Best practices to successfully execute a cross-departmental and/or cross-border agile transformation
How to successfully execute a transformation towards agile?
Thesis project description
I am interested to study the process international companies undertake when going through a partial or full agile transformation (i.e. scrum, backlog management, use of digital tools, changing the working culture and mindset towards agile). The reasoning behind this approach is that there are increasing pressures for companies to transition towards agile practices but practitioners often lack guidance on how to do. Additionally, the change in employees' mindsets necessary for agile transofrmation to work is hard to achieve. Bearing in mind that every organization is different, I would like to depict the best practices of one or more case companies in my thesis or provide recommendations on how to undergo such a transformation.
I seek a case company that has either (1) undergone a transformation towards agile, or (2) is considering to adapt agile methodologies partially or fully. The former would enable me to analyse and exemplify the transformation journey towards agile whereas the latter would enable me to anayse the company in question and provide recommendations on how to go about such a transformation.
Agile methodologies are on an ever-rising trajectory and are not only an operating model for software development, but its implementation is spreading into various industries and positions, often reaching firms’ CXOs (Rigby et al., 2016). Agile methodologies are recognized to benefit firms, among others, in improved efficiency and quality (Livermore, 2007) and shorter lead times, operational flexibility, as well as freeing resources to prioritize customer needs (Petersen & Wohlin, 2010).
Latest market turbulences caused by COVID-19 have exemplified the importance of organizational flexibility. The inability of workers to continue traditional face-to-face interactions increased the firms’ incentive to employ digital tools (Ramboll Management Consulting, 2020). In a market where customers are expecting closer proximity, global study of 29 executives revealed that 96% of respondents admitted that they needed to become more agile in the future, however, only 26% of them rated the firm’s agility level as high (Gillespie & Singleton, 2018). Similarly, a study of 225 CIOs of the 1000 largest companies in Denmark based on turnover revealed that 81% respondents aim to hold a high level of agile and flexible capabilities within the next 3 years while only 37% respondents say that the firm has such capabilities in place today (Ramboll Management Consulting, 2020).
Although the first steps towards agile are taken quickly, enterprises experience more difficulties at the later stages of agile adoption due to the enterprises’ exposure to large and customized infrastructure, as opposed to startups (Gerster et al., 2018). Barriers to agile transformation may further increase if enterprises are inexperienced but must adapt to the new agile methodologies. Furthermore, research on how to successfully execute an agile transformation in larger organizations is limited (Dikert 2016) and firms’ decision makers may have limited understanding of how to do so. Thus, the proposed thesis aims to shed light on how to successfully execute a transformation towards agile.
Managerial value of the research
The proposed thesis would add value to the case company by the following:
1) An opportunity to reflect on the organizational transformation and where applicable - the opportunity to be provided recommendations on how to proceed with an agile transformation.
2) Insights into how the other case companies manage agile methods of working, which may help you in your transformation journey.
3) A chance to gain insights into agile practices from the academic research published by the world's best known journals.
4) An opportunity to engage employees and start reflection on whether a change is needed in the organization - thus to start the conversation about "agile".
Research topic motivation
In the past, agile methodologies were only relevant within software development but nowadays organisations from all kinds of industries are being pressed to be faster, more productive, more digital, and more resilient. It is no longer only the software developers who have to rearrange the way they work but agile reaches even the exectutive suite in one way or another. The current turbulent world requires firms to quickly adapt and welcome change and thus, despite being a buzzword among some practitioners, agile seems to be the answer of an increasing number of companies on a journey towards more effective, productive, and responsive organisation.
By writing the proposed thesis, I would like to explore agile and am curious to hear your perspectives on the topic.
Why collaborate with us
I am an outgoing, curious and engaged student who loves the "nerdy" talk and learning from others. As exemplified by my double-degree master's programme and my passion for triathlon, I am self-driven and a highly-dedicated individual. That being said, I aim to conduct a high-quality analysis with actionable insights and thereby finish my university studies with a strong master thesis of the highes grade.
37 to 40 weeks.
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Project Researcher #1
Economics and Business Administration
International Marketing and Management
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