Executives are generally unhappy with the speed at which their strategic initiatives are achieved. In 2019, Gartner highlights that 85% have adopted or are planning to adopt an agile product centric frameworks to deliver faster, without compromising on quality, with the advantage of reprioritising needs as requirements are better understood or the market changes. The benefits delivered through agile products frameworks over through projects are very real.
“Fake Agile” is the veneer created through just “tweaking” existing processes and creating the symbols normally associated with agile – visual boards, stand-ups, and replacing teams with squads. Very few benefits come from Fake Agile and its metrics encompass “team happiness”.
True agility, though, requires a shift in mindset, actions and behaviours of individuals (from executives through to teams) as well as a change to an organisation’s processes. The types of actions and behaviours expected of the agile enterprise were initially described by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka (Harvard Business Review, 1986).
Leaders create an element of tension by setting very challenging, yet achievable, outcomes.
Leaders set the vision and the rules for working, while teams organise themselves and work with autonomy, self-transcendence and cross-fertilisation.
People use Deming's Plan-Do-Check-Adjust (P-D-C-A) pattern with short work cycles and fast feedback loops.
Encouraging people to work with each other to accumulate experiences in areas other than their specialty.
Instead of directing work, the emphasis for leaders is reinforcing the checkpoints in P-D-C-A to prevent instability, ambiguity, and tension from turning into chaos.
Encouraging and promoting people to transfer their learning to others outside of their team.
The six pieces fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, forming a fast flexible process for new product development. Just as important, Takeuchi and Nonaka highlight, this approach acts as a change agent: it is a vehicle for introducing agility – creative, market-driven ideas and processes into an old, rigid organisation. If enacted, then, the strength of these behaviours will be the earliest measures of agility, and your earliest indication of reaping benefits:
In 2001, these behaviours were defined in the Agile Manifesto and its 12 principles. Today, these elements are described by the agile mindset – actions and behaviours combined to promote a different way of thinking about work and, importantly, a different way to deliver work.
Read more about what makes up an Agile Mindset.
When tracked over time, ZXM’s data showed that Agile IQ was strongly correlated with ability to pivot, reduced costs through reductions in rework, and reductions in cost through both improvements in productivity as well as reductions in overtime needed to produce the same output.
Many organisations use vanity metrics to indicate whether their teams and their organisation is agile. Team happiness, velocity, attendance at agile events or town hall presentations on agile – while these can be useful, they don’t predict whether you’re on track to receiving the outcomes you’re seeking from agile.
Agile IQ® is an effective way to measure agile capability maturity over time. It’s a good leading indicator of the changes to mindset, behaviour and culture that’s needed to ensure that your investment in the agile enterprise is on track to deliver the results you need.
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Focusing on products and how value flows to the customer will help ultimately ensure that your transformation program is more likely to succeed.
What metrics do you need to understand whether you’re going to achieve enterprise outcomes for agile transformations
You have reports to deliver to executive. Delivery, risk, and cost is foremost on their mind. What kind of reports on your agile capability and delivery, based on objective agile project management metrics, are going to provide you with the best transparency of what’s really going on?
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