Transformation & Change108

Interview with Agile Transformation

We sat down with Sally Elatta of Agile Transformation for an interview about their involvement with the Business Agility Institute.

Evan Leybourn, Sally Elatta

March 4, 2018


Agile Transformation logoBusiness Agility is a complex topic; from organisation design, adaptive leadership, governance & strategy to agile practices outside IT - it means something different to different organisations. One of the reasons we put on the Business Agility 2017 conference was to explore these topics and bring together leading organisations from around the world. In the leadup to the conference, we're going to showcase some of the companies who are supporting us and explore what business agility means to them.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Sally Elatta from Agile Transformation. In their own words, Agile Transformation, Inc. is passionate about helping executives and leaders succeed with Enterprise Business Agility transformations and building healthy high-performing teams. They enable measurable and sustainable transformations through combined Strategy, Coaching, Training, AgilityHealth measurement tool and eLearning offering.

Let's start at the beginning. What does business agility mean to you?

Business agility for us means enabling the entire business (beyond Technology) to deliver customer value faster, better and with healthy engaged teams leveraging the Agile/Lean mindset. It means being able to respond quickly to market changes while innovating ahead and anticipating customer desires. It also means leading through extreme uncertainty and disruption.

Why is it important that your business operates in an agile way?

For our customers, Agile/Lean enables the vision above of business agility. For some healthcare/insurance customers their market is being disrupted and Agile has helped them stay nimble and respond quickly to these changes. For other financial services it has helped them deliver faster and become more customer focused. For product development Agile and Lean Startup has helped them gain a competitive advantage and deliver products their customers love. We operate using Agile because we practice what we preach!

What have been some of the biggest benefits you've seen? What has been the response from your clients or customers?

The CEO of BCBSNE said that "In certain parts of the organization, we've doubled our capacity without re-work" in this video. His CFO said he's seen a 30% ROI from their Enterprise Agile transformation. At a large fortune 15 firm, our sponsor won an award for Speed to Market and taking advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Where did you start, what triggered you to become and agile organisation?

Our clients have usually started in IT. At BCBSNE, we delivered a Servant Leadership workshop and the SVP of Claims attended. She said, 'This applies to my team too, actually much of Agile can apply as well'. She then asked for a strategy session to help develop how claims operations teams can adopt some Agile practices as well and learn about Servant Leadership. Soon Agile was applied for a large program that migrated all clients to a new claims system and used a big kanban wall to manage the process. The executives said 'This process worked so well for this large program, why can't we use it at the enterprise level?'. The ECC room was born to visualize the enterprise portfolio using Kanban walls.

What are the top 3 indicators that show an organisation is ready to take agile outside IT?
  1. Leadership understanding of what Enterprise Agile/Lean really mean.
  2. Business buy-in and engagement with taking Agile to their areas.
  3. Technology leaders letting go of 'hiding Agile' from their business peers. Many CIOs want to keep Agile within IT and the ones that bring it up as an Enterprise method are the ones that enable this change.
What do you see are the biggest obstacles companies face in being agile?
  • Leadership and culture
  • Executives not understanding what it takes to enable business agility
  • Current culture resists change
  • Managers afraid of their role changing and losing control
  • Thinking Agile is for IT teams
Why should someone come to Business Agility 2017?

To engage with other leaders and colleagues who are on the same transformation journey, share their knowledge and learn something new they can apply themselves.

Anything else that you want to include?

We recently become the first US based company to receive the Business Agility ICAgile accreditation for our Enterprise Business Agility Strategy workshop. Agile Transformation is a Gold Sponsor for the Business Agility Conference in New York City on 23-24 February 2017.

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