When it comes to agile adoption in an organization, there are agile consulting firms which help set up Agile practices and mindset within an organization which want an outside-in or an external perspective in case there are no in-house coaches to implement the same or there are competent members but organizations want to vet their current ways of working. The key values they serve are customer-centric, digital development initiatives that need to continually adapt to customer feedback.
This blog aims at explaining key aspects of Agile Consulting firms and how they operate. Some of the topics in the blog include
- What is Agile Consulting?
- What does an Agile Consulting company do?
- What are the services?
- Why do you need an external agile consultant?
- What makes a good Agile consultant?
Before we get into what an external consultant does and why you should consider having agile consultants for agile transformation, let’s look at why agile is needed and when should agile methodology be considered.
When should an agile methodology be considered?
Agile ways of working should be considered when organizations want to achieve specific benefits from an Agile approach such as execution certainty, improved collaboration, faster time-to-market, or better alignment with business objectives.
You should also consider agile when the organization wants to move away from traditional project management practices to bring in better results. Though it sounds obvious, the complexity in driving such change are far too many, as it directly challenges the statu-quo, highlights areas in organization that are in inertia and also people who are resisting change due to various reasons like ghost of the past, fear of failure, ‘what’s in it for me?’ or just hopelessness.
What Is Agile Consulting?
Agile consulting is an approach that focuses on helping organizations implement Agile methodologies to improve their product development, project management processes and overall mindset and culture but is context driven. Agile consulting is based on the Agile principles and values, which prioritize collaboration, flexibility, and rapid adaptation to change. At the same time, we need to be mindful of aligning agility within the constraints of the organization as we may not use the same prescription which may also become a hindrance for the organization.
Agile consultants work with organizations to help them adopt Agile practices, such as Scrum, Kanban, XP, and Lean, to improve their overall product development process. This will include providing specific training and on-the-job coaching to the teams, helping organizations transition to Agile, optimizing their Agile implementation, and providing support for Agile project management.
The goal of Agile consulting is to help organizations become more flexible, adaptive, and responsive to change by adopting Agile methodologies and aims to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of an organization’s current ways of working, leading to increased customer satisfaction and better business outcomes.
What does an Agile Consulting Company do & their core services?
An Agile consulting company provides guidance and support to organizations looking to adopt an Agile approach to project management and software development. It doesn’t expect too much to know about the domain or the technological nitty-gritties but emphasizes more on the objectives and the corresponding key results. These companies specialize in helping organizations understand the principles of Agile and how to implement them in their own workflows.
The services offered by Agile consulting companies can include:
- Agility Health Assessment: Agile consulting journey should start with a due diagnostics or as-is assessment of the current agile maturity and agility within the organization on specific parameters
- Design agile transformation Journey: Agile consultants help organizations transition from traditional project management approaches to Agile project management approaches . Consultant will understand the organizational context, business objectives, current ways of working, culture and identify the transformation roadmap in collaboration with senior management.
- Marry Business Context with Agile:A very crucial element of Agile consulting is to understand the business context and translate and tailor agile practices which add value to the core objectives of the organization
- Drive Agile Culture and Mindset:Agile consultants drive agility as a culture and mindset over and above frameworks, processes and tools across all levels of the organization
- Implement Processes and Tools:Agile consultants help organizations choose and implement the right tools to support their Agile processes. This may include project management software, collaboration tools, and agile project management software
- Bring Role Clarity and Rigor: Agile consultants help organizations to bring in role clarity and build internal competency so that agile ways of working are internalized across the teams. They also help teams to get into the rigor of sprinting by hand holding the teams in managing various agile events, ceremonies, meetings, metrics, dashboards etc
The goal is to help organizations adopt and integrate Agile principles into their work processes, resulting in improved project delivery, better collaboration, and increased customer satisfaction.
Agile coaches from agile consulting firms typically do everything from training, coaching, mentoring the teams to move from current ways of working to agile ways of working. Agile coaches also help the teams in choosing the rights tools for agile implementation. Agile coaches help the teams mature in agile processes and increase the agile maturity levels
Why use Agile consulting services? Benefits of Agile Consulting Services
Organizations choose to use Agile consulting services for a variety of reasons, including:
- Unbiased approach. The agile consultants are usually not influenced by hierarchy, structure of the organization. As the consultants are usually external and on contract they come with buy in from the leadership, helping them to have an unbiased approach.
