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Why Scrum Alone Won’t Make 100% Agile (But it Still Is a Good Start)

Scrum is a good starting point for your agile transformation. But, there is 5 additional agile building blocks to consider to become a fully agile organization.

Scrum is a good starting point for your agile transformation. But, there is 5 additional agile building blocks to consider to become a fully agile organization.

Agile Transformation – How to become a fully agile organization?

Companies are increasingly aware of the importance of agile. 78% of companies believe their organization could benefit from agile working across the company. For good reason: A successful Agile Transformation is key for delivering high-quality digital products that meet fast changing customer demands. In a world where basically every product and service is technology-driven, this ability is absolutely essential for a company to succeed as a whole.

But when it comes to delivering technology solution fast and reliably in an agile manner, a huge potential is still left untapped. One key reason is that only few organizations consider all agile building blocks in their agile journey. In fact, most companies still primarily focus on just one single element when pursuing their agile mission: agile development. While this might be a good starting point, it is important to consider additional and closely intertwined elements on your agile journey towards becoming fully agile organization.

I. Agile Development: A great place to start your agile transformation

When it comes to agile development by far most (54%) companies practice Scrum. The advantages speak for themselves: Scrum is simple, widely established and offers many training possibilities. Though to enjoy full benefits, persistence is key: All activities need to be rigorously conducted and continuously improved. And – as good as you are here already – it is crucial that your agile mission does not end here.

II. Agile Operations: Automate deployment to the customer

Being a 100% agile organization also means being capable to swiftly bring the finished technology solution to operation to make it actually accessible for the customer. The ideal here is to deploy continuously and fully automated. For this, all steps of technology deployment (aka the DevOps pipeline) need to be enhanced with technological enablers. Fortunately, there is a number of open source agile tools on the market (e.g. for container management or testing automation) at your free disposal. Additionally, all major cloud vendors offer frameworks that provide integration of tools and services.

III. Agile Service Architecture: Peer of agile teams and continuous deployment

Traditional monolithic architectures are not flexible enough to help us prevail in a dynamic, customer-driven business environment. Even worse, they tend to grow in size and complexity to a level that resists agile development teams and continuous deployment (see above). Especially architecture areas that provide dynamic employee and customer functions benefit from pursuing a service design. These services (or microservices) enable continuous deployment, can be effectively developed in small agile teams, and may even open up the road to platform business models and ecosystems.

IV. The new agile operating model: Setting up technology product teams

In a world where all business products and services are technology-driven, the traditional separation between business and IT is no longer adequate. To deliver such products in an agile manner, organizational boundaries must fall. Instead, joint teams of business and technology experts need to work collaboratively in agile product-centric teams – preferably in a shared workspace.

V. Agile Partner Eco-Systems: Extend agile beyond company boundarie

Agile teams need agile partners to avoid that agile scaling is restricted by your organization’s boundaries. Your partners need to work agile and seemingly integrate into your agile engineering and operation practices. Also, traditional partner models need to be reworked. What you need is innovation partners with “skin in the game” making a joint effort towards technology product innovation.

VI. Agile Culture: Skilled self-organizing teams

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” – this Peter Drucker phrase also fully applies to your agile journey. Agile teams will only be self-organizing, autonomous and fully effective if backed by a agile culture that provides trust and empowerment. Your employees need incentive for continuous learning and you may want to build up new roles (e.g. Scrum Master, Agile Coaches) and hands-on skills (e.g. UI/UX design), instead of entirely relying on external support here.

Bottom Line: Scrum is just the starting point for your agile transformation

Starting your agile transformation with agile development (and here with Scrum in most cases) is not wrong – in fact we recommend it. Scrum offers significant effects with reasonable effort and without too many preconditions. However, your journey should not stop here. To make sure your company fully benefits from agile, you also want to look at deployment automation, service architectures, product-centric teams, a scalable partner ecosystem and self-organizing teams with new skills.

How agile is your organization? Run our free agile assessment and get insights on how to boost your agile transformation.

Author

Managing Director at neoverv

At neoverv we enable organizations to take full advantage of technology to create outstanding business value. We design and accelerate future-ready technology strategies, build and scale technology innovation, and boost technology operation for agile scalability.

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