Written by Kevin Heisey
on February 28, 2023

In Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos, the authors stress the important role executive leadership has in creating a truly Agile enterprise. If an organization wants to be fast on its feet, transform customers experience and outpace its competitors, executive leadership must embrace Agile principles. The C-Suite can’t view Agility as an IT or Development team issue; they must engage in the transformation for it to fully succeed.

There are no magic formulas for what that engagement looks like, as it will differ across diverse organizations, but there should always be some element of guiding the transformation by monitoring the effort to make sure you are on track. While it can be tempting to ask the question, “are we there yet?” a better question is “are we making progress toward our transformation goals?”

In the webinar Transformation Indicators: Measuring Success in Your Agile Transformation, xScion’s Agile Practice Lead, Jennifer Romero-Greene and Agile Coach Reid Lowery share high-level indicators of organizational behavior that executives can use to gauge progress toward their Agile transformation goals. Below are five things to look for that help you understand how well your organization is progressing in its Agile transformation.

1.    Are Organizational Priorities Aligned with Customer Value?

Prioritization of activities should be an ongoing process driven by delivering maximum value to the customer. Are there frequent, collaborative planning events where new items, activities or projects are compared to existing ones and prioritized in terms of customer value? Methods like the Kano Model, the MoSCoW Model and Opportunity Scoring are among the many prioritization frameworks commonly used to align priorities with customer value.

2.    Is there Alignment and Support Across the Organization?

Are executives regularly communicating the vision, strategy and the roadmap forward? Leadership should, at a minimum, participate in things like planning and quarterly cadence events and be on top of what teams are delivering to customers. Leadership engagement is an effective way to ramp up enthusiasm for your transformation throughout the organization.

3.    Is there a Culture of Continuous Learning and Improvement?

Rather than trying to predict the unpredictable to set and execute plans, Agility means a culture of continuous improvement based on learning from rapid feedback loops. A culture of continuous learning and improvement is one where people are encouraged to take calculated risks, test hypotheses and improve based on what they learned. You might think you know how a new feature will work or what will resonate with customers, but you test to validate. Frequent feedback loops and a culture of learning and improvement help you accelerate what’s working and limit the losses from what’s not.

4.    Are People Trained and Coached in Agile?

As people are trained in Agile methods and practices, are they able to apply what they learned in the workplace? Are they improving and sharpening their new toolset and skills? Are they being trained to sustain and develop their newly acquired skills? Ideally there are specific leaders designated to ensuring people retain and advance their Agile skills through hands-on-learning in their unique work environments.

5.    Are People Engaged, Happy and Enthusiastic?

A good sign that your Agile transformation is going well is if people are happier than they were previously. The Agile Manifesto and its 12 principles are people friendly, emphasizing individuals over processes, collaboration and the ability to influence decisions that impact one’s working environment. As Agility takes hold, you should see more engagement and even career rejuvenation from your people that is reflected in higher net satisfaction scores.

For more tips on evaluating your Agile journey’s progress and keeping it on course, see xScion’s on-demand webinar, Transformation Indicators: Measuring Success in Your Agile Transformation.