Press Release

Transformation Sprint, NEW BOOK sets out a revolution for how we plan and manage change



Relevant to business readers with an interest in transformation, agile, growth and post-COVID productivity

Transformation Sprint, NEW BOOK sets out a revolution for how we plan and manage change

Transformation will be the word on most people’s lips during 2021 but transforming is notoriously difficult, with failure rates running at the 80% mark. At last, there is a method to help hard-hit companies through the challenging times ahead.

Transformation Sprint: How to solve big transformation problems in just 4 weeks, officially published Monday 2nd November is available now from all Amazon stores.  It is the first method to provide a step-by-step guide to designing, rolling out and fixing a digital transformation, in fact, any transformation or change program. The Transformation is agile, time-boxed and targeted, radically improving the chances of success.

The book has three added and extremely important benefits for leaders and their teams.

  1. Rather than lay out traditional planning scenarios typical of most transformation programs, Transformation Sprint uses the concepts found in the agile movement to completely revolutionise transformation planning. It provides new tools for new times.

  2. What that means, in effect, is that the process of acquiring new insights and planning change, all take place within a time-boxed four week sprint (for more on sprints, read below). In normal times, transformation planning is a nine-to-fifteen month process.

  3. By bringing the planning cycle down to just four weeks, the authors, critically, have de-risked the implementation process. With failure rates running at around 80%, the majority of transformations hit the rocks at some stage. However, they don’t have to. The Transformation Sprint is a low-risk, small-steps approach to make change successful.

Written by Haydn Shaughnessy and Fin Goulding of Irish transformation practice Flow Academy, and based on their extensive experience at companies such as PaddyPower,, VISA, FujiFilm, Travelocity, SWIFT, Aviva and RBS, Transformation Sprint brings agile concepts to the design of any transformation.

The book is “a fantastic, expert guide for how to get your team to deliver a compelling vision, with a clear, achievable plan. I wish I had this 20 years ago.” according to Hugh Hessing, former COO, Aviva Plc

Sprints are an agile way of addressing work design. In place of big programs, they consist of short bursts of activity that deliver goals quickly. Think of it as a marathon runners training regime. Marathon runners rarely run marathons! Instead they train through sprints that develop their endurance under pressure conditions. Transformation Sprint is a similar concept, bringing a company’s challenges into focus for four week periods designed to meet very specific transformation-design goals.

Agile is the set of new work practices that help companies to become more adaptive. Starting with IT, companies are now looking to implement agile in support of digital transformation.

As we wrestle with the economic after-effects of the COVID19 pandemic and its economic after-effects, companies need an easy reference for how to plan ahead in uncertain times. The book is a must-read for anybody looking out at the tough challenges of change we all face.

“A Transformation Sprint is an agile method for transformation”, Fin Goulding CTO at Flow Academy, and a globally respected expert on transformation, explained. “When we started to think hard about why transformations fail, we realised that the answer was staring us in the face. You can’t develop an agile way of working by using traditional planning techniques. You need to use ‘agile’ to become agile and you need to use agile techniques to make a success of digital transformation. So based on our experience, we wrote Transformation Sprint, which is not just an agile method for how to design change but the only method, full stop.”

Published in Dublin by Flow Academy, and available worldwide,  the 200-page guidebook takes you through all you need to know to plan significant changes in a time-boxed four week period.





What is a transformation sprint?

Transformation Sprint takes the agile concept of time-boxing change and applies it to big programs. Unique to Transformation Sprint, the method uses agile and participative techniques to solve big problems:

  • The sprint begins with perspective gathering an insight discovery to reveal the top 10 issues a company really faces (not just those that senior management think they face)

  • The same participatory techniques are used to propose potential solutions

  • But, critically, the big problem is broken down into bite-sized chunks that can be addressed through what the author’s call a Lighthouse Project

  • The Lighthouse is a small project that scales down the larger problem canvas. Scaling down allows firms to address specific critical objectives at the same time as implementing new ways to work. The possibilities are enhanced because scaling down creates a low-risk environment.

  • The Lighthouse is also an important learning mechanism for companies to build their transformation know-how and skills

  • Only when they show promise in the learning environment can companies really work on the larger canvas, that’s when transformations can start to scale

  • The sprint makes extensive use of the visualisation techniques pioneered by Goulding and Shaughnessy in their previous book Flow: A Handbook for Change Makers to help guide leaders towards key decisions for new organisational designs which engages leaders in new ways to work from Day 1.

“In just four weeks, we take companies through a number of phases including issue discovery in our perspective gathering exercise, which surfaces good and dysfunctional performance and leads them to the description of a Lighthouse project that will set them on the right course to transformation success.” says Goulding

“Doing transformation with traditional tools all but guarantees you an 80% chance of failure,” says Haydn Shaughnessy, co-author and an expert in business strategy and design. “The data speaks loud and clear on that. As we struggle through COVID, the risks will be greater. It makes sense to look to a new method, one that significantly reduces risk and conversely improves your chances of success.

Note for editors, journalists and influencers

Transformation Sprint: How to solve big transformation problems in just 4 weeks

Published by Flow Academy, Dublin and Cork

21st October 2020


Praise for Transformation Sprint:

“Organisations are scrambling to remodel themselves to be more relevant to customers’ needs or more adaptive to the sheer scale of change…. There are no simple answers to these questions nor are there likely ever be. But with Transformation Sprint you do get the means to uncover, communicate and act on the challenges - structurally and repeatedly. No enterprise architect’s toolbox should be without it.”

Ron Kersic,  Technology Strategy & Innovation, ING Bank


“Organisational change is hard in its own right, only compounded by the fact that every organisation is unique and has a unique journey ahead of them. Yet across them all, there is a certain rhythm or cadence that underpins every journey. What Fin and Haydn have managed to do with Transformation Sprint is to highlight all the major touchpoints along this journey. There is something in this book for everyone, be they a business leader looking to understand the journey ahead of them, or a business consultant looking to see how best to help their clients.”

EVAN LEYBOURN, CEO and Co-Founder, Business Agility Institute


“Transformation Sprint is essential reading for all transformation leaders. Too many digital transformations lose sight of what they’re trying to achieve and run into problems. With Transformation Sprint Fin and Haydn provide a simple but powerful approach which in just 4 weeks opens the door to real change and avoids this trap - or just as importantly can get you out of the trap if you’re already in it.”

JOHN BOYES, Agile coach and CIO advisor


“Haydn and Fin have got to the core of why transformations become too complex and run into difficulties that seem impossible to navigate for those trying to manage them…. Pragmatic, practical and timely, they fill a gap in our knowledge of transformation, showing how to simplify the seemingly complex so that you can get back on a path to effective and sustainable transformation.”

TIM ELLIS, Founder and CEO, The Transformation People