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Habit #4 Start Small...Stay Small | Unlock Agile Transformation

A common behaviour many companies employ that you can have in your kit bag, which comes straight out of The Secret Playbook for Screwing Up Your Digital Transformation is to ‘start small…stay small’.

This behaviour also allows you to ‘think small’ and will see you continually looking for your silver bullet, as you spin up a range of tactics that you hope will work.

This 4th habit is rampant across all industries as one of the ‘Habits of Unsuccessful Digital Transformation’ you can employ to waste time, money and effort and kill off any chance that you will reach your goals. And there are a couple of solid contributors to this mindset.

Agile Transformation

It's starts by being…Agile!

 So… you're an avid reader of all the trends and have bought into the Agile transformation movement.

You know, if others are adopting Agile, then your competition could well be gaining a significant advantage on you by adopting Agile.

You can't afford not to stay with the trend and your leadership colleagues all agree.

You present in the company's Town Hall meeting and the employees are all getting excited, as you offer the opportunity up for some folks within the organisation to advance their careers by attending Agile transformation courses.

 The staff attends the training, and you ask them to share their thoughts on what they learned and how you should apply it within your organisation.

 The staff share with you; 

  • Joe from Finance – "Yeah… it's all about doing improving things iteratively and not boiling the ocean".
  • Sally from IT – "Yeah… it's all about experimenting and failing fast until you find what works".
  • Roger from Product Management – "It's also about starting small too until you find what works."
  • Fiona from HR "It brings the teams together better to collaborate and achieve things together and hold each other accountable."

This all seems to make good sense…why didn't we realise this before. You can't contain your excitement…So you go about agreeing to the next tranche of projects in the business that are important to the leadership team and you assign these out to your Agile trained staff to lead the projects.

You hear it from all the Software Vendors…so it must be right!

A good number of your projects require new software to help the business make some changes. So you ask the staff to engage a range of vendors…and the beauty parade begins.

You ask them all for their opinion on how best to start each of the projects, and they all tell you to "Start Small…this way, you can get a feel for what the software is capable of and scale it from there".

This fits like 'hand in glove' when you think back to the staff comments on adopting things in an Agile way.

You don't know it, but some software vendors just want to hit the 'new customer' metric, so they give you a crazy deal you can't refuse.

You think to yourself… 'Wow…this will also help with our budgets, as we don't have to eat the elephant all at once… I'd better update the leadership team on this… they'll be thrilled'.

Let's get cracking! - Agile Transformation

The beauty parade is over…And you have selected the vendors you want to work with and your Agile Sprints kick off in parallel.

You prepare yourself to watch with interest on which staff make a better go at this from within the project groups.

Weeks pass…and some of the team have showcased their first Sprint deliverables (Agile speak) well, but some have failed miserably. You take a couple of weeks to circle back to all teams to understand why things didn't go right as you also take in the lessons from the successful teams.

You can get some to the finish line but there are a couple that don't make the grade.

You feel OK about it, as most of the Sprints have gone well.

The company clock keeps ticking…

Time ticks on…and other priorities have crept into the business and this time you suggest…to take on any more initiatives it will be best to align the leadership team and their Agile leaders to each part of the business. This sounds to all like a sound argument to spread the load.

You start the process all over again…and without even realising it…the 'experiments' you completed in the first tranche of so-called 'projects' have all gone cold.

What is left behind is a small software subscription purchase and a business unit process subject matter expert to enjoy the improvement to the micro process within your business.

It's ground hog day…but you don't know it!

The cycle continues as the priorities within the business seem to keep changing.

The leadership team and employees all take great pride in the fact that you have adopted an Agile culture…but inside…you all wonder why you are not making any meaningful headway on hitting your goals.

Is your business struggling to meet its goals?

Is your business stuck in a 'start small' mindset, never achieving anything that truly optimises your business?

Don't be embarrassed by this habit, from the 'Secret Playbook for Screwing Up Your Digital Transformation'. More and more companies struggle to scale their initiatives to meet their goals by falling foul to the rhetoric they are drowned in. It's not a surprise…but it is a problem.

A2B Transformation was created to unlock agile transformation and help mid-market companies achieve growth and operational sustainability through our proven methods that help you avoid or recover from these situations and learn the best way to stay true to your long-term vision and company goals.

And you don't have to give up on 'being Agile' as you work towards your goals.

We help you identify the unintentional habits across your entire digital transformation journey to ensure success!


Talk to a2b today about setting up your digital transformation for success, growth, and operational efficiency.

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