How Do You Maintain an Agile Transformation? with Quincy Jordan

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This week on the podcast, Dan Neumann is joined by frequent guest of the show, Quincy Jordan, a Director in AgileThought’s Innovate Line of Service.

The last time Quincy was on the show, they spoke about the excursions you take along an Agile journey and what those look like. Today, they’re taking this discussion one step further and exploring how to maintain the work that has been done along an Agile journey.

On the “other side” of an Agile transformation, we want the work that we have done to stick. In this episode, Quincy shares his key tips for maintaining an Agile transformation once it has gotten to a place of sustainability, how to shift from a transformation team to an environment that has Agile Champions, why you should be implementing Communities of Practice, and the role that leaders play in communicating and instilling the practices formed during the transformation.

Key Takeaways

What are transformation teams and how do they fit into maintaining the Agile transformation?

A transformation team is critical to the health of an Agile transformation

Transformation teams are almost like Scrum Masters to the transformation itself

Once the thinking has changed and you’ve arrived at the part of the Agile journey where you’re only looking to maintain what you’ve achieved, you don’t necessarily need the transformation team

When disbanding the team it is important to have Agile Champions to lead and guide the Communities of Practice (which are key in maintaining the way of thinking around continuously learning [and unlearning] based on the current needs and problems you are looking to solve)

Members of the transformation team can join the team of Agile Champions or become Agile Champions for other teams of practices

Be cautious in disbanding the transformation team too soon as you may revert to the old way of doing things

Have a succession plan for your Agile Champions to maintain the new way of thinking

Quincy recommends 3‒4 Agile Champions for a single Community of Practice

The role communication plays in Agile transformation maintenance and continuous learning:

Communication is beyond critical to maintaining the transformation — especially coming from leadership (Quincy recommends no more than monthly communication from leadership)

An important aspect that leadership has to remember is that everyone does not know what they know (gaps in communication occur when leadership assumes that everyone knows what they know)

It’s important for the leadership team to reinforce the new way of working and what it needs to look like

Reinforce desired behavior by highlighting “bright spots” (i.e. when you see the behavior you want, point it out)

Trust and build empathy (when trust is absent, the “ugly truth” of what’s happening in a project gets buried vs. when trust and empathy are present, the whole team works together toward solving the problems that arise)

Maintain and bring transparency into the work

How to reinforce the ways you deliver and maintain a value-driven perspective:

Ideally in the transformation, the organization has adopted a value-driven perspective vs. merely tracking

To maintain this, have dedicated teams

Shift the mindset of having one specialist for one job to one of building an overall team competence

Implement rolling forecasts with quarterly revisiting

Maintain the perspective of funding so that you don’t revert to this notion of going to go down to a granular level (i.e. figuring out how much a particular thing is going to cost 12-months down the line between a 2‒5% margin)

You want to maintain a way to fund investments and evaluate that funding earlier on (and on a quarterly basis)

It is good practice to leverage OKRs to maintain a transformation (because you’re being clear in a simplistic way on what your objectives are and how you’re going to hit them)

Closely align your portfolio based on your current dedicated teams and any planned dedicated teams

Mentioned in this Episode:

Agile Coaches’ Corner Ep. 129: “Excursions Along the Agile Journey with Quincy Jordan”

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

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