#agile Transition

Agile Transition – making companies more adaptable

Every company is subject to continuous change, so that it has to renew itself again and again due to technical and organizational development. At the moment, it is primarily digitalization that forces companies to manage their business processes in an agile manner. However, the transition to an agile enterprise is complex and requires a lot of learning, which discourages many companies.

Markets are changing faster, mainly due to the ever-increasing digitalisation and worldwide networking. For companies that want to remain successful, this means that the customer must always be the focus of attention. It is becoming increasingly important to adapt quickly to continuous change and to react flexibly. Rigid structures are replaced by a common corporate culture, lean processes are established, which accelerates work.

The IT-PMO serves as an organizational aid, whereby PMO stands for “Project Management Office”. It provides innovative, easy-to-use software products that make a significant contribution to the success of an agile transition.

The way to an aigle company

When changing into an agile organization, one thing must be taken into consideration, because agile project management can only take place if everyone in the company – from the individual employee to the management level – has a positive attitude towards it. They should be able to implement and internalize agile processes.

Before the agile transition is initiated, solid planning and current stocktaking (setup) must be carried out. The members of the transition team then acquire the necessary knowledge (training). At the same time, the defining technical and organizational framework guidelines (framing) are defined in which agile methods are used. The chosen infrastructure is made usable and nothing more stands in the way of agile work (start). An intensive learning period now begins for the employees to gain practical experience in dealing with agile methods. If obstacles are identified, they can then be removed (Learn). Now the optimized process can be used in project management to collect further information that leads to the improvement (optimization) of the process.

After the practical implementation of agile processes functions smoothly and this solution is standard, the employees have developed an agile mindset that develops consistently and becomes independent in the long term.

The characteristics of an agile organization

The modern economic world is constantly changing and is facing increasing uncertainties and risks. Digitisation is a key factor, which can be characterised by the VUCA model, a composition of “volatility”, “uncertainty”, “complexity” and “ambiguity”. As a result, companies need more flexibility and prompt action. In order to be successful in the market, it must be able to deal promptly with changing requirements and not yet known goals.

But what does “agility” actually mean in the context of the economy? It stands for companies that act flexibly and flexibly, use lean processes and are both fast and adaptable. A company must take agile action to the top of management so that hierarchical structures can be broken up and the understanding of leadership changed – a core idea of agile transition. Short decision paths and a change of job description are also indispensable. The main tasks of an agile executive are the search for patterns to reduce complexity, the determination of suitable framework conditions and the activity as a driving force in networks.

An agile organisation is characterised by various characteristics and working methods which differ significantly from those of classic organisations. In essence, it is a matter of convincingly living the following corporate values:

  1. Self-organisation before instruction
    All employees in the team – including the team leader – are placed on the same level. In this context, the team leader’s task is to provide the team with explicit support, but not to lead and delegate the work. Everyone does this in consultation with the other members of the team.
  2. Active communication in the team
    All team members communicate intensively with each other, and every morning there is a short discussion about the daily division of work. The progress of the work is discussed at close intervals and enables each team member to contribute his or her own ideas and suggestions.
  3. Use the personal strengths of the team members
    The members of a project team are reassembled each time. Everyone who becomes a member of a team has their own knowledge, strengths and experience, which they bring to the team. In this way, the entire team can benefit from the advantages of the individual and achieve a better result.

The most important prerequisite for agility to work within a company is that competitiveness, controls and policy tools are put in the background. Instead, the company itself should be an advocate of agile action, allow a free culture of discussion and promote transparency.

Always manage projects in an agile way?

Project management – regardless of whether it is agile or classic – is looking for efficient, sustainable and goal-oriented methods to make the best use of scarce resources. Which method is chosen has to be decided on a case-by-case basis, because there is no general answer to this question. No project is like any other, based on different processes and methods, and the team also consists of different employees.

Agile methods do not always have to be used to implement the project, sometimes classical project management can be the better alternative. In this comparison, the two types of project management are examined.

The core of classical planning comprises all the processes required for execution. This includes

• Pre-project phase at the end of the project
• Planning phase for generating costs and schedules
• Realization of the creation/production
• Final phase to identify improvements

The various project phases are run through linearly, so that delays result in delayed delivery.

Agile project management means that strategically rigid planning is no longer carried out. They score with the following skills:

• Customer orientation
• Communicativeness
• Flexibility and slenderness
• adaptability

The product owner (team leader) develops a product version together with the stakeholder (person(s) with economic interest). Already after the first sprint, the customer receives an increment of the functional scope.

Traditional project management also provides significant support in implementing projects more effectively and in a more time-saving manner. However, it can only be used if the conditions are clear from the outset.

SCRUM and Kanban – methods of agile project management

The English expression “scrum” means “dense crowd” and has its origin in rugby. Meanwhile SCRUM is a popular method of agile project management and is used in many economic sectors. Basically, it is a fast, flexible team building process that is subject to only a few rules. It is important that the team organises itself and that its composition is made up of different specialist areas so that it covers many of the required competencies and the team members complement each other optimally.

Already during the implementation phase of the project, it is regularly monitored whether errors have occurred. If errors are found, they are discussed at the short, daily meetings. The entire team is looking for a solution to avoid such errors in the future.

The agile Kaban method is primarily used in software development. The workflow is visualized on maps or tables, the respective processing status of a task is sorted in the table. In total the table contains four columns – “Not started”, “Begun”, “Processed” or “Finished”. If desired, the board can be set up in digital form or as a whiteboard and marked with stickers. In this way, everyone in the team knows exactly which tasks they currently have to work on.

The main advantage of Kaban is that the project plan, including the distribution of tasks, is easy to set up and clear. It provides a precise overview of the work plan at all times and thus ensures a high degree of transparency.