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Q&A with Musarrath Jabeen

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Musarrath Jabeen, Enterprise Agile Transformation Leader.

How could you describe your career path in few words?

I was more aligned to the statement, “Change is the only constant in life”. Passionate about helping people to be more flexible to change and focus on be customer value delivery took me to a career that helps me instill agile mindset in the organizations. I am an Enterprise Agile Transformation Coach in Philips, driving global Agile360 Integrated & Scaled transformations.

In the early years of my career, I started as a Software Engineer with high technical focus and developed my career with major Telecom organizations. I further took up opportunity in the Program Management area to lead teams and manage programs and releases. I got introduced to Agile during this period in 2009 and there was no looking back.

My career includes experience in large-scale Enterprise with geographically distributed Agile Transformations to achieve Business Agility, organizational change initiatives, product and solution delivery with customer-focused approach in Healthcare, Banking and Telecom organizations. I have led digital initiatives by enabling Lean-Agile Ways of working, technology-driven modernization, DevOps capabilities and implementing Agile Portfolio Management.

I am an enthusiastic learner and always look forward to share and learn new insights.

How do you think agile practices have transformed companies over the past two years?

As we all know, in the past two years we are living in the VUCA world –Volatile, Uncertain, complex and Ambiguous. The needs of the customer are constantly changing, providing less reliable growth opportunities while increasing the threat of wide scale disruption. According to an innosight survey, 78% of global business leaders recognize that their company needed to transform their core offerings or business models in response to changes in the market.


Agile organizations are able to thrive in a rapid changing, unpredictable world by adopting some of the practices mentioned below:


  1. Customer Focus : Agile practices like Design thinking are being increasingly used by organizations. Using the Design Thinking approach and techniques (like Empathy mapping, Customer journey mapping, User Personas etc.,) you work with deep empathy and understanding for the customer with a critical thinking and integrated mindset.

  2. Organizational Culture : Organizations have started applying Agile principles beyond process / practices towards building Agile culture that focuses on innovation, upskilling, teamwork, collaboration, transparency, flexibility, adaptability, resiliency, empowered employees and de-centralized faster decision-making.

  3. Enterprise Agility : Many organizations increasingly applied Agile principles and practices outside of IT (SW Development) to areas such as hardware development, marketing, HR, finance, supply chain and many other cross-functions.

  4. DevSecOps advancements : Companies have started integrating DevSecOps practices with Agile to streamline the software delivery pipeline and further accelerate the delivery of features and updates.

  5. Data-Driven, usage of AI / ML in Agile: Agile teams are using data analytics and metrics to make more informed decisions, use OKRs to measure performance, and Inspect and Adapt to learn from feedback and continuously improve.

  6. Scaling Agile principles and practices beyond just teams to multiple teams, solutions, customer services, sales and marketing and Enterprise portfolio to promote alignment and co-ordination.


It's important to note that the impact of Agile practices can vary widely depending on the industry, organizational culture, Leadership support and involvement and the specific Agile methodologies implemented.

What successful cases of agile transformations have you had the opportunity to observe that have particularly stood out to you?

I have been involved in various Agile Transformations in industries like Telecom, banking and healthcare, I saw major successes in the below transformations.

One of them was a large banking organization which started its digital transformation journey after acquiring a digital bank to become more of a technology company. The realization that digital banking was going to be important for the future, and it requires a different technology organization, a different delivery pattern, a different way of doing business to succeed pushed them to adopt Agile Way of working. Their main challenge was not only responding to customer needs quickly, but also driving technology innovation by modernization and enabling business strategies. The main success factor here was Enterprise-wide Scaled agile adoption across the organization focusing on great talent to do great work by focusing on 3 important things: People, Process and Technology. They created multi-disciplinary, stable, high-performing Agile teams that deliver value and technical agility model that made them the best technology company. The second phase of the Agile adoption was focus on DevOps culture which made them a very productive and high-performing organization.

I am currently involved in Agile transformation at Philips Healthcare. I have been involved in the journey already for a few years where we successfully transformed >80% of our IT/ software product development using scaled agile principles, customer-centric value-delivery with focused patient-safety and quality and technical agility practices. However, in order to bring in Enterprise agility we needed to create an agile organization – designed to be fast, resilient, customer focused and goes beyond IT/Software. We have launched Agile360 initiative that is a Enterprise-wide structural cross-company mindset with an integrated way of working that enables us to operate as an adaptive, responsive, customer-centric agile organization while being transparent and flexible to create solutions that improve lives. Agile360 aligns frameworks working holistically across various methodologies like Design Thinking, Lean, Start-up, Agile, Lean, Change Management etc., to master continuous change and shift to agile organization.

Will agile practices continue to generate interest? What challenges do you see in the context of deploying these practices?

Agile practices do continue to generate interest. All product Development teams already adopt basic practices like incremental value delivery, backlog prioritization and technical practices (like code quality, automation, Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, refactoring, Test driven development etc.,). Continuous Attention to Technical Excellence and Good Design Enhances Agility.

The current focus is on scaled practices like Customer-centricity (Design Thinking), Agile portfolio management, complete DevOps implementation, E2E or Whole Systems Thinking and Lean start-up culture.

Agile practices continue to evolve as organizations grow to meet emerging challenges. Adopting agile and these practices is not the goal. Instead, you should be constantly asking what more you can do to better satisfy your customers by continuously delivering valuable software, have clear goals and shared purpose, Agile leadership growth-mindset and most importantly Doing vs Being Agile!

An agile mindset fosters people to embrace these challenges and view failure as a learning opportunity. They can truly surprise, delight, and fulfill the needs of their customers by co-creating, experimenting, adapting, innovating, and being okay with failure along the way. Most importantly, an agile mindset gives you the ability to blend agile methods and frameworks to meet the emerging needs of your organization. Inculcating Agile mindset in the organization is a major challenge.

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