Digital transformation is a journey that has turned out to be a must for business organizations. Yet, some businesses have a halted journey. McKinsey & Company reflects on an academic study that revealed that up to 70% of companies that implement digital transformation fail at it. Why is digital transformation such a hard lever to pull?

We are here to unfold some reasons why this happens and discuss agile project management as a driving force for digital transformation for businesses.

“The biggest part of our digital transformation is changing the way we think.”

– Simeon Preston, Bupa

The Digital Transformation Matrix

Digital transformation can take different forms for each organization. However, in general, digital transformation can be stated as an everlasting and continuous transformation that makes the integration of several digital technologies possible

“Digitally transformed businesses typically develop an ecosystem that blurs the lines between supply chain, partner, customer, crowd, and employee, and both strategy and execution are heavily influenced by this ecosystem.”

– Isaac Sacolick, Global CIO and Managing Director, Greenwich Associates

These technical advancements make way to revolutionize the workings of business organizations. Hence, this transformation becomes ideal for all organizations that hope to achieve better standards and culture. The traditional setup of work has had its share of drawbacks. Predominantly being a human-oriented manual work culture, it remains expensive, time-consuming, and less effective than when done digitally.

How does Digital Transformation become Important?

Several reasons determine the relevance and significance of digital transformation to an organization. Considering the current scenario of unpredictability, the primary reason can be structured on the survival factor.

“At least 40% of all businesses will die in the next 10 years… if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies.”

– John Chambers, Cisco

Some of the common things that business leaders must consider when embarking on a journey of digital transformation are:

  • Customer experience
  • Operational agility
  • Culture and leadership
  • Workforce enablement
  • Digital technology integration

Impediments in the Digital Transformation Journey

Digital transformation is a change and changes are not a walk in the park. Businesses will inevitably encounter some hitches in the undertaking. Here is a list of some challenges that might interfere with the transformation.

  • Deficit of skilled tech talents
  • Workforce being change-resistant
  • Security and privacy issues
  • Legacy systems
  • Financial constraints
  • Transforming without a strategy
  • Evolving needs and expectations

Agile Project Methodology and Management Solution

“In today’s era of volatility, there is no other way but to re-invent. The only sustainable advantage you can have over others is agility, that’s it. Because nothing else is sustainable, everything else you create, somebody else will replicate.”

– Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon

Agility. Simplifying the process is the key element. Being able to move quickly and work faster is achievable through agile methodology. As an iterative and strategic approach, agile project management is a methodology used for the planning and execution of the processes in a project. These processes are broken down into small and simpler tasks called sprints or iterations. Therefore, all the fast-changing requirements can be easily catered to.

This methodology allows the project teams to understand the concept of work quickly and easily and allows a smooth collaboration between the members. An advantage of this methodology is that throughout the project the team members are empowered to come up with quick action to address any issues that arise. This enables timely decision-making and change initiation, saving a lot of resources. Hence, projects are finished successfully on time and also within budget.

How is this Methodology Carried Out?

Three major stages are practiced by business organizations when adopting the agile methodology. The initial step is to break down the complete project into smaller units of processes. These smaller units, called sprints, are carried out one after the other. These sprints can happen from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the processes within them.

“If you adopt only one agile practice let it be retrospectives. Everything else will follow.”

 Woody Zuill, Author

The perk of using the agile methodology is that the team can release the sprints they have worked on. This way the team has time to align with a consistent update on the upgrades and features introduced.

The Five Phases of Agile Project Management

1. Envision

In the first stage of the agile methodology, the product and overall project are conceptualized and envisioned, keeping in mind the needs put forward by the customers. This stage is also where all the planning regarding the roles and responsibilities are delegated to the team members.

2. Speculate

The second stage is where the requirements of the processes are determined. Once the work delegation is achieved, the team members build a tentative time framework for each of the work that needs to be achieved in the respective sprints.

3. Explore

While the team members are working on exploring more alternatives that will aid in fulfilling the project needs. Smaller milestones are achieved and iterated before beginning a new one.

4. Adapt

This is the phase where the team is ready to adapt to the changes that are required. Feedback is constantly given to meet the expectations of the end-user. The project is iterated with more and more improvements.

5. Close

The final delivered results are reviewed in the final phase. The most recently updated criteria are used for measuring the success rate of the project.

Benefits of Agile Project Management

Here is why you must advocate for agile project management solutions for initiating your digital transformation process.

  • Enhanced freedom that allows the designers to work on models
  • Controlled and holistic use of resources enabling rapid usage and significantly reducing waste
  • Improved adaptability and flexibility with respect to changes
  • Easy detection of issues
  • Empowers more collaboration with users

Final Words

“When digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar.”

 George Westerman, MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy

More and more businesses have become successful testimonies of agile digital transformation strategies. The iterative method might seem laborious and unwanted, however, digital initiatives through agile, reinforce high-degree learning and understanding. Empowered with proper tools, structure, and strong innovation, several organizations have become agile-equipped and achieved digital transformation.

A report released by Digital.ai, titled “15th State of Agile Report”, states that agile adoption for software development increased from 37% to 86% between the years 2020 to 2021. The agile methodology allows an in-depth understanding of the transformation.

process and enables a rather slower and more measured voyage. This is how businesses can grow by adopting change.