Planning Your Agile Transformation Journey

3 min readApr 3, 2024

Written By LeadingAgile

Not every agile transformation looks the same.

To ensure that your transformation is heading in the right direction, you must first understand the value system of your business and the demands of the markets you serve.

This understanding will enable your organization to tailor the methodology to meet your specific business needs and ensure that you deliver valuable increments of working-tested products into the market.

Predictability vs Adaptability

First, let’s look at your company’s value system. I know it might be a hard pill to swallow for many Agilists, but not all companies value responding to change.

Many of the executives we work with want to be more predictable.

Ask an executive whether they want to be able to make and meet commitments or have the ability to respond to whatever the market throws at them, and they’ll likely tell you they want both.

But you must understand that the ability to respond to change, the ability to remain adaptable, competes with the ability to be predictable.

Emergence vs Convergence

Next, markets have a similar competition taking place within themselves as well.

Think about companies like Google, Facebook, and other web-based properties-mobile apps, e-commerce, etc. These companies have feature sets that can emerge based on your understanding of the market and what you learn through user feedback.

On the other hand, some companies deal with more convergent things like tax software and government contracts. These companies have some room to inspect and adapt, but the feature set is well-known, and you’re converging on a specific outcome.

The 4 Quadrants

Suppose you were to put predictability and adaptability on a horizontal axis and put emergence and convergence on a vertical axis. In that case, you’d get a 2×2 quadrant with predictive-convergent in the lower left-hand corner.

So, you have these 4 Quadrants:

Predictive-Emergent: you’re built for predictability, but things are getting thrown at you. This is the quadrant of heroics. Very ad hoc and chaotic.

Predictive-Convergent: you’re built for predictability but struggle to deal with change. Lots of heavy planning, long funding cycles, and many constraints. This is where Waterfall lives.

Adaptive-Convergent: You still need to make and meet commitments, but you’ve reduced batch size to create room to inspect, adapt, and pivot if necessary.

Adaptive-Emergent: Innovative and experimental. This is the quadrant of R&D and Lean Start-Up.

For better or for worse, predictive-convergent is where most of our clients are when we first meet them. And one of the reasons why companies struggle with Agile is because Agilists value the upper right-hand quadrant-adaptive-emergent.

Meanwhile, the companies they work in value predictive-convergent. And not only do they value it- they’re built for it.

The Question You Have to Ask Yourself

We believe that part of preparing for transformation is asking yourself what your company’s value system is and what attributes will force your organization to be in one quadrant or the other.

You’ll begin to realize that various parts of the organization are in different quadrants, and each part of the business may need to move to another quadrant based on your particular business needs. But here’s the thing.

Not every part of the business needs to be in the upper right-hand quadrant to get the benefits of agile. Some parts of the organization may be happy in the lower left quadrant, while others must move to the bottom right. It all depends on how agile you want to be.

Understanding this and making this distinction is crucial to transformation because this is what you will tailor your methodology around.

Originally published at on April 3, 2024.