Agile Top-Down: Striking a Balance


The transformation to Agile at this organization was initiated and progressed in large part because of this top-down leadership. The CEO established the vision and effectively delegated the responsibility. A corresponding bottom-up balance was established as the Agile practitioners responded to the delegated responsibility. The various teams were supported by senior leadership, managers, coaches, and a variety of technical and business experts. The approach achieved was effective and appropriate. While championed by the CEO, his vision was not overly directive. Neither was the initiative undernourished as the teams were effectively supported and provided with a basic framework.

Recognized as one of the largest and most rapid enterprise-wide implementations of Scrum at that time, the organization eventually scaled to 32 concurrent teams in less than 12 months. By the end of the second year, over 100 project teams had been launched. Profitability, timeliness, quality, customer satisfaction, and employee moral had all been impacted positively. Key customers clamored to understand what had been changed. In fact, one customer bought the company. That company leveraged the expertise of the recently acquired subsidiary and began an Agile transformation of its own.

Post Transformation: Lessons Learned
At regular intervals, Agile teams reflect on what has gone well and what can be improved. A retrospective on the transformation at this organization would include the following lessons

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