiastic managers kick off an agile transformation by focusing solely on "agilizing" individual teams or units. While their intentions are good, optimizing only individual teams can actually hinder the overall system due to dependencies on other units. While this approach may be beneficial initially to mitigate risks (as mentioned above), it is not sustainable in the long run. Therefore, we collaborate with you to enhance the productivity of your system by guiding you on how to implement agility throughout your organization, rather than just within individual teams.

2. Avoid typical mistakes thanks to our combination of agile coaching and agile backbone consulting

Typically, you have the option to choose between method specialists and change specialists for your agile transformation. We offer a unique blend of expertise, combining knowledgeable and innovative Agile Coaches with experience in business consulting and change facilitation. This means that we have a deep understanding of your business, including processes, goals, strategies, challenges, and solutions. We work collaboratively with you to develop and implement concepts, and can assist in establishing internal Agile Coaches if needed. Our approach focuses on the essentials for a successful agile culture change, drawing on our agile consulting expertise and psychological know-how to guide you through the agile transformation process. We are flexible and open-minded, not rigidly tied to specific agile methods or frameworks, ensuring that we tailor our approach to suit your individual needs and preferences. Together, we will continue to refine and implement the strategies and changes that are most beneficial for you.

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3. How we help: strengthening the agile mindset

Attitudes and behaviors take time to evolve. That's why having a partner who deeply understands your corporate culture, works alongside you for the long haul, and brings psychological expertise to the table is crucial. Unfortunately, many agile coaches and consulting firms lack the necessary psychological qualifications to effectively shift ingrained behavioral patterns. As pioneers in comprehensive change services, we merge the empathy and knowledge of psychologists with the structured approach of management consultants, the methodological expertise of agile coaches, the creativity of communication specialists, and the skills of architects to craft a workspace conducive to embracing agility. Our aim is for your managers and employees to not just go through the motions of agility but to truly embody it. By fostering genuine learning models, even at the executive level, and empowering employees to embrace agile practices, we foster a change movement that is neither solely top-down nor solely grassroots-driven.

Examples from our portfolio:

  • Culture diagnostics
  • Agile maturity check
  • Agile coaching and individual shadowing
  • Top team development and team development for particularly important teams
  • Change communication
  • Special large group events with "moments of truth"
  • Change leader training
  • Training, deployment and support of a network of change agents

4. How we help: Establish agile processes and structures

Structures can transition from hindering agility to supporting it. Agility does not equate to chaos. Clear structures, decision-making processes, and leadership become even more crucial, but they need to evolve. Especially if agile transformation is limited to just one part of the organization, there may be tension between the old and new structures. Collaboration with other departments, senior executives, and stakeholders must evolve. Adjusting management and reporting structures, reducing and changing control systems are necessary steps in this transformation.

Examples from our portfolio:

  • Agile backbone consulting to define agile structures, processes and governance
  • Implementation of SAFe by our experienced SAFe Program Consultants to scale agility
  • Development and operation of agile project portfolio management

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5. How we help: Developing managers into agile leaders

Our experience shows: Leaders often continue to provide details in agile transformation processes. Or they fall into the trap of using the basic agile principle of transparency to build up pressure instead of promoting learning, giving freedom, and mindfully helping people learn to take responsibility. Employees also often misunderstand the change in roles. The cry, "We don't need you anymore, manager," is a fallacy. Better is, "We need you differently."

An agile leader doesn't necessarily need to lead less, but rather lead in a different way. In agile leadership, many management tasks such as planning, coordinating, and controlling are shared among the members of self-organized teams. It's essential for a team that needs to find solutions quickly and flexibly to have the freedom to act in a self-organized manner. In agile organizations, managers transition into leaders who prioritize behavior, attitudes, and the overall strategic vision. Drawing inspiration from the team, customers, and competitors, they make crucial decisions. They set requirements, assess team solutions, and enhance the organization's innovative capabilities as visionary leaders. Encouraging their employees to contribute to improvements, they act as servant leaders by creating a conducive environment, identifying and resolving obstacles early on, and motivating their teams to deliver customer-centric solutions.

In our leadership trainings and agile leadership workshops, we offer you the tools to embrace your role as a forward-thinking leader. Embrace the opportunity to lead by example in your learning journey. Let us support you as you transition from day-to-day operations to a focus on strategic leadership.

Examples from our portfolio:

  • Agile leadership workshops
  • Top team development
  • Agile coaching

6. How we help: Support for employees in agile change processes

Employees in many traditional organizations have been accustomed to following instructions for an extended period. However, in the agile transformation process, they are suddenly presented with the opportunity to enhance their self-organization skills. Employees are empowered to embrace new roles and take ownership of decision-making. The key to successful agile transformation often lies in fostering self-organization. While individual teams, initially designated as agile pilots, may struggle to implement new methods and practices, this challenge can be attributed to the adjustment period required for both employees and managers to adapt to increased autonomy. It is essential for everyone to familiarize themselves with these new approaches and processes to facilitate a smooth transition towards agility.

The initial sense of being overwhelmed gradually transforms into an agile mindset with the support of agile coaching. Through effective change communication and engaging formats like our Agile Awareness Workshop, we ensure that all groups are reached. Together, we work on evolving old role patterns and fostering a culture of innovation within teamwork - not just on paper. Our coaching extends to individual managers and employees to facilitate this process.

Examples from our portfolio:

  • Agile awareness Workshops
  • Values workshops
  • Team development
  • Digital microlearning tool: ChApp (Timmermann Change App) with the module Agility incl. Agile Methods, Agile Leadership,
  • Agile tools, agile frameworks (Scrum, SAFe, Design Thinking)
  • Agile coaching
  • Large group events
  • Change communication (communication strategy, campaign creation, operational implementation)

7. How we help: Establishing customer centricity by involving customers

Being agile is not just a goal on its own. It serves as a way to swiftly recognize customer needs (even those not yet fully articulated), rapidly create fitting solutions, and ultimately achieve greater success in the market.

Faster innovation cycles lead to continuous product improvement and quicker market launches, delighting customers. While prioritizing customer needs can initially pose challenges for both your organization and its customers, our guidance helps navigate this journey. By engaging in an iterative process and actively seeking customer and stakeholder feedback, we work towards refining products in a practical and results-driven manner. Leveraging methodologies like Lean Startup, we ensure a seamless transition towards customer-centricity.

Examples from our portfolio:

    • Lead customer workshops
    • Design thinking trainings and workshops
    • Lean startup trainings and -consulting
    • On-site visits to (also potential) customers for observation in their natural environment and feedback
    • Conjoint analyses