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5 Hidden Barriers to Agile Transformation You Need To Pay Attention To

Agile obstacles (1)

On the journey to Agile transformation, every company must establish an approach to get over whatever impedes its capacity to become agile. 

Hiring Scrum coaches alone won’t be enough to make Agile succeed as strategic goals pivot to an emphasis on technology, mainly if you’re dealing with unravelling the challenging and seemingly unsolvable monolithic legacy process. An end-to-end approach to creating an infrastructure around solid technical practices is crucial. 

The problem is that there are many DevOps concerns that people rarely discuss that can secretly sabotage many firms’ ability to fully leverage the potential of Agile. This blog post will examine 5 frequently disregarded DevOps impediments to agility in enterprises to have a smooth transition to Agile.

 

Agile Obstacle 1: Packaged Software

How will your packaged solutions operate in the new setting?

Packaged Software - Agile obstacles

Most corporations strive to achieve decreased time-to-market, increased release frequency, and shorter increments once undergoing a transformation. Often, these objectives are hampered by the overhead costs associated with packaged software solutions and their testing. 

Not to mention that every time there is a new release, patch or version, you have to redo all the work of incorporating, migrating data, and personalising those solutions as when you first installed them. This takes tremendous time and effort.

The software suite doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Therefore, it will be challenging to have frequent deployment or continuous integration pipelines if you don’t have an effective testing strategy for your software. This way, it can take several months to go through manual testing.

Additionally, some businesses struggle to keep up with packaged software updates. They are years behind on versions, so far behind that the vendor no longer offers support for those releases. Some updates might take the same amount of time as the initial software installation.

 

Agile Obstacle 2: Skills Gap

Are the objectives you plan to accomplish during Agile transformation within your team’s current skill set?

Skills Gap - Agile obstacle

Not everyone in your team will have all the new skills you need for post-transformation. The process of changing how individuals work can take months or even years. Unfortunately, changing the way people work over the course of several months/years rarely lines up with any organisation’s transformation roadmap. Hence, having employees that lack the abilities required to meet the ways your firm is evolving can cause you delays in getting there.

For instance, there is a considerable difference in engineering skills required for releasing once every quarter vs once every day. For daily releases, you’d need people that are capable of test-driven development, code reviews, and support the speed of implementation.

There are several methods to address this concern; however, each requires effort, some more than others. Besides training your team with the newer abilities, you can either employ new staff with the specific talent you need or apprentice them from an early career path. Otherwise, you can augment your team using external vendors. 

 

Agile Obstacle 3: IT Vendors

Can your vendors provide the necessary expertise to assist the Agile Transformation initiatives? 

IT vendors - Agile obstacles

Team augmentation through external IT service providers for variable staffing is rising in popularity. Nevertheless, as your firm transitions to Agile, some vendors can’t deliver the control you require.

For example, you get people from your technology partner, train and equip them with new skills to bring them along to assist you to attain greater results, only for them to get switched out shortly afterwards. Hence, ideally, you should ask vendors for individuals with skills. They don’t necessarily need to be Agile. Nonetheless, you can set a minimum standard for how they can support your Agility while working together. 

If your vendor can’t satisfy the requirement, it’d be more beneficial to find a new one who will truly assist you in keeping your Transformation on track.

 

Agile Obstacle 4: Career Incentives

Are the career aspirations of your employees in line with your transformation?

Career Incentives - Agile obstacles

As each company has objectives to reach, each of your team members certainly has personal career ambitions. So how do you evaluate employees against your company’s targets? 

Usually, there are agreed-upon metrics for assessing how your staff are progressing towards both personal and business objectives. But what if those are no longer in alignment once the company starts to change?

For instance, a major financial institution was having difficulty gaining the cooperation of their security team for the changes they were implementing during the Agile transformation. Although they preferred manual ownership over automation, it didn’t fit the corporation’s direction. At the end of the day, it all came down to how they were being scored. If the work were automated, they would not fulfil their yearly goals for their own career trajectory.

This is something you should pay attention to since it is an especially hidden obstacle that can be mistaken for a different kind of issue. It can be particularly prevalent among IT personnel and unionised employees whose contracts are measured by tasks and hours rather than outputs. 

Be prepared to pivot and set new objectives and career paths in order to realign your workforce with your firm’s transformation goals.

 

Agile Barrier 5: Lack of automation 

Have you managed to automate everything you can automate? 

Lack of automation - Agile obstacle

Anything manual in your processes will be a barrier when your Agile Transformation is geared toward smaller increments and frequent releases. In addition to testing or deployment, other processes such as onboarding, security tests, environment and application setup can also be considered for automation. Without automation in key areas, delivering business values fast and with quality is relatively hard.

You should tackle this with a DevOps mindset where the team is ultimately responsible for everything instead of having your teams set up to handle hands-offs and manual QA. Make a list of everything that has yet to be automated - between developers creating code and when the feature is deployed - then start automating each item one by one. 

This connects to the earlier hidden obstacles as well. Do your employees possess the necessary skills to facilitate more automation? Can your IT vendors help with your goals as well? 

 

Wrapping Up

Although these obstacles are the most typically hidden, they can be knowable beforehand. Now that you are aware of them and determined to employ Agile to its fullest, you need a strategy to overcome them effectively throughout your transformation. Ask yourself whether your team’s personal targets and skill sets align with your Agile needs and objectives. Also, ensure that your tech vendor is competent to help you streamline automation and agile transformation. Finally, make automation a priority rather than a luxury. 

With that being said, eliminating those hidden impediments is no easy task, and some can be more complex with certain enterprises. In that case, Agile coaches play a vital role in ensuring the adoption of best practices from the top down. If your business is in need of additional guidance to implement agility, you can always come to us for professional advice. With industry insights and cross-sector expertise, our team of certificated Agile coaches has delivered numerous Agile courses for enterprises of all sizes and help them accelerate their Agile journey. 

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