By John Roy\nYou want to be Agile.\u00a0 I get it.\u00a0 But whenever a business leader tells me that they want to be \u201cAgile\u201d, my first question is: \u201cWhy? What does that mean to you? And how will you know if you\u2019re making progress?\u201d \u00a0\nReal Agile transformations are hard.... really hard. They require organizational fortitude, tough prioritization choices, institutionalized trust, and a team of leaders who is willing to constantly encourage small failures.\u00a0\nThere are 3 phases of agility:\n\nKnowing Agile\u00a0\nDoing Agile\u00a0\nBeing Agile\u00a0\n\n KPMG\n\u00a0Knowing Agile is providing academic information about business agility and Agile practices.\u00a0 It starts with training and education, and often includes some level of certification or recognition that training has been completed.\u00a0 It typically does not include practical knowledge or experience.\nDoing Agile is practicing Agile rituals and ceremonies.\u00a0 Stand-up meetings, bi-weekly demos\/reviews, sprint planning, Kanban boards and story points are all indications of \u201cDoing Agile\u201d.\u00a0 But simply performing some practices which are recognized as Agile does not translate to an Agile work environment, high-performance teams, better quality or faster time to market.\u00a0\nBeing Agile is truly working differently.\u00a0 It includes a drastically new decision-making structure, fully integrated business involvement, persistent teams, product focus (not project), DevOps and a Shift Left culture.\u00a0 Ultimately, it means converting those rituals into daily habits which drive action.\u00a0\u00a0\nPREPARATION\nSome of the practices that we recommend in advance of an Agile Program launch include:\n\nShift to a product-driven organizational structure. Products rule the world, and software eats the world. Software will likely enable or envelope virtually every aspect of your business, and that\u2019s a good thing. Even the most traditional products and business models have been disrupted and digitized in the past two decades. Think of each product team as its own little company, and your job as a senior leader is to empower, nourish and mature that company.\u00a0\nFund innovation. Often, in addition to product teams, companies need to fund an innovation lab, design studio or similar team who can incubate product ideas and features- some of which will develop into new products and some will end up on the cutting room floor. The key is that they are given the resources and latitude to be creative. \u00a0\nTrain everyone in your company on Agile - seriously, everyone.\u00a0Start with a simple two-day course (there are plenty of them available), and expand out so that everyone is trained on the new methodology and ways of working within six months. Develop a role-based curriculum which allows for a gradual progression and long-term adoption model.\u00a0\nSelect a Scaled Agile Framework that allows your company to function properly, and that flexes with your organization. SAFe, LeSS, DAD, Nexus, Scrum@Scale and Spotify are all examples of such frameworks.\u00a0\nImplement a new set of metrics: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are the value metrics which should be tracked at the top of the house. They are derived from your strategic themes\/objectives and have specific results with targets (hard numbers) that can be measured.\n\nIMPLEMENTATION\nOnce the Agile Transformation Program has been developed, there are a set of practices which will facilitate successful implementation:\n\nEstablish an Agile Delivery Office (ACOE, ADO, LACE, etc.) staffed with people who really \u201cget\u201d Agile. This is not a repurposed PMO.\u00a0 While this team may perform portfolio management and reporting for you, they need to understand the new ways of working in order to implement it properly as you scale, and guide it as you grow. \u00a0\nRelease new product features more frequently - often faster than you are comfortable with.\u00a0Short-cycle delivery is one of the most important principles of Agile. It is not mini-waterfall. Quarterly releases are not short-cycle. Every two weeks (or more frequently) is the industry recognized standard for short-cycle delivery to production.\u00a0 Ultimately, you will fail fast and fail small, with a backup\/back-out plan. \u00a0\nEmbrace DevOps. An investment in DevOps tools and integrations provides the grease that turns the wheels.\u00a0 DevOps and continuous integration \/ continuous deployment (CI\/CD) capabilities allow teams to release features in a pre-determined and disciplined manner, this minimizes failures, automates testing, satisfies audit requirements and predicts potential issues with a documented back-out plan.\u00a0 \u00a0\n\nEXPANSION & IMPROVEMENT\nAs the Agile Program expands and matures, there are several practices which can be employed to help organizations improve:\n\nTrust your teams. Directionally, senior leadership sets the strategic objectives and OKRs, but self-organized and self-empowered teams (led by autonomous and authorized Product Owners) will determine the best approaches, technical architectures and all of the \u201chow\u201d when developing, testing and launching product features. This means that there are no more Steering Committees; escalation procedures change dramatically, and issues get resolved at the lowest possible level (team level).\u00a0\nPractice transparency. This applies to status, roadblocks, deliverables, stories\u2026. everything that the team works on.\u00a0 Transparency should be a mantra for all Agile teams, as well as their leadership.\u00a0 All deliverables are works in progress, therefore should be open for inspection at all times.\u00a0 They key is for Product Owners to set expectations with senior leadership about the nature of those deliverables and how they are being delivered.\u00a0 The best measure of progress is working software available to users.\u00a0\nManage progress indictors differently. Stop managing by status reports and eliminate date-driven mandates.\u00a0You can\u00a0select product launch targets and MVP milestones, but they will not be fixed scope; they will be more thematic in nature without specific features fully defined.\u00a0 Information radiators (as they are referred to in Agile-speak) are incredibly important.\u00a0 Transparency is an Agile core principle, and as such, it should be built into every transformation.\u00a0 \u00a0\n\nFor those who are habitually agile, seeing failures is proof that you are learning, constantly improving and getting closer to your customers.\u00a0 Those who think in an Agile mindset put trust and transparency above all else in their culture.\u00a0 So, look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are truly agile, or if you are simply going through the motions.\nFor more information on how to be Agile, please click here.