In my previous blog,  I stated that the benefits of an agile transformation can definitely enable the digital capabilities. What is the actual difference between agile and digital capabilities? And how to build digital capabilities as a consequence?

Agile transformation benefits

The benefits of an agile transformation enable digital capabilities on people, process and technology level. Let’s quickly recap them.

From a process point of view, governance is improved as a result of Business – IT alignment. Decision making in an agile environment typically gets delegated to a lower level within the organization. Also, the focus on value steering grows as a result of an integrated Business and IT backlog.

Regarding technology, there’s the increase of the speed and frequency of delivery (CD). But you also notice the results of investments in an improved technical infrastructure.

From the people’s point of view, we’re talking about an enabling culture and, in specific, a culture of continuous improvement and continuous learning. But also an increased focus on the primary process; An actual connection between the people in agile teams and the voice of the customer.

Building Digital capabilities

From a digital transformation perspective, the scope and impact of the capabilities development are bigger. For example, we observe shifts:

  • from continuous improvement and continuous learning to operational excellence;
  • from Product Backlog alignment of Business and IT to focus on customer experience.

Operational excellence

In an agile transformation, continuous learning and feedback loops are developed. Scrum events like the Sprint Review and Retrospective are implemented in order to achieve this. An agile way of working requires a different mindset and behavior—an enabling culture. The people in the agile teams become more self-organizing and will have a shared responsibility to grow as a team.

In operational excellence, the entire organization behind the visibility line (internal processes and systems, the internal side of the customer experience) is optimized continuously. Lean practices can be applied here in order to reduce waste and to speed up straight-through processing. The internal processes need to deliver high quality constantly.

Customer experience
Preparing to build the operational excellence capability already starts during an agile transformation. Business and IT Backlog alignment creates a more effective governance and integrated (Product or even Company) Backlog.

Also, in the agile transformation, the customer becomes more important than a stakeholder. In a Sprint Review, the team receives feedback from stakeholders on delivered increments. Therefore, customer centricity increases. The feedback loop expands in a digital environment because customer satisfaction alone isn’t sufficient anymore. A delighting customer experience is key, which means that the organization needs to develop their customer journey thinking.  Analyzing the customer journey helps the organization to implement the improvements that are most valuable. Focus on the customer is key and the Business IT alignment self-evident.

What changes in roles and responsibilities?

An agile transformation often accompanied by a change of organizational structure, including new role descriptions (e.g. for scrum master, product owner and servant leader). But how does building digital capabilities implicate roles such as the Product Owner and Scrum Master? We’ll focus on impact on roles and responsibilities in another blog.

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