Even though the concept of agile methods is associated with Software development projects, it offers the same value when managing non-software projects. Leadership Tribe has been working with organization’s globally to develop and deploy better, faster, cheaper, products and create happier employees and improve customer satisfaction.
Sanria Engineering, a structural engineering company which provides multi-disciplinary solutions in connection design, 3D Modelling, Steel Detailing and Project Management Consulting for clients across North America, Europe and Asia was facing unpredictable profit margins due to growing competition and complex client relationship.
The company operated from a legacy-based waterfall approach of traditional engineering practices within a silo-based organisational structure. Needless to say, the need of the hour was to transform into a people-centric and responsive agile engineering enterprise to adapt readily to prevailing market dynamics. The strategic leadership team desired a future where growth was more inclusive and less dependent on organizational structure, and leadership was self-driven with the rank and file contributing to a organizational change in the cultural landscape in which the company operated. A culture which was to be aligned to an adaptive business environment while fulfilling aspirational current needs.
Goal of Agile Transformation for an engineering company
The intended outcome of Agile transformation is clear: “the ability of the organisation to renew itself, adapt, change quickly, and succeed in a rapidly changing, ambiguous, turbulent environment” as well as
- The ability to quickly reconfigure strategy structure
- Technology towards value-creating and value-protecting opportunities
Yet implementing Agile itself is a means, not the end. The goal is to enable the organisation to generate instant, friction-less, intimate, incremental, risk-free value at scale, and the financial rewards that flow from that capability.
Take Stock – Understanding the Current State
On examining the various current states of the nation with the primary stakeholders. The top management found areas which are not working and learnt what progress they have made to date as well as what constraints they were facing. Strategic leaders along with Leadership Tribe established a joint strategy founded on the following core issues and also considered how the firm’s own management relates to the world of Agile management and what challenges lie ahead on an Agile journey.
The initial step was to fully integrate with the top management and first-line leadership to identify the issue of primary pain points. Issues that are not apparent yet impact the outcomes of the business.
Our team of Agile Coaches facilitated a series of retrospectives to bring forth issues that were working, not working and need to be abandoned as per the prevailing perceptions. To affect a more robust and enduring implementation road map, pilot project teams were created and then scale across the operational teams.
- Defining a clear North Star (Vision, Mission)
- Articulated an engagement model based on specific Objectives with Key Results (OKR’s)
- Designed an Agile implementation program incrementally
- Measured what matters for the organisation
Why Pilot Teams?
The value outcomes from the pilot agile teams would serve as a template and demo to facilitate transformation for other teams. The intent was to work on a ‘small chunk’ and then scale across. Through extensive and sustained coaching, facilitating and training interventions we measured, created and supported issues of right-sizing teams, improving product development cycle time, managing span of control, identifying rework, improving the quality of client-specific relationships and causing growth opportunities. Concurrently, we supported key stakeholders in a change implementation process, with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, competencies and key performance metrics at each level. The governance model was also calibrated to facilitate the transformative process.
“The intent of the transformation is ‘way of being’ than a mere ‘method of doing’. This we achieved by co-opting new age coaching and facilitation techniques, such as NLP, Emotional Intelligence, Combat Leadership and team performance and Agile frameworks” – Quoted by the Strategic Leader
A transparent, productive and collaborative stance based on mutual trust, openness and respect were created with the board members and key stakeholders.
Outcome delivered by Pilot Teams
Pilot teams adopted new ways of working with Agile Transformation; the leaders and product owners from the pilot teams are now implementing the second phase of the transformation. The following outcomes validated by the top project management teams.
- Reduction in work in process
- Early and continuous delivery to customers
- Continuous improvement of quality and reduced rework
- Higher interaction with customers to remove blockers, commit
delivery schedules and deliver on time
- Team members are more cohesive and are working like teams rather than aggregation of individuals
- Enhanced productivity and higher revenues
“We have been successful in co-creating cross-functional teams, ensured seamlessness and alignment across verticals and creating team happiness and synergy” – Quoted by the Chief Operating Officer
Opportunities and Possibilities
Adapting to enterprise agility has created opportunities for responsive and more effective decision making loops, reducing backlogs and dependencies. The agile governance model has created a possibility for a culture of partnership and shared learning to thrive. The process of measuring key success attributes has enabled faster and high-quality development process, shortened rework and clear communication, thus improving overall customer experience and relationship.
The added benefit from this initiative is that implementing Agile has made the company leaner by reducing the time to market and more value focused. By adopting agile ways and with the optimization of 40% to 55% of the internal workforce, improving the quality of client interaction by 60%, the company has improved the economic value and expected to increase more as we are underway into the second phase of the transformation process.
“If you’re a non-IT team that wants to adopt the Agile mindset, you will likely encounter some resistance to change. This is good. Criticism of Agile can help your application of its values to improve. To encourage the implementation of Agile in non- development teams, you should first demonstrate the value that an Agile mindset can deliver” – Quoted by Pilot Team Lead
How Leadership Tribe can help with your Agile Transormation
Most of the areas that Agile methodologies contribute to include project streamlining, improving teamwork, expediting project deliverables and timely results. Our Team of Consultants have worked in both IT and non-IT project management for over 30 years whether with large corporations or new startups. We also provide courses for Scrum team trainings, Kanban boards and other business agility options.
Our experience in Agile project management helps teams think of a project first in terms of large goals at the strategic level, and then at a tactical level, has us think in terms of delivering production ready results.
The popularity of the Agile practices has further been backed by a report by PwC that has cited Agile projects to be 28% more successful than traditional projects.