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Emergent Transformation Canvas

Lean Agile adoption can only be successful when the people themselves create the necessary changes and therefore are really committed and feel accountable for it. The path to Lean Agile adoption can therefore not be planned in full detail upfront. But the path towards adoption can only emerge, the path can only emerge by walking it!

In my little booklet I am writing called Emergent Transformation I discuss how you can go on your agile transformation journey. One of the things I use to make an initial adoption plan is a set of questions and possible answers that I call the Emergent Transformation canvas. The canvas is your guide to create your adoption plan by going through all the building blocks and answering the questions. By filling the canvas you create your  transition backlog. After that you can order it by business objective and there you go; your first adoption sprint plan is ready! You can now use Scrum in your adoption journey.

In this blog I will only discuss the set of questions you can use to make up your plan. See below an explanation of the canvas.

lascanvas transparant

Emergent Transformation Canvas

Business objectives

What are our business objectives? Why are we doing this?

The Business Objectives building block defines the objectives the organization aims to achieve. The business objectives are the reason why an organizations is going on the lean agile transformation journey. As the transformation leader you have to ensure the business objectives are crisp and clear so people can identify with and work towards them. Missing or vague business objectives gives poor sense of purpose and direction to those involved.

In the context of lean agile adoption the business objectives are formulated as a vision story including goals and forecasts.


How do we measure progress towards our objective? Are we moving in the right direction?
The Measures building block defines how the organization is going to determine if the transformation is on the right path. The measures identify how you are going to assess success, measure progress towards the business objectives and learn. In addition the measures are used to discuss whether the transformation process should stop, continue or change direction. Thinking about good measures and quantifying them is very powerful because it forces you to discuss exactly and precisely what you mean with success. This discussion increases understanding among all involved about what you are striving for.

Measures are defined on outputs and on outcomes. For example your transformation could produce shorter release cycles which is an output. The outcome could be that the business can successfully react to opportunities.

Lean Management

How does management support the transformation?
The Lean Management building block describes what management needs to do in order to support the transformation so you can achieve your business objectives?. What is it about our working agreements, policies and organizational structure that has to change? What is it that management needs to do to become a coaching manager and to manage knowledge. What are the changes that need to occur to focus on creating customer value and see high performing teams as a key asset?. You need to assess your current way of managing, decide what changes you are going to make and create your transformation backlog.

From the a lean agile perspective the way to go is to start learning as quickly as possible and use that learning to increase results.

Agile development

Which practices align with our objectives? How do we build the thing right?
The Agile Development building block describes your plan to be able to build the thing right. It is about the practices you need in order to shorten the feedback cycle and support the business objectives.

Below some example practices for software development

  • Test Driven Design
  • Emergent Architecture
  • Pair programming
  • Exploratory testing
  • Inspection charts
  • Collective ownership

Emergent innovation

How do we co-create our innovative solutions?, are we building the right thing?
The emergent innovation building block describes how you are going to engage with your employees and your customers to really understand their needs.  What do you need to do so the people feel comfortable to innovate their ways of working and the company can learn how to do agile?

The teams and organizations have to learn how to apply the practices in their specific context. How are you going to support them to learn and share their capacity to act.

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