Enabling Transformational Change through Agility

Enabling Transformational Change through Agility

Insights | 09 January 2018

For many organisations, transformational change is becoming the new norm. Digital disruption, AI, globalisation, market and competitive demands, regulatory requirements, changing societal behaviours and security breaches are some of the common drivers triggering organisations to embark on a transformational change journey. Such drivers are dynamic and oft contradictory.

But what do we really mean by Transformational Change?

Succinctly put transformational change is about taking an organisation from its current operational state to a new future. Sounds straight forward enough. The caveat is that when we are talking about true transformational change, we cannot articulate in detail what the new future operational state will look like. In many instances, at the start of the transformation, the future state is an ‘unknown’, only discovered progressively and incrementally over time.

Agility and Transformational Change

Transformational change exists in an environment of complexity, risk, ambiguity, conflicting priorities and typically uncontrollable (even unpredictable) external factors.

As such by definition, a different mindset and behaviours are required; we need to take calculated risks, we need to proceed by trial and error with a focus on learning and feedback, we need to accept that to succeed we may first need to fail (the sooner the better…). In essence, we need to be agile and apply agility relentlessly.

Yet, the terms agile and agility can be construed with many different and varying definitions. Here we are talking about the need to be flexible, adaptive, innovative, reactive, and empowering whilst focussing on ensuring only enough is done at the right time by the right people to achieve outcomes and realise benefits.

6 Es of Enabling Transformational Change through Agility

  1. Embrace the unknown and focus on what’s next. Recognise that change is inevitable, plans will need to be adapted based on feedback and recent experiences. Planning will need to be ‘just enough’, ‘just in time’ for the next foreseeable horizon.
  2. Empower people. Governance and decision-making should empower the right people at the right levels to make things happen. It is not about bureaucracy but quick and effective decision-making.
  3. Early wins and benefits. The focus should be on incremental delivery so that we can attain business outcomes and realise benefits as soon as possible. This enables further learnings and feedback, with the focus on providing business value.
  4. Engagement and communications. The heart of transformational change is people: leaders, the business, and staff at all levels need to be engaged, involved and a part of the journey. Communication needs to be clear, continuous, iterative and incremental.
  5. Effective delivery methods. Recognise that not all projects within your transformational change programme will be the same: some may run using different agile approaches (e.g. Scrum, Kanban) others may favour more traditional or even hybrid approaches. The focus should be on achieving the desired end state by applying the most practical approaches, balancing any given constraints.
  6. Enable success. Keep in mind the overarching business strategy and ‘the why’ of the transformational change. Build in review points, keep asking: What have we achieved? What difference has it made? What do we need to do differently as a result of our learnings? Have we done enough?

If you are embarking on a transformational journey or striving for business agility speak to us today on +65 6818 5771 to find out how we can help.

About The Author

Tracey Copland, Head of Best Practice at PM-Partners group

Tracey has been involved in management, finance and business consulting including Portfolio, Programme & Project management for 20+ years. Together with her skills and experience, Tracey is a flexible professional seeking to achieve a high work standard, focussing on value-add.

Having been with PM-Partners group for 15 years, Tracey has held roles including Consultant/Trainer, Head of Training and currently, Head of Best Practice. Tracey has provided training and consultation services to clients in both the public and private sectors, across various disciplines and at all levels including Project, Programme, Portfolio and Change Management, and Agile practices.

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