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Digital Transformation: the Agile journey’s destination

The final installment of a blog trilogy to guide you on your Agile journey towards Digital Transformation.

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In the final installment of our blog trilogy on the Agile journey towards Digital Transformation, let’s take a look at Level 5, the last level of agility, and what challenges you may face. If you missed the previous two articles on the first four agility levels, you can read the first and second one on our blog.

Level 5 is the ultimate goal for many organisations, as this is where change is actively happening within their organisation. It’s a goal that can be achieved through having the right mindset, the right people and the right process to support it.

I get asked a lot by senior leadership teams about execution of a digital strategy and how they can really deliver their remit to reach this somewhat utopian state. More often than not, they have a rather large, very useful document, provided by a larger consultancy firm, about all issues they face, but without a clear way to begin executing. There can be a long road of change ahead for some, so let's look at what pushes organisations over the edge to be world leading in this digital age.

Level 5: Organisational Transformation Champions

Welcome to what winning looks like:

  • You have successfully helped your organisation to transform into an Agile mindset, and many (if not all) parts of the organisation have processes in place to support the way you and other teams work
  • Your organisational hierarchy now is very flat;  your teams have ownership of how they do their best work, and visibility of other teams at all levels across the company
  • You understand how your organisation's vision applies to your team, and how your work plays a part in the company's overall success; your team self-assesses their progress
  • You have a strong internal Agile community and are proactively managing communities with external organisations or at events like meetups and conferences
  • Many within your organisation are thought leaders in both Agile practices and Digital Transformation; you potentially are helping other organisations along their own journeys
  • Your organisation has leapt ahead of its competition by consistently delivering to market, and using user feedback to define your next products or offerings
  • Your competitors are following your lead, rather than creating their own path, which means you are exploring alternate avenues for new business models
  • Your teams are high functioning and cross-functional in all areas of delivery and departments
  • Your teams have mastered the art of agility and evolved their practices; they may have invented their own frameworks for success
  • Your old business model is no longer valid—new digitally driven business lines have overtaken what used to be your leading products or services
  • Your staff may be incentivised by a new remuneration model; everyone, not just those  at the senior level, more often share the rewards of their best work. You may no longer have performance reviews in the traditional sense, and have replaced this with other assessments or criteria.

This may read like a utopian state, but it really is achievable. In fact, SilverStripe is nearing this stage ourselves—we are firmly at Level 4 with a goal of Level 5 on the horizon.

The lessons we have learnt along the way are many. When reaching Level-4-to-Level-5 state, it is less of a specific targeted plan for change, and much more of an ongoing ‘inspect and adapt’ situation, broadly and often.

Digital Transformation is a key driver in our own annual plan, and in a recent conversation with our CEO, Sam Minnée, the question was raised whether there is now the need to evolve businesses to include roles like ‘Chief Transformation Officer’ (CTrO) in a similar way to CTO roles have come to the fore. I do believe that, given the importance of this journey to the health and success of organisations, traditional roles will fall away, and new roles like a ‘CTrO’ or other yet-to-be-coined titles will come about. However, with a lot more distributed ownership, these may look very different. I actually hope so, as it would be a good example of a transformative change.

SilverStripe is a commanding force in breaking through these early stage barriers, offering resilient and experienced Transformation Coaches and Agile teams to support organisations make this transition. We can begin at any level, from senior management to development teams, with a remit to help plan the execution in a logical, incremental way, and guide the change, reflecting back any behaviour that is holding things back. We can help optimise practices by showing the way. Once internal systems and processes are strong enough, we can ease out, offering support as and when needed.

So finally, where to next, no matter where you are on your journey

  • Focus your transformation goals on the following eight principles we have identified 

DX principles

  • Make a simple plan and begin—do not be held back by the enormity of the task at hand
  • Inspect and adapt often
  • Manage and communicate the change across the organisation often
  • Enable your people! Evolve your processes! Enquire with your audience!

If you need help getting underway, get in touch with us and we can help create your 30-day action plan to get you started on execution, as ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’…

Good luck on your DX journey!

To find out more about how you can make your workplace Agile, download the free Agile Mojo Booster below!

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About the author
Diana Hennessy

Diana heads up the Channel Excellence team at SilverStripe, ensuring clients and partner agencies deliver amazing customer experiences through the web, every time, with the best tools and practices. Diana believes coaching executive level leaders in Agile practices and focusing on practical execution of Digital Transformation strategies is essential in delivering large scale transformations in both government and commercial organisations.

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