IMPROVING YOUR BUSINESS AGILITY

Doing business today is a complex endeavor. Markets and technologies continuously evolve. Business agility is no longer an option.

Using our proven approach, we help you to safely and pragmatically achieve real success with business agility across these five key outcome categories:

PREDICTABILITY: Improving your capacity to plan & predictably deliver

RAPID RESULTS: Improving results through quick wins and early ROI

LOWER COSTS: Improving & reducing costs by improving your process

INNOVATION: Improving by creating the conditions where innovation can happen

RESPONSIVENESS: Improving by rapidly sensing & responding to opportunities

The first step if you are new to Agile is to clearly define your desired outcomes and success criteria.

And then assess your current state against those criteria, identifying any gaps.

Once that assessment is complete, we look at what training may be needed to begin the process of closing that gap.

The next step is to identify the set of teams who will participate in your pilot program. The learning process during the pilot may be bumpy at first.

During the pilot phase, we measure in these 4 specific domains of improvement, at a minimum:

Scaling change is a complex endeavor. Successful pilot programs do not guarantee success at scale. A lack of experienced Scrum Masters is a common challenge to achieving success at scale.

We identify where there may be some gaps in required skills and exprience. We then address those gaps, by temporarily staffing up with talented consultants who have the right skillsets.

The primary mission of our consultants is to teach and mentor your people, so they can take over, after we leave.

The risks of scaling are actively managed by defining direction, defining “guardrails,” and delivering guidance. Leading enterprise change is a key executive skill that can be taught.

We convey this skill to your executive team, while working hard at coaching your delivery teams as well. In this manner, your entire organization reaches a state of freestanding, self-sustaining business agility.

Curious?

Ready to go? Contact us today.

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STEP 1: ASSESSMENT & TRAINING

STEP ONE: ASSESSMENT & TRAINING

SUMMARY: In Step #1, we assess your current state to determine what education is needed before we can begin. We then complete this step by completing the training delivery.

Assessment identifies your current state in several dimensions. In addition to measuring quality, sustainability, value delivery and productivity, we also consider:

  • The business and policy constraints, including any required compliance
  • The desired future state, and the clearly specified success criteria
  • The identification of any and all challenges to achieving the desired outcomes.

Upon review of the assessment, we work with you to develop your game plan and an overall roadmap for improving your results.

The first step is delivering any training and education that may be needed.

We work with your executive leadership team on understanding exactly what they must do to support success with Agile transformation. At the same time, we also deliver training in Agile patterns and practices to your delivery teams. This training includes

  • Executive orientation & training
  • Stakeholder and team training in Agile processes including Scrum, Kanban and Lean principles
  • Technical skills training, as needed, in: DevOps, XP, software test and CI
  • Training for executives, stakeholders and teams in the Eight Patterns of Open Business Agility

Training sets the stage for beginning a pilot program with multiple teams. This pilot proves that the skills required actually exist in your organization, and are working well.

Scroll down to learn about steps 2, 3 and 4 of the process.

Ready to talk? Contact us today.

STEP 2: STARTING & MEASURING

STEP TWO: STARTING & MEASURING

SUMMARY: In the 2nd step, you execute a small but compete implementation. This includes planning, selecting metrics, executing, and periodically adjusting as you go.

Some of the planning & details in this 2nd step are described below:

With a pilot, you gain direct experience with launching and supporting Agile teams. A lot of learning is gained. This learning achieves the following outcomes:

  • You leverage the assessment and training phases, by implementing Agile process with real teams
  • You assign people to roles, and identify the pilot teams
  • You finalize the operational details by finalizing plans for the pilot

One important consequence of launching a pilot is the establishment of specific metrics.

Metrics form the feedback system for dynamic steering of the Agile pilot. We work with you to select the specific metrics that reflect at least these measurement domains:

As the pilot unfolds, how you will operate and execute at scale becomes much more apparent. Challenges also surface. During the pilot phase, you gain the following:

  • Direct experience with the changes in process, coordination and value delivery
  • Hard data on and practice with the measures and metric you plan to use at scale
  • Identification of opportunities for improvement and also identification of potential challenges to improvement at scale

Most Agile pilots are implemented with willing, enthusiastic teams who want to be part of the change. Enthusiastic teams helps ensure the success of your pilot program.

Scroll down to learn more.

Do you have a specific question? Contact us here.

STEP 3: PREPARE & SCALE


Step Three: PREPARE & SCALE

SUMMARY: The 3rd step involves validating the success of your pilot and then using the pilot as a template for developing your go-forward scaling plan.

Some key executive leadership activities during this step include:

We guide you, as needed, clearly and consistently, every step of the way.

One of the most critical success factors in scaling is the availability of talented Scrum Masters and coaches. Coaching Agile teams is a specific skill and experience is a key to being effective. We prepare you for success by sourcing the coaches and Scrum Masters you’ll need to effectively scale.

With the right talent in place, you will:

  • Model the Agile approach at scale, so your people learn how genuine Agile looks and feels
  • Identify impediments to success at scale, and effectively address them
  • Achieve early ROI on your investment in process improvement

Your own people with experience will work with our professional coaches to launch your Agile-at-scale program. Our coaches mentor your people, and transfer key skills from Day 1.

The model of delivery experienced in your pilot becomes the template for scaling. With this transition you can expect new challenges around coordination at scale. We work with your executive leadership to make the following adjustments at scale:

  • Scaled planning that identifies and addresses dependencies
  • Periodic scaled coordination-meetings for planning and delivery
  • Executive ownership of the product and process cycles

Scaling identifies your unique challenges, and amplifies them. Scaling also represents an opportunity to amplify value delivery. In enterprise-wide iterations, we guide you through addressing these opportunities and challenges. The result is a realized increase in predictable value-delivery with improvements in quality & productivity.

Ready to talk? Contact us now.

STEP 4: GUIDING & IMPROVING

Step Four: GUIDING & IMPROVING

SUMMARY: Your effort at improving delivery, quality and predictability will fail without active executive participation. This means involvement beyond authorizing the budget and hiring consultants. We guide you in the following leadership tasks:

  • REDUCING RESISTANCE: Serious resistance is created when roles & responsibilities change
  • CLEAR LEADERSHIP COMMUNICATION: Participants in change need clear and consistent communication from leaders
  • REMOVING BLOCKERS: Serious impediments to the change are surfaced, resulting in a need to address these issues

Active executive engagement in leading the change is the primary way to manage and reduce these risks. We coach and guide you through this process.

In the early stages, scaling a new and effective process reveals impediments which are easy to address and remove. But as time goes on, the main impediments to progress require changes to decision rights, HR policies, and more. These changes require executive attention, executive authorization and executive action.

We work with your leadership team to streamline this process, by:

  • Explaining what executives can expect as the Agile transformation matures
  • Identifying key opportunities for enterprise-wide improvement
  • Influencing, guiding and coaching executives in how to best address these tougher challenges

Later in the Agile transformation process, after addressing these late-stage challenges, the larger opportunities to improve can be realized.

Results become visible though measurement and metrics. Measurement and metrics make improvement in quality, predictability and value delivery more visible. We define success at scale as follows:

  • Everything being measured is still improving, 6 months after the external consultants have completed their engagements
  • The organization has developed a self-sustaining capacity to develop internal Agile coaches, Scrum Masters, Product Managers, Product Owners, DevOps professionals, etc
  • The executive team is consistently engaged in the process of improving value delivery across the enterprise

We at Improving Agility are ready to guide and support your journey every step of the way:

We welcome your inquiry. Contact us today.