ADAPTing Agile: 5 Killer steps to Change And Innovation

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ADAPTing Agile development, as the leading Agile speaker and author Mike Cohn describes “how one can iterate toward increased agility by combining a senior-level guiding coalition with multiple action teams.”

To successfully implement a change, senior leadership need to create a sense of urgency in their organization so that employees, lower-level managers and other impacted stakeholders are on board. It will help gain confidence and cooperation of the teams.

Following 5 steps are necessary for ADAPTing to Agile development:

  1. Awareness – That there is always a room for improvement in the current practices.
  2. Desire – To adapt to changes for improvement.
  3. Ability – To work with Agile mindset
  4. Promote – Early success so others can see and follow
  5. Transfer – The Agile implication and impact through put the organisation.

For successful Agile transition, it’s very important the each individual moves through Awareness, Desire and Ability stages. Using the Promote stage of Agile transition, early adopters of Agile can build awareness and desire amongst the late adopters of Agile. Lastly its utmost important to Transfer the implication and impact of Agile to other groups throughout the organisation like Project management office, sales, information technology, operations, hardware development; otherwise the Agile transition will fail inevitably.

Lets go through the wife stages for ADAPTing to Agile development

ADAPTing Agile – Awareness

When it comes to achieving desired results, it’s important to be aware of the current process / practise and that its efficiency can be improved. A change in approach begins with recognizing that the current approach has a room for improvement. However, it can be difficult to embrace that what worked in the past may not work in the present. One of the most common reasons people don’t become aware of the need to change is because they don’t have enough exposure to the big picture. In this Awareness stage, Rather than listing a variety of common project problems, focus on the two or three major problems that reflect the need for change.

Some Tools to Create awareness:

  • Communicate the issue
  • Use metrics to track progress
  • Provide new and different experiences.
  • Focus attention on the most important reasons to change.

ADAPTing Agile – Desire

There needs to be a strong desire to adopt Agile as a way to address the current problems. Not only must we recognize the need for change, but we must also have the desire to change. Many people find it difficult to move from the realization that the current development process isn’t working to the desire to use a different one.

Desire Tools:

  • Communicate There’s a Better Way
  • Create a sense of urgency
  • Build momentum
  • Get the team to use Agile for a test drive
  • Align incentives
  • Focus on addressing fears
  • Helping people let go
  • Don’t discredit the past

ADAPTing Agile – Ability

If you want to be successful, you need to be able to be agile. To be successful with Agile, team members must learn new skills and overcome old ones. Some of the larger challenges that Agile teams will face includes: Learning new technical skills, think and work as an Agile team and delivering working product frequently.

Ability Tools:

  • Coaching and training can help your employees improve their performance.
  • Hold individuals accountable for their actions.
  • Share your information with others.
  • Aim for goals that are reasonable and achievable.

ADAPTing Agile – Promote

Promote by sharing our experiences with Agile, we can help others remember and learn from our successes. By publicizing current successes with Agile, you’ll quickly start creating awareness for the next round of improvements. This stage also help teams maintain Agile behavior by sharing the successes that teams have achieved. Finally, publicizing Agile success help those not directly involved in adopting Agile to become more aware and interested in it.

Promote Tools:

  • Publicize the successes of agile teams and help to get the word out about how agile can help businesses achieve their goals.
  • Organize an Agile safari
  • Attract attention and interest from potential agile adopters.


It is impossible for a development team to remain Agile without help from the rest of the company. If the impact of using Agile is not transferred to other departments, the organizational focus from those departments will eventually stall and stifle transition efforts. The rest of the organization must be able to work effectively with Agile.

There are other departments that must also be aware of the effects of Agile on their work. Many groups with an organizational gravity, such as the project management office, sales, information technology, operations, hardware development, and others, contribute to the success of a business. The impact of Agile for long-term success will be important to consider.

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Written by 

A total of 22+ years experience, collectively in the fields of Software development and project management serving IT and Recycling industry. Working knowledge of collaboration with Customers / stakeholders to define the project vision, delivery roadmap, critical milestones and associated key objectives to achieve the planned goals and milestones. Hands on experience to structure a team (roles, people, expertise) set up for success, and define ways to work that encourages self organization and on time quality delivery. Exposure in managing project risks and issues, conflict resolution, local laws and licensing, change management and reporting. Extensive commercial, operational, administration and business set up experience.