Executive Whitepaper: An executive guide to scaling agile to the enterprise.

In a world where progress never sleeps, your program and product management needs to be able to adapt strategically and rapidly pivot where needed. Top performing CIOs are twice as likely to be doing agile product-centric delivery, so what are you waiting for? Start delivering on time and on budget every time by scaling agile to the enterprise.


Download our whitepaper today to learn more about agile, and to see if you, your managers, and your teams are ready.

Not sure where to start?

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Benefits of an agile product management operating model.

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Where to start: pragmatic, incremental change.

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Metrics and results you can expect.

The smart way to be agile.

At Zen Ex Machina, our goal is to improve 1M working lives, from executives to teams, by 2025. We do this through a focus on aligning to impacts and outcomes over strategy by PowerPoint. Our results speak for themselves.

200% productivity increase

by coaching leadership and their team to integrate continuous improvement into their planning and delivery practices.

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$2M savings per program

by coaching executives to understand and enact Learn Thinking—reducing waste and reporting on investments and outcomes, over deliverables.

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50% faster delivery

We’ve turned 6-month delivery cycles into as little as 3-weeks through mapping the value stream and highlighting the cost of delay of upfront scoping and budget activities.

Get an agile assessment now.

We can examine your ROI for agile across the enterprise in as little as a week. This assists executives make the financial case for an investment that could double your productivity.   

New at ZXM Blog

A collection of stories, the latest insights, and experiences from our agile consultants.

Avoiding the Scrumban trap

Should you use agile for everything? Surely not! Waterfall is useful, but the question of agile or not agile doesn’t really apply to the work. It applies to the team.

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Groupthink: the bane of high performing Agile Teams

What makes an agile team great and why? After coaching a number of teams in Scrum, we’ve now seen a number that, after a some months now, could be considered high performers. Some of these go bad and reject any external criticism regardless of how accurate that might be. Why do these teams go bad? Groupthink might have the answer.

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Scrum has changed! What’s out? What’s new?

The last Scrum Guide was published in 2017. In 2020, what does the Scrum Guide now reinforce as “best practice” for its framework? Scrum in non-software environments – including medicine, HR, and finance, as well as in service delivery – is now its focus.

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How do I run a Retrospective?

The Retrospective is one of five events in Scrum. It’s purpose is to inspect the whole Scrum Team from the perspective of people, process and tools, and then adapt the way the whole team works (including the Product Owner).

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Increase your Ability to Pivot with Agile Change Management Practices

Traditional Change Management’s linear approach exacerbates the steepness of the change curve and leads to a “Productivity Dip” as it attempts to manage risk through upfront planning. Agile Change Management addresses this dip by iterative customer feedback to focus efforts on the most important activities, determined by customer value and stakeholder impact and outcomes

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What Knowledge and Experience do you need to be an Agile Coach?

To be effective, agile coaches require deep, applied expertise and experience across multiple organisations, multiple projects and industries. As the organsiation scales, the Agile Coaching Development Pathway shows the focus of the role as it scales to more responsibilities beyond being a coach of a single team and provides guidance on what knowledge and experience is required to be an Enterprise Coach.

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Better together: Agile + Lean UX

How do you make Design Thinking, Lean UX, and Agile work together. Sprint 0? Design Sprints? Upfront design and planning tends to delay the delivery of value, so there must be a better way to use Scrum but also engage in discovery work at the same time without devolving into parallel design work. Integrating design, user research, and experimentation into Sprints is the key.

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How do I run a Sprint Review?

The Sprint Review is one of five events in Scrum. It’s purpose is to inspect the Increment of work, get feedback, and then adapt the Product Backlog. And while many people refer to the Sprint Review as the “demo” or “showcase”, this is only one aspect of the Sprint Review.

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Improving Program Agility using Evidence Based Measures of Agility in OKRs

OKRs have been an established way to set objectives however the associated activities tend to focus on outputs and not outcomes and impacts. To measure Program Agility, we used Evidence Based Management (EBM) as a framework for OKRs to help shift metrics towards value of the investment to help them make strategic investment decision based on evidence to improve business outcomes.

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How do I run a Daily Scrum?

Many people use the Daily Scrum to provide a status report to the Product Owner or Scrum Master, and even to stakeholders, but this event plays a more critical part in ensuring that the team continues to stay focussed on their goal and adapt their work so they improve their chance of achieving it.

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Measuring agile culture with Agile IQ

Agile IQ® is an effective way to measure agile culture. Overall, it’s an effective leading indicator of the changes to mindset, behaviour and culture that’s needed to ensure that your investment in your agile enterprise is on track to deliver the results you need.

