ThinkIT Special Event – Effects of an Agile Transformation (Part 2)

Last Friday during our PMO Special Event, professionals from TCF Bank, Lifetime Fitness, US Bank, Cargill, General Mills, and others joined to brainstorm the effects of an Agile Transformation, ways to successfully move towards Agile and struggles encountered along the way. Below are a few of the questions the group discussed:  

  1. Does your company still have project managers and operate in a project model? If so, what steps are you taking to transition to a product model? Where do your PM’s fit in? 

If your company truly wants to transition to an agile environment, it’s essential to implement product teams instead of project teams. During an agile transformation, about 25-30% of Project Managers are converted into Scrum Masters. Others are moved into different roles in the organization, and some end up leaving the company.  

Status reports were also a hot topic. In an agile environment, there are no status reports, so it was discussed how to overcome resistance from leaders who are used to reviewing these reports and looking for green, yellow, or red project status. Instead, one Agile Coach recommended inviting leaders to product demos so they can see the progress being made. Another suggestion was inviting leaders to meetings discussing what came out of the sprint.  

  1. How are the Product Owners in your organization? Are they more mature or newer to Agile? What does their role entail? 

The role Product Owner varies from company to company. Some Product Owners are more inclined to strategize, while others are more tactical. As companies transition over, it’s important that everyone understands the role of the PO and what their responsibilities should be. In addition to understanding their role, each PO should maintain their own Roadmap which should be clearly defined throughout the organization.  

  1. How are coaches perceived? Do you ever find teams being resistant to bringing in a coach? How do you get them on board? 

How a coach is received can truly depend on the situation. We had many companies agree that coaches are very well received when they are invited – or a team specifically asks for a coach. Bringing in a coach is something you’d want your team to ask for so that it is a better received. Sometimes event bringing in an outside coach instead of an employee can be a better way to get the team on board.   

  1. Have you encountered any challenges with changing the mindset? 

Another big challenge that was addressed was changing the mindset. Many times, common questions asked are, “how much money was spent?” or “were you on time?” The goal of changing this mindset is to get people to ask questions like, “What were your results?” and “What was the outcome.”  

Thank you to everyone that attended the event – we look forward to continuing this conversation! 

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