Communication for agile transformations

The design and implementation of the change is the centre point of attention when it comes to Agile transitions. When an organization, or a part of it, decides to work agile, a design is often made: functional departments are broken down and replaced by value-stream or market-oriented units.

Employees go through an assessment to see if they have the capabilities that are needed in the new way of working. With the results of these assessments and the organizational design, new teams are assembled. Then, with the help of the agile coach, these teams will become familiar with the new way of work.

Unfortunately, communication remains a factor that is underestimated in importance during many agile transitions. The transformation team often takes action too fast without keeping communication in mind, because a lot of things need to be done within a short period of time. The added communications capacity is usually limited. In addition to that, the communications professional within the transition team often has to bridge a wider knowledge gap about the agile way of working, which causes him to automatically fall into a more serving attitude.

Change-communication is a valuable addition to agile transformations

When you start transforming your organization, a carefully designed communications strategy with a content calendar offers a lot of support. Did you inform all your employees? Did you create a mix between informing about the change and experiencing what that would mean in real-life? Is there a possibility to communicate back to the transformation team?

After completing the start of the transformation, it is important to continue, especially with communication. The novelty of the change has come to an end, the employees who adapt to changes fairly quickly are now included, the first successes are achieved.

The tough middle of the change has arrived. The transformation seems to have stalled and the enthusiasm within the organization is decreasing. The first questions are being asked about the usefulness and effectiveness of the new way of work.

This is the time for a new communications approach: less explanation about what agile is and does, and a lot more pointing out what the positive effects are of the agile way of working. This is a campaign-based approach that consistently shows what the purpose of the change is.

Over time, and this always takes longer than the transition team wants, the agile transformation has taken place in approximately 80% of the organizational units. This is the exact time that communication plays the most important part. Declaring the successful change, thanking everyone who has made an effort to study and familiarise themselves with the new way of working, empowering ‘the new normal’, and pointing out the increased strategic options that the organization can now take advantage of.

Seize the moment of completion to celebrate the new reality and to look forward to a great future together.


Strategy development and plan of action

Together with the transformation team we explore how communication creates a logical connection with the transformation-approach. Create and develop the communication strategy that seems to emerge most clearly. Elaborate and execute the first communication tools and actions. Then use an iterative approach that runs simultaneously with the transformation process. The approach can be altered and supplemented with courses and training for specific components.


Communication advise for agile transformations

As an agile coach and communications professional, it is possible to work with the team members of the transformation team and execute a change-communications assignment besides that. You will work together with an agile coach that is very skilled and specialized in her field. The advantage of this is that the competences and skills of the coach will be available within the transformation team right at the start. This makes sure that there is no need to depend on skills and availability within other organizational units.


Training and development of communicational skills

Agile coaches that are in possession of strong communicational skills are in an advantage. The trick often lies in the consistent application of communication techniques which ensure that expressions have the effect that they are indented to have. These communication techniques can be learned. You can do this by following a training or course but also through one-on-one cooperation with agile coaches who want to perfect a specific skill. Think of skills such as formulating structures and instructions in the field of core messages, writing news reports, image use, storytelling, and the use of blended media.



“Agility is the ability to adapt and respond to change… Agile organizations view change as an opportunity, not a threat.”

-Jim Highsmith