Agile transformation: How employees experience and cope with transformative change

Dina Koutsikouri*, Sabine Madsen, Nataliya Berbyuk Lindström

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Modern manufacturing is highly competitive, requiring that organizations reduce lead times and achieve greater organizational flexibility, for example by implementing agile ways of working. However, studies show that incumbent firms have persistent problems with adopting and scaling such practices.In this paper, we present an empirical account of agile transformation in a large manufacturing company that has adopted the SAFe framework. Based on interviews, focus groups, and observation data, we identify three themes for understanding how employees experience and cope with transformative change by: 1) making sense of the new, 2) practicing with peers and 3) letting go of legacy. Key findings are that initially employees are more concerned with making sense of the new rather than with the implementation of agile itself and that implementation of agile happens very gradually over time rather than through major breakthroughs. Thus, it takes time for employees to weather change, become acquainted with the new way of working and stabilize how they work together in the agile teams and across the ARTs (Agile Release Trains). We contribute to extant literature with insight into the human implications of agile transformation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAgile Processes in Software Engineering and Extreme Programming – Workshops - XP 2020 Workshops, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsMaria Paasivaara, Philippe Kruchten
Number of pages9
PublisherSpringer
Publication date2020
Pages155-163
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-58857-1
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-58858-8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event21st International Conference on Agile Software Development,XP 2020 - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 8 Jun 202012 Jun 2020

Conference

Conference21st International Conference on Agile Software Development,XP 2020
Country/TerritoryDenmark
CityCopenhagen
Period08/06/202012/06/2020
SeriesLecture Notes in Business Information Processing
Volume396 LNBIP
ISSN1865-1348

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.

Keywords

  • Agile transformation
  • Case study
  • Manufacturing
  • Software development

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