Increase Your Odds of a Successful Agile Transformation

Agile transformations are one of  the most substantial investments modern organizations are making. Leaders can increase the odds of a successful digital transformation with eight strategic steps:

Championing Agile Transformation: Start With These 8 Steps – the SMART approach

 SCOPING (Steps 1 and 2)

  1. Evaluate gaps and define new horizons. Before embarking on an agile transformation, leaders should identify the most salient agile gaps in their company.

Internally, they should address shortcomings and opportunities to execute the organization’s agile strategy. Externally, benchmarking existing capabilities against competitors and industry standards will provide leaders with a perspective on what’s next.

Plethon can offer you a free Agile Assessment so you can understand what your current status on Agility is. What this Agile Asssessment does, in essence, is to quickly identify areas of strength in your organisation that you can harness effectively to make business agility a reality in your business, or to improve an existing agile organisation.

You can find an example of such an Agile Assessment here. Please get in touch with us via our mobile number 0497/053615 or our company e-mail address if you are interested in a free assessment for your company.

Build a measurable case. After evaluating the existing gaps, leaders need to shortlist the most critical opportunities to agilize their business model and select one or two initiatives to focus on.

Aiming for multiple initiatives at once generates confusion and rarely yields any positive outcomes. The most agile-ready organizations have a committed C-suite that converts abstract opportunities into a few specific and measurable business cases with concrete timelines, meaningful KPIs and sufficient resources.

MODELING (Steps 3 to 4)

  1. Sponsor the vision. Agile transformations often start strong at the top but lose momentum as they cascade to the frontline. Leaders need to convert business cases into an inspirational vision that resonates with the entire organization – and role model it. Most leaders struggle to inspire; in fact, only 29% of employees worldwide strongly agree that their leaders make them enthusiastic about the future. If leaders fail to spark excitement, new agile initiatives will sputter as people resist change. Without employee advocacy, the agile battle is lost up front.
  2. Frame a change management approach. Digital transformations often affect multiple areas in an organization or even the whole company. In the absence of a strong change management framework, inertia from the top will only confuse or misalign the departments it is meant to help.

Leaders need to bear in mind that change management is key when deploying any agile transformation initiative, starting by articulating a strong vision and being strategic about who to involve and when.

ACTIVATING (Steps 5 and 6)

  1. Use an agile approach for the transformation itself. To rapidly deploy an agile transformation initiative, using agile methods for the transformation itself offer a substantial advantage. First, they are collaborative in nature and can ensure different areas of the company – and points of view – are taken into consideration. Second, shorter sprints help identify impediments early on and allow for quick shifts in strategy. Thirdly, you should of course “drink your own champagne”.
  2. Pilot use cases. Before committing more resources and implementing at scale, agile teams need to run short pilots to identify common success barriers, organizational strengths to lean on, and capabilities to build over time. Employees with a proven track record at leading new initiatives should have an early stake in ensuring the initiative can be scaled to the rest of the organization.


  1. Monitor impact and alignment. During and after the rollout of pilots, leaders need to closely monitor the impact of the new agile approach on the business case and compare it with the external benchmarks and internal projections. The pilot’s outcome should be coherent and consistent with the ultimate vision it is meant to bring to life. If it is not, leaders need to propose an alternate strategy to pilot before investing more resources to scale the initiative.


  1. Chart a scaling road map. If leaders obtain enough insights to validate their most salient hypotheses and reduce risks to an acceptable level, they should proceed to scale the initiative. Implementing agile – regardless of its purpose – at scale may represent an investment ranging from millions to billions of dollars. Such an investment requires a well-planned rollout strategy.

Building Agile capabilities is one of the top priorities in executives’ agendas – and for good reason. It’s not just resources at stake, but a company’s ability to stay ahead and remain profitable in an increasingly competitive business world. Yet according to ScrumInc., 47 % of agile transformation initiatives fall short of their objectives. Often, their failure is a direct consequence of poor change management.

Embracing an agile transformation is never easy, particularly in an era when technology continually reshapes the boundaries of what is possible. It’s more difficult when most employees don’t see the point or don’t feel ready for it. And even more so when the investment fails. Leaders with a systematic approach to taking advantage of new opportunities will win the battle of the future – and see the investment pay off.

This article was written by Carl Danneels. G. Taboada and J. Robison contributed to it.

How can Plethon Advisory help ?

Organizational realignment and restructuring –

The success or failure of any organization depends on its ability to meet the challenges of growth and change. Plethon Advisory helps organizations assess who they are and whom they serve, who their major competitors are, and the opportunities and threats that are on the horizon with unique values-based measures. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to create a structure that will enable your organization to achieve its present and future mission requirements.

Cultural transformation

Cultural transformation within an organization begins with a diagnosis that identifies areas of stress, potential, strengths, conflicts, and their underlying causes. Development of a strategy to address problems follows, along with adoption of an action plan that legitimizes change and empowers senior executives with a sense of shared commitment and responsibility. The Plethon Advisory process invigorates and empowers the entire organization and unleashes creativity and ownership. The result is a process where aligned values and awareness of human nature support wise decisions and make it easier to implement needed change.

Change management

Companies and organizations can meet the challenges of accelerated change with a carefully developed strategy that’s tailored to specific needs and implemented in a systematic approach. Understanding of those conditions for change and the predictable process of change includes attention to common patterns. Plethon Advisory will help you to prepare your management system to deal effectively with change and transformation through our SPIRAL DYNAMICS® assessment process and programs.

Executive development and management training

Plethon Advisory’s approach has a powerful impact on management development and skills training, particularly for individuals who are ready to take their skills to the next level. The training is exceptionally powerful because it involves solving real-world problems using techniques not taught in any business school. This approach will help your organization identify, prepare and coach talent.

Team building

Because most problems aren’t easily solved by individuals, organizations assemble teams with the power, knowledge and authority to make decisions and implement change. Plethon Advisory’s ® tools and insights enables organizations to build more effective teams by understanding individual members’ values in relationship to the values of the organization, its customers and industry values. Our approaches also help build teams where the members’ thinking is complementary and appropriate to the task rather than redundant or out of sync with the complexity of the issues at hand.

Communicating with people with different values and worldviews

People with different worldviews communicate differently, hear things differently and learn differently. Plethon Advisory’s SPIRAL DYNAMICS® programs enable people to understand these differences—including core motivators, information-processing styles, learning approaches and preferred management styles. This knowledge enables communication where both parties truly understand each other’s messages—spoken and unspoken.