Webinar Recap “Pulling Off An Agile Transformation: True Stories from Leaders”

By: Agile Velocity | Oct 09, 2018 |  Agile Transformation,  Leadership,  Webinar

We could give you advice all day on a million different Agile subjects–but we thought it might help to hear from someone who’s been in your shoes.

We interviewed Will Simpson, COO of New Iron, and our own Erik Cottrell, SVP of Client Success, to learn about their Agile transformation stories from ideation to execution and everything in between.

See below for the full webinar recording and summary.


Erik and Will met nearly 7 years ago when they led an Agile transformation in their organization as the Product leader and the Technology leader respectively. Here is their story.

Experiencing Pains In The Organization

Erik and Will’s company had huge aspirations and smart people. Unfortunately, there was no formal product team, broken and non-existent processes, eager clients, and a challenging multi-stack technology foundation that led them to seek change.

Betting On Agile

Will initially brought Agile to their organization at a team level through training with Agile Velocity. He invested time into creating a solid foundation of knowledge across all teams.

Further still, he sat down with each member of his technology organization and interviewed them. This process brought to light the lack of Agile expertise in his organization. This is when he made the decision to bring in Agile Velocity as a full transformation partner. However, he quickly understood a change of this size would require buy-in from all areas of the organization–not just technology.

Getting Buy-In

Tough Conversations

For Erik and Will, buy-in started as a series of hard, honest conversations between the two of them. They established an internal partnership built on trust, safety, and candor, which allowed them to depend on each other as they navigated through organizational change.

Remember: Even leaders don’t have to work alone.

Buy-In From Peers

Before you ever ask for buy-in, first ask yourself this question: “What matters to the other side?”  For your Finance leader, the answer is probably budget and process. For your HR leader, maybe it’s company culture.

Whatever the answer might be, focus on finding a way to account for those interests. Understanding what matters to another person or department is the first step in convincing them to join your cause.

Buy-In From Teams

Change has the potential to be a very scary thing. There will likely be individuals who worry about losing their job in the midst of organizational change. Communication of your goals and the realities of your planned changes will be key to mitigating tension or stress during your Agile transformation.

Erik and Will’s Agile Transformation Checklist

1. Answer the question “Why do we want to change the organization?”

Have a clear vision or goal for your Agile transformation you can communicate throughout the entire organization.

2. Gain buy-in

You cannot create lasting change without including the entire organization. Have open and honest conversations with your teams, leaders, and peers to gain their willing participation.

3. Have a change framework

Decide on a transformation or change framework that is right for your organization. (Explore our change framework, the Path to Agility®, here).

4. Find a great partner

A trusted partner is a game changer in an Agile transformation. Choose a partner that you can rely on for honesty, expertise, and guidance.

5. Lead with trust and candor

Creating a culture of openness and safety will be vital as you progress through your Agile journey–and it starts with the leaders.

6. Remember your customer

Agile is all about getting you closer to your customers. Don’t forget the benefits you’ll be delivering to them as a result of the changes you’re making.

7. Have fun!

Don’t let the stress of change overshadow your progress. Celebrate small wins–you deserve a pat on the back.


Click Here to Download the Recording

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