Adopting agile working ways in Government


Agile has become a term that has attracted many Senior Leaders within organisations to be interested in adopting. The Agile Software Development Wiki describes Agile as being generated for software development as an approach to software development under which requirements and solutions evolve through the collaborative effort of self-organising and cross-functional teams and satisfying customers. It advocates adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continual improvement, and it encourages rapid and flexible response to change.

Agile often is a word that often gets misused or not understood and leaders find it hard to transform their organisations to adopt agile working ways.

The reason from my experience comes back to these key points:

  • Be clear what the vision, outcomes and strategy is for adopting agile working ways at an Enterprise level.
  • Be clear on the expectations and requirements if engaging agile coaches or engaging agile services to guide the enterprise to adopt agile practices, techniques and methodologies.
  • Be aware that adopting agile requires cultural change, mindset and behaviour change both at an Enterprise level and individual level.
  • Invest in the agile transformation change from the beginning.
  • Recognise adopting agile working practices is a transformational process and requires cultural, mindset and behavioural changes.
  • Create an environment to enable people, teams to experiment and learn. Recognise, acknowledge and celebrate success within teams.
  • Create cross-functional teams with expertise over levels to help remove barriers and silos to deliver products and services.
  • Where feasible embed management within teams to remove barriers and hierarchy to impose few layers of authority.
  • Be flexible, pragmatic in adopting agile methodologies and recognise that not one agile methodology is fit for all.
  • Start small with 1-2 teams and scale up. This helps transform the organisation over time and change culture slowly over introducing a “big bang approach”.
  • Communicate regularly across the organisation progress and present metrics along the journey to demonstrate progress.
  • Invest in 1 day basic training to introduce concepts to people within the organisation to enable them to feel comfortable about adopting agile working practices.
  • Commit to ongoing learning and improvement.
  • It’s not just about training people in agile, that will not result in becoming an agile organisation.

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