How we developed in three years the world’s largest agile-ready workforce
It was 2017 and business as usual at a TCS office in Mumbai. In one of the conference rooms, the CEO, senior business leaders, and a few of the company’s agile experts were meeting. “We see an increasing adoption of agile by our clients, and we need to know what’s getting them excited about it, and why,” the CEO said.
It was a statement directed at the agile experts and was forever going to change the way TCS approached work.
The team planned a real-time demonstration of the agile way of working and its benefits along with one of the business units. Their challenge: Apply agile to create an offering. The group was organized into self-managed scrum teams. Over the next three days, the agile experts guided the scrum teams into planning product backlogs with minimum viable products (MVPs), drawing out Kanbans, listing dependencies, and advancing in short, swift bursts. At the end of it all, an offering was born. It took all of three days for an outcome that would otherwise have taken three months.
Agile functions on the simple truth that time is a non-renewable resource, and with the core premise that the marketplace is in a continual state of disruption and waits for no one.
Those three days set the stage for a journey that would be completed in three years. TCS embarked on its vision of becoming “enterprise agile by 2020”. And here we are today -- the world’s largest agile-ready workforce in the world. 440,000 of us and counting, spread across the globe as #OneTCS, working and living agile. This is our agile transformation story.
Why enterprise agile?
Agile has primarily found use as an operating model to hasten the speed-to-value of deliveries in information technology. We, however, saw opportunity in the role it could play to elevate us as an organization. Products and services, at the end of the day, require human intervention. Many of these interventions come from enterprise-wide functions like legal, marketing and finance. The need to seep agile into the enterprise as a whole was part of our reimagination of the value stream across the organization such that it moved -- from concept to the customer -- rapidly.
In 2017, TCS also developed Business 4.0™, a framework designed to help companies with their digital-led business transformation. Agile, as one of the core pillars of this framework, enabled enterprises to embrace risk, thanks to its iterative approach and fail-fast philosophy. This ability to embrace risk in turn reinforced other business behaviors of Business 4.0 like the ability to leverage ecosystems and develop more audacious business models that create exponential value.
It is through the lens of Business 4.0 that TCS recognized the potential of Enterprise Agile -- the ability to apply agile not only to IT development, but also as a working methodology that the entire organization could adopt.