Introducing agile processes in a corporate landscape

Since the day business transformation started team members worked on the basis of trail and error procedures, mostly based on previous experience. Decision making occured under the umbrella of unclear preferences among decision makers and a matrix organisation forstered fluid commitments from team members. On top of that a divers tool landscape reduced productivity and made collaboration between departments complicated.

Evaluation of the building blocks for agile transformation

Corporate cultural determines whether agile processes can be meaningfully integrated into the organization. Especially organizational hierarchies lack the empowerment at the team level because of the association with loss of control. Despite this unfavorable situation, organizational change was needed because of two COVID years that brought a volatil business environment and new customer requirements. A tremadous change in the event landscape should illustrate the 180-degree turn since 2020 where a whole industry had to reinvent itself.

Create a common basis to build agile process on

In an ideal world the introduction of agile processes happens with a clear managment buy-in combined with an empowerment of the agile team landscape. So a mixture of top-down and bottom-up processes sets the ideal ground for agile business transformation. Unfortunately management buy-in was lacking so teams had to empower themselves to tackle change. So what was the best solution to replace Excel lists of open projects and email chains with to many recepients in copy? To bring transparency into ongoing projects and create a common basis for project management was the first big step in the teams process. The introduction of Kanban and a common tool for all team members brought initial momentum.

Change has to be a mindset

What change can a tool generate if it is not accompanied by further measures? Therefore, in addition to the introduction of Kanban, organizational support for the transformational change was an important component in the process. In addition to team finding workshops, in which both a modified role-based team structure and a clear meeting structure with dailies and artefacts were introduced, helped the team find direction and facilitarte their daily work. All together it helped the team to create the momentum that lead to an open mindset for change. Until daily meetings become rituals and clear team roles helped the team address problems more efficiently one team member committed to guide the organizational change as change agent.

Introducing a change agent to overlook the process

Especially in the hectic daily project routine, new structures can easily be ignored, as there is little time for additional processes and meetings. In this situation, a change agent can help to demand changes in the team. Besides the technical support of the Kanban tool, this role gives the team a clear contact person for problems around agile processes and meeting structures.

What impact had change till that day

The change project permanently changed the way the marcomm team worked. Projects were processed uniformly with greater effectiveness and communication was accelerated. Transparency within the team increased greatly as a result of the Kanban technique, but at the same time tensions grew with external stakeholders who worked and thought in other non-agile organizational forms. This is because the management buy-in that is so important to success was missing, which ended up hindering team ownership and collaboration and promoting an output orientation instead of an outcome-oriented discussion. This created a powerful agile team, but unfortunately it remained on an “agile island” within the company.