Agile Top-Down: Striking a Balance


Recommendations for Agile "Top-Down"
With the acquisition of the company referred to in the case study, I went on to assist in the Agile transformation at the parent company, and from there to do the same at other companies. In my experience, I have recommended that senior leadership of an organization attempting Agile top-down should:

·       Ensure unquestioned commitment from senior leaders -it must be actively stated and frequently demonstrated.

·       Train everyone in the organization. Develop training content that is need-specific. And, in case management missed the previous item everyone includes you. Get trained.

·       Dedicate participants on the teams-this may require decision-making about what is the highest priority work.

·       Establish a dedicated implementation team.

·       Refresh their knowledge of organizational change-that is much of what a large-scale transformation to Agile is all about.

·       Not underestimate the value of support via coaching, mentoring, and shadowing. Do this now and you will be building best practices early on. Don't do it, and you will be fighting bad habits later.

·       Drive visibility and transparency.

·       Understand that failing is a good thing.

Imagine what increasing the capability of your organization can accomplish across your entire system with operations, hiring needs, and customers?


1) Teamwork: What Must Go Right/What Can Go Wrong, Carl E. Larson and Frank M.J. Lafasto, 1998. 


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