- Context driven: Instead of focusing on applying agile straight away, an agile consultant would observe the current ways of working, understand the business objectives, conduct As-Is Assessment, work on gap analysis and then figure out what areas of organization or projects agile is applicable.
- Outside in view: As external agile consultants are outside of the organization their perception around the problem areas is completely different from the ones who are within the system.
- Framework agnostic solution: The agile consultants carry the complete agile toolset thereby enabling to have an open mind around the kind of frameworks to be used based on the type of projects being used not following a typical formula.
- Extensive Expertise: Agile Consultants usually work in a contractual model or engagement model which enables them to work with multiple organizations and teams. With this, they are exposed to a wide range of scenarios and solutions and also have wide exposure to diverse teams, frameworks and best practices.
While consulting firms bring expertise in driving the change, it is also important to know that the change cannot happen overnight as there is no silver bullet that could solve your problem right away. Driving the change in mindset and building the right culture needs collective ownership and a lot of interventions at levels ranging from individual, team, program, portfolio and entire organization.
What makes a good agile consultant?
A good Agile consultant has several key traits that sets them apart:
- Knowledge and Experience with Agile Methodologies : A good Agile consultant has a deep understanding of Agile methodologies, having worked on multiple Agile transformation journeys and helped diverse organizations successfully implement Agile
- Communication skills: Agile consulting requires effective communication and collaboration with teams, stakeholders and senior management. A good Agile consultant should have excellent communication skills and ability to articulate complex ideas in a simple and clear manner
- Adaptability: Agile methodologies emphasize flexibility and the ability to quickly adapt to change. A good Agile consultant must be able to adapt to the unique needs and challenges of each organization they work with
- Facilitation skills: Agile consultants often lead workshops, training sessions, and Agile ceremonies, such as sprint planning and retrospectives. A good Agile consultant has strong facilitation skills and can create a productive and engaging environment for their clients. They also bring in many creative ideas to make facilitation more effective
- Technical expertise: A good Agile consultant should have a strong understanding of software development, project management and tools which can help them give structure to the agile processes.They should provide practical advice and guidance on how to apply Agile methodologies
- Coaching skills: Agile consulting often involves coaching individuals and teams on how to adopt and practice Agile. A good Agile consultant has strong coaching skills and can help teams develop Agile mindset over time
- Collaboration and teamwork: Agile consultants should be able to work well with others and help foster a collaborative and inclusive environment
A good Agile consultant is a skilled facilitator, communicator and a coach who has a deep understanding of Agile methodologies and a passion for helping organizations improve their product development and project management processes.
Why are external agile consultants effective?
Organizations may choose to use external Agile consulting services for several reasons, including:
- Expertise: Agile consultants bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the table, having worked with a variety of organizations and helped them successfully adopt an Agile approach. They can provide valuable guidance and support to organizations as they navigate the challenges of adopting Agile
- Objectivity: External Agile consultants bring an objective perspective to the table, which can be valuable in helping organizations identify and overcome any challenges they may be facing with their current processes and approaches
- Customization: External Agile consultants can tailor their services to the specific needs of an organization, helping them to design and implement a customized Agile solution that meets their unique needs and goals
- Time saving: By working with an external Agile consultant, organizations can save time and resources that would otherwise be spent on training and developing internal Agile expertise
- Improved results: By leveraging the expertise and experience of an Agile consultant, organizations can achieve better results from their Agile adoption, resulting in improved project delivery, increased efficiency and productivity, and higher levels of customer satisfaction
An external Agile consulting service can provide valuable support and guidance to organizations as they adopt an Agile approach, helping them to achieve better results and realize the benefits of Agile more quickly and effectively.
How do agile consulting companies work? The stepwise approach of an agile consulting engagement
// The picture is a sample agile transformation journey Plotted for one of our customers at Benzne Consulting private limited
The step-wise approach of an Agile consulting engagement typically involves the following steps:
- Current State Assessment: The first step in an Agile consulting engagement is to assess the current state of the organization’s Agile practices and agile maturity.. This involves conducting surveys, interviews, and observations to understand the current processes, tools, and practices in place.
