9 Things Successful Sponsors of [Agile] Transformations Do

Listen on the go!

While business transformations are critical to meet the market demands and staying relevant in the context of change, the journey of transformation is no easy task. It is fraught with many risks, which if not handled well may de-rail the entire program and its efforts.  The success or failure of a transformation program heavily rests on the shoulders of a sponsor, and the team that carries it.

RajendraPrasad Thota, Global Practice Head – Advisory & Transformation at Cigniti in this post says that he, as an advisor, has immensely benefited from the experiences of working closely with many sponsors who have transform-ed their organizations successfully. Raj has compiled the below list based on his experiences.

1. Vision

Successful sponsors always start with a why? They have painted the vision of how the transformation helps the organization. The executive leadership team who is investing the money is fully made aware of why the organization needs to transform into an agile way of working and what kind of support is required of them.

2. Business Case

To support the vision, successful sponsors put in a great effort to build a strong business case for transformation. The sponsors are:

  • ready to take help of external consultants who can bring in an outside-in view to help in benchmarking / mapping the best practices of the industry
  • eager to seek inputs on how to manage the investments for a transformation
  • are curious to find out how a transformed organization can look like
  • ready to do a check on the readiness, agility, scalability and capability of their teams for transformation
  • demand both outcomes and deliverables that support the outcomes
  • ensure that the transformation objectives are clearly articulated for the teams to implement

3. Models of Engagement

Successful sponsors are aware of bringing in the best talent and capabilities to support the transformational programs. They have:

  • decided on how to manage the transformation program
  • identified the capabilities and competencies required to manage the transformation program
  • planned the sourcing models
  • designed a model of engagement
  • identified the best team [ in or outsourced / vendors / partners / alliances]

4. Communication

The Sponsor and team ensure that business teams are made aware of why they [IT] are taking the route to improve the agility. They ensure:

  • that all the stakeholders are excited about the journey
  • to garner support, conduct roadshows, create buzz and communicate through the length and breadth of the organization about what is coming their way
  • that the cross functional silos / teams who are at odds with each other to work together
  • all the internal selling and smoothed out the bumps in the journey before the implementation journey kicks off
  • to showcase how a transformed organization can look like to all the impacted stakeholders
  • to share how the success of the transformation is measured and have a plan to share them with the teams

5. The Team

Successful sponsors know what great teams can do to make the transformation journey to be successful. They ensure that the execution team:

  • is composed of A-team members on the journey
  • the team is aware of the business objectives
  • the team has the necessary experience in handling the transformation programs
  • is trained on agile models / principles before the transformation program kicks off
  • educated on how an agile transformation program looks like
  • has identified the risks and mitigation plans
  • though has a day job can spare the necessary effort to take care of managing the transformation
  • spends quality time with teams / consultants / stakeholders to review the progress and take necessary actions to prevent it from failure
  • creates the necessary transparency and required diplomacy to bring in the change
  • has no personal agenda which can be in conflict with the transformation agenda
  • is aware of the impact on their roles in the transformed organization
  • is trained to have necessary skills / authority to build influence across different functional teams

6. Consumers [of Transformation Program]

Successful sponsors are aware of how the transformation program can impact their teams. They ensure to:

  • educate the teams who can be impacted by the change
  • create transparency on the progress and publish metrics of transformation to the impacted teams on a regular basis
  • get teams buy-in to support the new transformation in the organization
  • address any fears of role redundancies
  • support the transition to the new ways of working
  • continuously train new skills / capabilities required to move into an agile world

7. Retrospectives

Successful sponsors encourage the transformation teams to do retrospectives all through the implementation journey.

8. Celebrate

Finally, successful sponsors ensure that the transform’ed’ organization celebrates the journey with the teams.

9. Checklist!

And, successful sponsors, aka the transformers have a checklist to start with!

We, at Cigniti, including Raj, would appreciate your thoughts / experiences.