Here in Ammeon, we recently posted the following simple question on LinkedIn
This seemingly simple question goes to the heart of the problem with many Digital and Agile transformations.
As pointed out by Lucia Adams1:
“Digital is 10% tech and 90% human. Organizations talk about digital as if it is 90% tech and 10% human.”
Sadly it’s too easy for senior management to focus on the technological changes required to achieve the goals of a digital transformation, while neglecting the actual people on which the transformation depends.
Before taking on a Digital Transformation, it’s important to consider the following points:
Create and communicate a goal for the Digital Transformation that will inspire employees and lead to greater business value and happier customers.
The overall goal needs to be tangible and easily understood by everyone.
Ensure everyone understands what agile is and more importantly what it is not.
Build knowledge of the various agile methodologies within the organization and learn why an organization or team would choose one over another.
Change the way that planning, budgeting and reviewing is conducted across the organization.
Create the organizational and team structures to support the goals of the Digital Transformation.
Every company and organization is unique, so a “copy and paste” approach is problematic. What worked elsewhere might fail miserably in your company or organization.
Build and retain high-performance teams.
This requires a good understanding of what we mean by a high performing team, how to measure team performance, and more importantly, ‘when to bring a team to the work’ and ‘when to bring the work to a team’.
Implement faster and more frequent release management while achieving delivery of a high quality and secure product or service.
Improve the speed and quality of decision making.
To achieve high performance, management needs to encourage decision making at the lowest possible level in the organization.
Adapt performance management for agile organizations (Learning & Development, Flexible Deployment, and so on.
This includes the creation of a psychological contract that achieves alignment between the employees’ expectations of management and management’s expectation of employees while supporting the goals of the Digital transformation.
Adopt the technical practices required to maximize software delivery performance.
Maintain open communication and suitable information flow.
This involves finding the right balance because too much or too little communication between teams can cause problems.
This means making the flow of work visible; making metrics at the team, project and program level visible; making impediments visible;
Remember that business value ultimately depends on the delivery of value to customers.
A brief view of the previous list shows that a Digital Transformation will only succeed if we change structures, culture, mindsets, practices, values and behaviors.
In particular, this requires listening to, and addressing people’s fears and concerns. It also requires changing the mindsets of leaders within the organization, something that is easy to forget or neglect.
I’ll close with a quote from John DiJulius:2
“What employees experience, customers will experience.
The best marketing is happy engaged employees. Your customer will never be any happier than your employees”
Ultimately, a digital transformation needs to include and involve people in the transformation and bring them on a journey that will achieve the transformation goals while ensuring they are motivated and engaged.
Adams, Lucia. My love-hate relationship with ‘digital transformation’. Medium, 2016
Dijulius, John. The Customer Service Revolution: Overthrow Conventional Business, Inspire Employees, and Change the World. Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2015
Agile Practices Manager | Ammeon