- Goal setting: Based on the assessment results, the Agile Coach and the organization defines the goals and objectives for the engagement, including what the organization hopes to achieve through its Agile transformation.
- Agile training: The next step is to provide Agile training to the organization, including an introduction to the principles and values of Agile, and specific Agile frameworks such as Scrum, Kanban, and Lean.
- Adoption planning: The Agile Coach will work with the organization to develop a plan for adopting Agile practices, including which practices to adopt, when to adopt them, and how to manage the transition.
- Implementation: The next step is to implement the Agile practices, including facilitating Agile ceremonies, coaching individuals and teams, and monitoring progress.
- Continuous improvement: The final step is to continuously assess and improve the organization’s Agile practices, ensuring that the organization is effectively applying Agile methodologies and achieving its goals.
A step-wise approach of an Agile consulting engagement involves assessment, goal setting, training, adoption planning, implementation, and continuous improvement, with the goal of helping organizations effectively adopt and improve their Agile practices.
Why is Agile not working in some organization?
There can be several reasons why Agile may not be working in some organizations. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Lack of buy-in: Agile requires a cultural shift and a change in mindset, and success depends on buy-in from both the leadership and the team. If the leadership or team members are resistant to change or do not understand the benefits of Agile, it may not be successful
- Incomplete adoption: Agile requires a full commitment and adoption of its principles and practices. If an organization only adopts some of the practices or fails to embrace the Agile mindset, it may not be effective
- Lack of training and coaching: Agile requires a different set of skills and a different mindset than traditional project management approaches. Teams that are new to Agile may need training and coaching to effectively adopt the necessary skills and mindset
- Inflexible processes: Agile requires an iterative and adaptive approach, but some organizations may have rigid processes and structures that prevent them from fully embracing the Agile approach
- Unclear roles and responsibilities: Agile requires clear roles and responsibilities, but some organizations may have unclear or overlapping responsibilities, leading to confusion and inefficiencies
- Lack of collaboration and communication: Agile requires a high level of collaboration and communication between team members and stakeholders, but some organizations may have poor collaboration and communication practices, leading to inefficiencies and miscommunication
- Resistance to change: Change can be difficult, and some organizations may resist changing their existing processes and practices, even if they are not effective
There can be many reasons why Agile may not be working in some organizations. However, with the right leadership, training, and commitment, Agile can be highly effective for many organizations, leading to increased efficiency, improved product quality, and better business outcomes.
Benzne as your trusted agile consulting partner
As a trusted consulting partner, we at Benzne focus on building strong relationships with our clients, delivering high-quality work and consistently exceeding expectations. Here are some core values that helps us design and implement successful Agile Transformation journeys for our clients:
- Understand the client’s needs and goals: We take the time to truly understand our client’s needs, goals, and challenges. This helps us to tailor the approach and share recommendations to meet their specific needs
- Deliver high-quality work: We focus on delivering high-quality work that meets or exceeds expectations. This has helped us build trust and credibility with our clients
- Be transparent and honest: We are transparent about our approach, methodology, and what we can and cannot deliver. Being honest about any challenges or limitations and working with our client to find solutions is the core of a successful agile transformation
- Communicate effectively: Effective communication is key to building trust. We ensure to keep our clients informed of progress, provide regular updates, and respond to their questions and concerns promptly
- Build strong relationships: At Benzne, our relationships are based on trust, respect, and mutual understanding. We take the time to get to know our clients, understand their needs, and work together to achieve their goals
- Be a partner, not just a vendor: We see our clients as partners, not just customers. We work together with them to achieve common goals and provide value beyond just the services we deliver
- Continuously improve: We continuously assess and improve the processes, approach, and delivery to stay ahead of the curve
At Benzne, we are focused to be a trusted consulting partner for our clients and build long-lasting, time tested relationships so that we are seen as the best agile consulting and coaching firm.
With this, our blog “What Does Agile Consulting Company Do?” comes to an end.
Consulting companies simply help organizations become more agile and thus, more successful. Do reach out to us to start your agile transformation journey today at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be glad to set up a discussion and explore how we can help.