Approach for Maturing an Agile Centre of Excellence

Establishing an Agile Centre of Excellence (CoE) to lead and drive agile transformations as well as ensure ongoing support on the organisation’s journey is critical. The key is to encourage behaviours, actions and an agile mindset to ultimately lead and affect cultural change.

CoE agile leadership 

Leadership is vital to the success of agile transformation initiatives. As highlighted by the 2020 State of Agile report (Version One), the key challenges experienced when adopting agile at scale indicates that lack of leadership support and internal culture remains an obstacle for success in many organisations.

As an enterprise agile coach, I look to the CoE  as the critical agile leadership group to address these challenges. As the CoE develops and mature its internal agile coaching capability, we  support and mentor them to  help them understand the  indicators of cultural change and how to drive behavioral change across the organisation. 

Cultural change

Adapted from Waisfisz’s cultural change model, our ZXM approach to cultural change looks at the different levels of organisational culture and articulates the coaching skills and capabilities needed at that level to help influence real and long lasting change. Some parts of cultural change are easier to influence and change such as symbols and actions – the doing part of agile. However the deeper behaviour, policies and beliefs are much harder to change. 

Dealing with resistance to change and finding ways to overcome is also an area that comes up regularly, especially as it relates to Agile/Digital Transformation. We focus on how as internal agile coaches, they can help support people through the change and create a desire to change and to be involved and have ownership of the change. 

Consistency of practices and standardisation

Another factor for failure of agile initiatives is inconsistent practices across the organisation. This is where we work closely with the CoE internal coaches to actively shared patterns and practices across programs that are aligned to organisational goals for the strategic initiatives and industry frameworks. This allows repeatable patterns and practices to be promoted and standardized across the organisation and ultimately drive an enterprise agile capability.

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