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7 success criteria of an agile transformation

Definition of agile transformation

Agile transformation” – nowadays companies can hardly ignore these two words. Across all industries, ongoing digitalization requires companies to be increasingly adaptive and responsive. Moreover the changing market dynamics and the rising competition continuously increase the pressure. Numerous companies are on the verge of repositioning themselves for the future or are already in the midst of an agile transformation. But what does agile transformation actually mean? We understand agile transformation as the further development of a company based on agile values and the establishment of a corporate culture based on these values. Agile working methods give companies the opportunity to react faster to changing customer requirements, increase productivity and thereby reduce time-to-market. When compared to classically operating companies, this creates a clear competitive advantage. However, the company-wide change also presents organizations with major challenges.

The 7 success criteria of an agile transformation

As consulting experts for digitalization and agile ways of working, our focus is on guiding companies of all sizes through the agile transformation. Based on our practical experience, we have developed 7 criteria that we consider essential for the successful implementation of an agile transformation.

Clear management philosophy

For a successful transformation, the change must be lived – from the board level to the working level. This includes a clear commitment, consistent support and practicing the new agile way of thinking and working on a daily basis. Management in particular has the central role of a leader, supporter and role model of change and steering teams safely through the agile transformation.

Motivating collaboration

A holistic and motivating vision gives a clear direction for the future of the company. Authenticity and comprehensibility of the vision are just as important as its transparent communication. This is the only way to improve collaboration and create a credible sense of togetherness as well as enthusiasm for the agile transformation. By creating this foundation, the agile mindset is spread throughout the company so that the vision can be implemented.

Consistent goal alignment

Company’s strategic goals must be derived from its overarching vision as well as well aligned with the company’s future structures and capabilities. An actionable plan needs to be created together with the vision and the goals. It is also necessary to determine which competencies must be available in the company. It is important to communicate the strategy throughout the company and to regularly check and validate the achievement of objectives in the process of the agile transformation.

Involvement of all stakeholders

All central stakeholders (including the employee representatives, HR development, finance, compliance and customers) must be involved in the transformation process at an early stage in order to provide support. Jointly addressing overarching topics such as agile budgeting, controlling and career paths in the new organization helps to realign the company. Open and constructive debates among stakeholders are the key to successful implementation of the transformation as well as continuous improvement.

Results-oriented and incremental working method

Starting from a common vision, milestones must be defined and their achievement must be tracked. Ongoing tracking against defined milestones, helps to ensure that there is joint focus on the overarching objective and that the vision is supported across all levels. Implementation is agile, through incremental delivery and success monitoring. Reflection on partial results enables progress to be reviewed regularly and corrections to be made, freely in line with an agile way of working. The use of a diagnostic tool might also prove to be helpful at this point.

Realistic expectations and a transparent approach

The transformation from long-established, classic structures and methods to an agile organization does not take place within a very short time. Expectations regarding the speed of implementation should be based on the available capacity. The less internal or external capacity is available, the more patient the implementation must be. The quality of existing products and services should not suffer from a transformation. In particular, management should be careful not to place an excessive burden on personnel. Therefore, based on realistic expectations, a transparent approach is necessary. A structured approach supports the agile transformation. This shows how coaching, training, employee development, consulting, etc. are integrated into the implementation and provides a transparent overview of the procedure.

Continuous learning and improvement

Anchoring agile behaviors and mindsets in the corporate DNA is crucial for the long-term success of the agile transformation. Only through the drive for continuous improvement and the associated change can the organization develop solutions for unknown problems. Feedback cycles across all levels systematically support the identification and sharing of successful practices as well as promote innovation.

Agile transformation means change

The transformation from classic to agile ways of working and thinking presents many companies with some major challenges. However, if a few success criteria are observed, many obstacles can be circumvented right from the start. These criteria are equally relevant for companies of all sizes and must be taken into consideration at all levels within the organization. In particular, we see transparent communication and support at all levels as essential for a successful agile transformation. The will for continuous improvement, coupled with ongoing reviews, is also an important factor.


Do you have questions about agile transformation or would you like to contact our team of experts directly? We look forward to hearing from you.