An Agile Transformation introduces major changes in these five layers of an organization

In the Leadership layer I introduce new leadership styles, which emphasize the negative effect of the command and control style and introduce new styles, such as servant leadership.

In the organizational layer I introduce the new cultures of cooperation and new structures and behaviors that are more team-oriented instead of individual.

Furthermore, I introduce the brand new roles such as product owners on the product and business layer as well as how the Business can collaborate with the people from IT.

In the Delivery layer I introduce the new frameworks and methods to tackle Agile scaling problems. An overview is given of some specific frameworks such as the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), LeSS and Scrum @ Scale.

Finally, I introduce the Execution Layer with new team-based patterns, such as Kanban, Scrum and Scrumban.

Obviously, we are dealing with change at much more than just the software development team level, so we typically need interventions across the organization beyond the coaching and training of development teams. And because we are introducing a whole new set of values and principles to the organization that promote completely different individual and organizational behaviors, we would do well to pay more attention to the change process and ensure the success of their change initiatives. For years, change professionals have drawn on a wealth of knowledge and proven OCM practices and frameworks to help organizations succeed in their large-scale change initiatives. So it is inherent to the success of the transformation to involve change managers and change agents (eg Agile coaches).

Proven OCM frameworks, such as ADKAR & Accelerate, help organizations realize large-scale change

In addition to Kotter's 8-step process, I include the iterative ADKAR model in the change because it clearly deviates from a linear change handling. I would like to emphasize that during my challenges with business change I have never seen a linear transition of the 5 milestones within the ADKAR model. It is often a process in which people sometimes revert to the previous step. I see it rather iterative and incremental.

ADKAR stands for:

Awareness: Before a change can take place, the individuals affected by the change must be made aware of the need for the change. In an Agile transformation, we need to ensure that the entire organization is aware of the goals why we are changing. We can do this with a well thought-out communication strategy and plan.

Desire: Even if the organization as a whole is aware of the need for change, they may not want to implement the change. For change to be successful, the entire organization must want the change. In an Agile transformation, the desire for change is expressed through the set of Agile values and practices that drive the organization's goals and aspirations and will help it succeed in an increasingly uncertain market. By generating a shared sense of purpose, the people in the organization can begin to crave the change.

Knowledge : To be successful with the change, there is a basic level of new knowledge that we must bring into the organization. We can use training as a way to introduce the new level of knowledge as part of an Agile Transformation.

Action: There is a minimum of performance and capability that we expect to see in the future state, so we need some way to measure the new power. We can use a combination of assessments and coaching to improve the capability of an Agile Transformation.

Reinforcement: It can sometimes be easy to get back to our old ways, so we need some way to reinforce the new future behavior to make the change stick.


As you can see, there are a number of classic models and frameworks that have been used successfully in the past to address major organizational change initiatives. What all these models have in common is the attention to the change process. Change, even for a very good reason, is nevertheless very difficult on an individual level. It is imperative to ensure that there are good structures in place to ensure that the exponentially more difficult organizational change achieves the goals and benefits for which the change was coordinated in the first place.