cover photo Reflect Blog
Ingo Kallenbach

Agile transformation (part 7) - step on it!

Which success factors have a significant influence on the scaling of the transformation?

Growth is essential for companies. And just as thermal, climatic and geological factors play a decisive role in the growth of a plant in nature, there are also drivers in agile transformation that allow them to scale and bring a successful start to transformation even further forward with a substantial growth spurt.

In this seventh article of the "Agile Transformation" series, I would like to present 4 drivers that we believe will contribute to scaling:

 1. Less is usually more!

Even if "agile" is hip, it doesn't mean that everything has to be agilised. The wrong approach would be to press everything in your company into this concept and agilise it.

Not every area is suitable for being viewed and changed with "agile glasses". It is not necessary to preach and pray Scrum and Kanban in every corner of the organization.

An approach that seems much more sensible is to start by analysing which processes need to be decalcified and cleaned before "blockages" cause "water damage" that is otherwise homemade by barriers that have not been removed.

Inflated processes, superfluous positions, inefficient communication channels or even traditions are usually elements that would not stand up to concrete analysis - and that do not require a new coat of paint or transformation, because otherwise they would stand in the way of an agile and efficient way of working. New wine in old skins is useless.

2. The view from the outside!

Doing the tasks correctly is one thing. But to do the right tasks - the other thing. Both are important and above all the second must be recognized absolutely. The famous "blind spot", which sometimes does not let us know what exactly is missing or slows us down to accelerate progress, is a very typical mistake, which can often be discovered and eliminated with outside support.

Realizing a pilot project is one way to start small with your own resources, as we showed in our contribution Agile Transformation (Part 5) - Setting up a pilot project.
But in order to scale in breadth and then also with a strong vertical penetration, which would be the ideal case, external support is essential. Such a project cannot be achieved with internal resources alone.

In companies with more than 1000 employees, our experience shows that 10-15 agile coaches make sense in order to accompany the above-mentioned effect of penetration with the required speed and to shape it successfully. Of course, this depends on the maturity of the organization and the internal competencies.

"Stinginess is awesome" is no longer the order of the day - in "permanent beta" time is a scarce commodity and therefore it makes sense in such cases to buy support so that market advantages, competitiveness and innovation leadership remain within reach.




3. The space miracle!

Silicon Valley shows the way: Rooms enable ideas, inspiration and thus create the basis for a successful future. The importance of space for our creativity has already been demonstrated in two articles (How we will work in the future (Part 1)).
This aspect has been strongly focused in pioneering organizations for several years not only in the USA, but increasingly also in Europe. We will address this issue in more detail in future editions. The design and composition of space is an accelerating driver for agile work.

a) How flexible is the room?

Partition walls that can be quickly and easily erected and dismantled and that change room sizes enable both small and large project groups to hold spontaneous workshops, meetings and exchanges.
Rolling tables, seating and boards - as simple as it may seem - are seemingly small details that allow quick and uncomplicated work.

b) Creative inspiration

The design of the room, both in terms of colour and architecture, is another element that enables creativity. It has been known for a long time that colours, room heights, materials and light have an influence on us humans, which can inhibit or promote us.
If you look at some rooms in everyday working life, it may come as no surprise that there is sometimes a lack of creativity and vision.

c) Visualization

Room walls are more and more recognized as visualization surfaces. We calculate with approx. 0.5m² visualization area per employee in order to be able to display the entire Scrum and Kanban boards in the room.
The rigid view of the screen slows down - the 360° view causes neurophysiologically much more synaptic connections in the brain and consequently also faster and more interconnecting work.

4. Let´s party!

Whether success or failure - organized celebrations reveal the experiences made and release emotions that are contagious and arouse motivation to tackle challenges better, more innovatively and also with a fresh approach.

In the meantime a global movement has established itself and many companies approach their "Stories about failure" with a good party mood ("fuckup's", "lemon dinners"). This makes possible a culture of error that is still in its infancy in Germany, but is finding more and more supporters.

Celebrate success - reward yourself and your team for projects and turn them into a story. With this you missionize other employees who will support the agile transformation and pull others along at the next party.

And celebrate your failures by passing on experiences that will help you and others to celebrate success in the near future. You will be surprised at how much this approach can change the culture in your organization, motivate and weld your employees together.


To scale agile transformation in the enterprise, factors such as decalcifying existing processes, external support, shaping space and celebrating mistakes and successes are a fast and successful way to accelerate growth and support agile working.

If you would like to find out more about  the healthy organisation, holocracy or our workshops, please contact us or find out more about our services in this area.


More blog posts from the series "Agile transformation":

Agile transformation (part 1) - classic vs. agil

Agile transformation (part 2) - analysis of the status quo

Agile transformation (part 3) - three relevant premises

Agile transformation (part 4) - designing a roadmap

Agile transformation (part 5) - setting up a pilot project

Agile transformation (part 6) - methods and instruments

Agile transformation (part 8) - questions and answers




Fuhrmann, Bianca (2018). Strong leadership. Activating, efficient and effective action. Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler

Kuhnhen, Stefanie (2018). The end of incompatible opposites. 12 surprising solutions for people, economy and society. Wiesbaden: Springer

Kulick, A., Quarch, C. & Teunen, J. (2017). Officina Humana. The office as living space for potential development. Frankfurt: avedition.