Change can be challenging. At Stride, we often engage with clients who know they need to transform their business, whether to increase revenue, reduce costs, or some other reason; however, they need help understanding the “What” and “How” of that transformation.
Agile transformations are effective transformations because many of the common problems – the “Whats,” if you will – that businesses want to solve are inherently addressed by applying Agile concepts. Stride is often brought in to help with change management because of our reputation as seasoned Agile consulting practitioners. We take an outcomes-based approach, defining and working toward an end goal from the get-go using Agile methodology.
That’s why, in any new engagement, the first question I ask of a client is: What are you trying to accomplish? Is it that competitors are faster to market? Or that teams cannot predict how long development and release will take, making it difficult to plan and budget? In short – what is the problem that needs solving?
Start with the end as a guide
When we know what the problem is, we can define a solution, which in turn shapes a new view of operations. And once we can clearly articulate what stakeholders want to transform the business into, we can then begin to unpack how to get from where the company is now (point A) to the vision of where it should be in the future (point B).
Many times, one of the earliest exercises we conduct in partnership with client stakeholders is “event storming,” in which we map out every step involved in a “What.” This includes tasks executed by both humans and systems, the time each task takes to be considered complete, and the dependencies required by different steps. Getting everyone on the same page on exactly how a process is currently accomplished helps us to identify where the problem areas are and where corresponding solutions – the “How” – should be focused.
The benefits of Agile principles reach beyond the bottom line
For the majority of our clients, the impetus for a transformation is to either increase revenue or reduce costs, making some version of improved speed and efficiency the outcome they are working toward. Agile concepts, including building features faster, being more responsive to customer feedback, and building features with greater value, not only support that outcome but lead to broader business benefits such as increasing employee retention. When employees can accomplish the same task in less time, that frees them to turn their efforts and focus to more complex, interesting work. More interesting work contributes to greater employee satisfaction and a higher retention rate.
For example, when engineers apply better practices for building software, their code is less buggy, which results in less time spent fixing old code and more time building new, exciting features.
And because one of the most significant cost areas for organizations is hiring and retaining, improving employee retention rates ultimately also helps reduce costs.
Stride as a Partner in Organizational Change
It is not easy to change, especially in larger organizations with well-established processes. That is why Stride focuses on proven practices for effective transformation. For those interested in more detail on the “How” component of Stride’s Agile consulting approach, I share some examples in another post, Agile Principles in Business Transformation.