Transformation is really about forming teams, building backlogs, and producing working, tested product. At scale, it’s about defining structure, and creating governance, metrics, and tooling strategies that support Agility.
Anything that gets in the way of doing any of these things is an impediment to Transformation. But the actual work of the Transformation is getting rid of all the organizational things that get in the way of doing that—and to do that, you need the right system in place, an ecosystem where this can happen.
Teaching people the basics of Scrum and telling them to self-organize, except in possibly the smallest of organizations, isn’t going to lead to Agility. Most companies will need more guidance.
If we define it as a culture problem or a process problem… we fail.
If we recognize it as a systems problem… we have a shot at fixing it.
In the absence of simply telling people to self-organize, where do you start?
Understand where you are and where you want to go.
Agile fails because the underlying preconditions that must be in place for organizations to get the benefits of Agile are not clear. Luckily, creating the conditions necessary for Agile to thrive in an organization is a science that can be understood, planned, executed, and measured. We need the right systems in place that provide enough structure, accountability, and transparency that good business decisions can be made at the lowest appropriate level.
As the overall understanding of the underlying mechanisms of Agility increases, and real impediments are removed, dependencies are broken, business Agility will improve across the entire enterprise. But it all goes back to having a system you can trust. Because Agile, implemented only at the team-level doesn’t work.