The senior management of this firm believed that not enough value was being delivered by their investment funding, with projects tending to go from ‘green’ to ‘red’ without warning and without any possibility of remediation. There was also confusion between forecast and actual expenditure caused by a separation between ‘supply’ and ‘demand’ resulting in cost-juggling to no benefit for the firm as a whole.
This situation had persisted for a number of years and had created a culture severely lacking in trust, which was being compounded by ever-increasing bureaucracy as individual power-centres demanded ever-more detail in an attempt to “see what’s really going on”.
We used our ‘mindset-first’ and ‘champion-led’ approach to engage individuals who were most likely to be supportive in each function. Through this early network we laid the foundation for convincing their peers and managers by agreeing a client-specific interpretation of the agile principles. This ensured that we started with common agreement – key to rebuilding the trust that is inherent to agile firms.
To capitalise on this early success we identified the areas that were closest to living the principles and used them as a template for the rest of the organisation – focusing on repeating success, rather than just removing blockers. By following our own agile cycle to learn through releasing incremental, early value we subsequently updated their governance structure, financial models, risk management, tooling, roles and responsibilities.
By starting with the agile mindset and then amending the organisation to let it grow, we have ensured that the client can continue to develop their own implementation of agile practices. Our client now has a much thinner structure for delivering change which relies on and builds collaboration between functions to provide value to the business. The thinner structure allows risk management and financial management to be much simpler and more transparent, helping to build trust with the support functions that are frequently seen as inhibiting change initiatives. Now ownership is felt both individually and collectively across the firm, reducing the ‘them and us’ mentality.