Memes as a Means for Agile Transformation

Itamar Mula
Itamar Mula
Co-Founder, Acumen
Posted on
Jun 3, 2022
Updated on
Dec 11, 2022
Table of Content

What Is Agile Transformation?

Agile transformation occurs when an organization adopts a fully Agile approach. It is not just the development team that must make this transition – for a company to truly be Agile, all employees must embrace the values and principles outlined in the Agile Manifesto. This means being more flexible and reactive, collaborating effectively, and communicating clearly.

Managing consulting firm McKinsey & Company notes that a comprehensive Agile transformation will affect the four key facets of the organization: people, processes, technology, and structure. In addition, it will ensure the development process is iterative, meaning that activities will be repeated until the optimal result is achieved.

Many companies are looking toward Agile ways of working to become more efficient and productive. If organizations get Agile transformation right, Agile ways of working have significant benefits – up to 25% improvement in productivity, a 2x increase in speed to market, and an increase in employee engagement.

Why Is Agile Transformation Hard?

Contrary to typical transformation which often requires multiple structural and employee changes every few years, an Agile transformation also maintains productivity benefits and develops an organization that is capable of responding to constant change.

When done correctly, Agile transformation offers many benefits, but many organizations haven't realized them.

Why is it so difficult to deliver a successful Agile transformation?

In most transformations, we have two dimensions change simultaneously:

  1. Structure: Organizational structures are changed in order to align teams with the new strategy.
  2. People and role changes: Role changes, redeployments, and staff reductions are used to reduce costs.

Agile transformations also involve a third dimension: new ways of working and a shift in mindset.

While employees can cope with structural changes and shifting roles, asking them to learn a fundamentally new way of working can be too much. Due to this, we must pay close attention to change management during an Agile transformation and keep in mind that there is a lot going on at once.

As mentioned, Agile transformation is a serious undertaking that demands a lot of time and effort. Even though there are countless success stories, many teams also struggle with enterprise Agile transformation. estimates that 47% of Agile transformations fail.

Main Obstacles in Agile Transformation

Here are some of the obstacles that can occur when making the switch to Agile: 

Strain on resources

Agile transformation is a lengthy process that may take years to complete. Companies must prepare for the switch and train their teams thoroughly. The adoption of Agile digital transformation will require an investment in new technologies. Investing in these tools is not a one-time thing, either, as they will require constant maintenance and will eventually need to be replaced.

Unwillingness to change

Resistance to change is a major obstacle. You might find it hard to urge some employees to change their whole approach to working, particularly in the event that they see no drawback to their current methods. If this is the case, you will need to make an extra effort to showcase the advantages of Agile transformation and convince your team to jump board.

Lack of clarity

Even if your team is open to adopting Agile methods, they might find it difficult to adapt. Changing from the old methodology to an Agile one requires a whole reimagined set of principles, processes, team roles, etc. People may not be clear regarding what their new title means or what the Agile mindset means in relation to their daily working practices. 

While it's nearly impossible to eliminate these challenges entirely, a project manager can make sure their organization has the highest possible chance of success. This is done by properly preparing and following best practices.

Using humor for a non-stressful transition

Research shows that leaders with any sense of humor are perceived as 27% more motivating and admired than those who don’t joke around. Their employees are 15% more engaged, and their teams are more than twice as likely to solve a creativity challenge. These in turn can translate to improved performance. Another recent research by Oxford University found a direct link between happiness and productivity in the workplace. This extensive study found that employees are 13% more productive when happy. 

While we can argue against the research, we can’t say that we learned anything new. As we spend a significant portion of our adult life working, we would love to spend that time with joy and happiness. Therefore it is not surprising that individual happiness directly affects employee engagement, job satisfaction and organizational commitment.

There’s nothing like a good laugh to help us relax and see the upsides to difficult situations. Change and transition naturally evoke feelings of uncertainty and unease. Humor helps decrease this anxiety and stress by taking our minds off the worst-case scenarios. And because it reinforces interpersonal bonds, humor can also reinforce the support networks we know to be so crucial for navigating big changes. In other words, humor keeps work cultures both flexible and strong. Those that aren’t, tend to crumble in the face of change. You might want to loosen up, or else…

How to add humor to an Agile transition

There are many ways you can add more humor to the workplace without forcing it – from starting a meeting with an icebreaker, keeping people’s attention with images in presentations, or turning something into a short game in the office.

For us at GoRetro, we found out that a good way to keep humor alive is by using memes that revolve around the Agile/Scrum universe, from story points estimations to Sprint planning and backlog of tasks. It always engages the team and keeps the humor alive all around. Recently, we launched a new tool that can help you take your Agile meme game to a whole new level. It has a very simple interface you can use to create memes quickly. You can:

  • Load Agile memes from our extensive library, already set up with a funny quote
  • Add and format textboxes to write the perfect captions
  • Add stickers from our curated list
  • Adjust the order of layers across your elements

Once your meme is ready you can download it locally as a PNG file with the click of a button.

So what are you waiting for? Give it a spin and let us know if you have any ideas for new memes :)

About the author

Itamar Mula
Co-Founder, Acumen

I’m an entrepreneur with a passion for agile practices and continuous learning. As co-founder of Acumen and former co-founder and VP R&D of Nextpeer (acquired by Rakuten), I have extensive experience in building and leading successful companies. I’m excited to continue pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the tech industry and driving innovation through experimentation and collaboration with my team.

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