Why enterprise agile?
Agile has primarily found use as an operating model toward hastening 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. At the end of the day, products and services require human intervention. Many of these interventions come from enterprise-wide functions such as legal, marketing, and finance. The need to absorb 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 put forth the Business 4.0™ framework, designed to help companies with their digital business transformations. 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 4.0 behaviors such as the ability to leverage ecosystems and develop more audacious business models to 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.
Agents of change
The first step towards meeting this wider goal was to identify the areas that needed agility. The first wave of the transformation covered IT services across all industry units. The second wave encompassed Cognitive Business Operations, comprising Business Process Services and IT Infrastructure Services. And because no enterprise endeavor can be successful if it leaves out core organizational support functions, the third wave saw the transformation of enablement functions such as HR, Marketing, Administration, IT Infrastructure, Delivery Excellence, Internal IT, and Research.
This transformation was led by the Agile Initiative Network, an internal body of experts designed to evangelize agile as a work methodology across TCS. Today, this network comprises agile ninja coaches, who in turn groom agile practitioners, who implement the agile way of working in their projects. As of April 2022, TCS has 2,512 ninja coaches.
Agile every day
We introduced the concept of Living Agile™, which focuses on adopting agile as a lifestyle via mini projects that are short (a maximum of three days) and experiential. Agile coaches help learner groups break down a real-world problem and work in sprints as scrum teams to meet their goals. The intent is: to shatter legacy-led cultural mindsets about work and instead see it as iterative value-building; to think of a team with no leadership hierarchy; to foster fast learning; to embrace risk; and, most importantly, to keep pushing the envelope on problem-solving. Agility is contextualized as a way of life because agile principles can be applied to all challenges – be it to help your child ace their math assignments, to help you train for a marathon, or to help a client migrate to the cloud with no breaks in business.
The outcome of such real-time mini projects is behavioral transformation in a short span of time. The idea behind Living Agile is to internalize agility; to ‘do and learn’, as opposed to the traditional approach of ‘learn theory, then do’.