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How do I run Sprint Planning?

Sprint Planning is one of Scrum’s five events. There’s more to it than just making a plan. Importantly, as an action of empiricism, the team should be inspecting the Product Backlog and adapting, and creating, a Sprint Backlog that makes their plan to achieve the Sprint Goal, and deliver a potentially releasable Increment, transparent.

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Setting up a New Agile Team

When setting up new agile teams we have found that starting small with the basics and adding patterns as they start to develop capability has helped us get new teams up and running within 2-3 days and acheive a baseline of agile capability within 3 months

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Measuring agility with Agile IQ

Agile delivers significant benefits over traditional ways of working, but how do you know when you’re agile? How do you use a metrics-driven approach to create repeatability, consistency, and scalability of agile capability across the enterprise? Agile IQ is the key.

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Product Management versus Project Management

Gartner reports that 85% of executives are now turning to agile product management over projects. Why is this shift occurring and what do you need to know about product management to optimise your strategic investments for greater market share, better ability to pivot, or get your products to market faster?

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Remote PI Planning – Insights into what worked and what didn’t

Running remote PI planning for the first time 100% virtual was a bit daunting a few weeks ago when the reality set in that with the current crisis, this was now our reality. We prepared, thought through worse case scenarios and had back up plans and felt eerily calm as the day began. It was a great success and here are our tips.

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Principles of Effective Governance

What governance best supports product development efforts using agile frameworks? Don’t be tempted to over complicated things with a hybrid committee structure. Scrum has all the roles and responsibilities you need to deliver value.

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Multitasking is ruining your productivity when you’re working remotely

De-stressing when you’re working from home with a brisk walk around the block is essential for productivity. There is, unfortunately, all the unwanted breaks. Notifications on your phone. Email alerts that have popped up. A tick-tock video that needs watching. Unfortunately, switching tasks for just a few seconds is ruining your productivity.

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How leadership can promote a remote agile team culture

Scrum teams excel in rapidly changing complex environments and their ability to adapt and pivot to fast changing business priorities can be a huge advantage. However, the current abrupt shift from co-located to remote working would challenge even the most high performing agile team.

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Scaling agile from 5 teams to 27 teams within 12 months

Scaling is challenging and one of the key reasons agile initiatives fail is that the culture of the organisation is at odds with agile mindset and agile principles. But the next key factor is management support. So we knew that this change needed to be driven and supported by the leadership team in order to be successful.

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Executive agility to be able to respond effectively in chaos

Now more than ever, the ability to respond to change over ‘following a plan’ couldn’t ring truer. Now we are working from home, readjusting to a new ‘norm’, but all the while living in a state of chaos whilst still ‘keeping the lights on’ in the space of not months or years but in weeks, days and even hours. How do executives ensure their agile teams remain productive when working remotely?

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Assessing capability of agile teams to either strive or stumble as remote virtual teams

The concern is that with remote working, we lose visibility and transparency and may not identify a problem till later down the track when a release or delivery is at risk. We analysed teams and provided executives with transparency of which teams we needed to target for coaching support and guidance to uplift the team’s ability to work remotely, remain cohesive as a team and deliver successfully.

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Working together with multiple agile coaches

How do you get the most from your agile coaching investment? As more and more organisations build agility into their operating models, they’re realising the benefits of expert agile coaching to help drive and support agile adoption and improvement. Creating and supporting alignment across agile coaches is key to reap the rewards that agile ways of working can bring.

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Scrum Master Tips for Running Scrum Events Remotely

As Scrum masters we are used to dealing with an ever changing, complex environment and that is the sweet spot for being agile and where having an agile mindset is crucial. It’s now more critical than ever, for Scrum Masters to ensure agile practice is maintained and to support teams to continuously improve their practice and self organise but stay connected and focused on the Sprint Goal.

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“Netiquette” for online meetings for remote and distributed teams

As with face-2-face meetings, online meetings also have an etiquette (“Netiquette”) to make them effective. One of the 12 principles of the agile manifesto suggests face-to-face is the best option but in today’s world of social distancing and WFH, it is no longer an option.

Here are the guidelines we have found useful for having for online meetings with distributed

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22 Stances of a Scrum Master

The Scrum Master doesn’t remove impediments from the team. Their job encompasses 22 wider stances for supporting the team to self-organise to remove impediments themselves, coaching the Product Owner and coaching the wider organisation.

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Copyright © Zen Ex Machina® and ™ (2021). All rights reserved. ABN 93 153 194 220

Copyright © Zen Ex Machina® and ™ (2021). All rights reserved. ABN 93 153 194 220

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