Agile IQ® Score: 131-165
A team at this stage of its agile journey is in the Ha stage of Shu Ha Ri. A Stage Four team has an Agile IQ of 131-165.
Flow is a big focus for teams in Stage Four. This means embracing flow metrics from Lean, understanding lead time, cycle time and waste.
To get to the next level of agility, these teams start to embrace Systems Thinking principles.
The types of behaviours that are commonly seen in Stage Four include:
It takes at least 12 months of focus and discipline for teams to reach and sustain Stage Four behaviours. Most team never evolve beyond Stage Three.
Teams in Stage Four learn how to optimise out variability in delivery and, when focussed on relentless improvement, can double their throughput every 6 months or so at a sustainable pace, particularly when the type of work is consistent. Their work is always of a high consistent quality and their open and transparent collaboration with stakeholders produces significant levels of trust.
Stage Four teams should be able to pivot to disruptive change within a 2 Sprints.
Teams at Stage Four should have the trust of leaders and should have greater decentralised decision-making power.
By the time an enterprise and its teams move into Stage Four, the focus should be on understanding the whole product and the effectiveness of its operating model.
Issues most often occur in Stage Four when:
Integrate WIP, Cycle Time, Throughput, and Work Item Age in experiments of how to improve Time to Market and Ability to Innovate.
Value-based metrics help shift thinking from activity to the impact and outcome of investment in both the product and teams capability to deliver. Value-based metrics must be tied to goals, not deliveravbles or tasks.
Escalating decisions to leadership takes time. Trusted teams should be empowered to make significant decisions within established guardrails.
Adding flow metrics with a focus on the value stream in particular have the following impact:
Flow metrics empower leaders to create highly targetted improvement actions to improve the effectiveness of their agile operating model.
Four flow metrics are essential to improve an understand the state of items in a work system:
Flow metrics are one of the most effective tools to understand how long Features take from idea through to deployment. They are a key metric for executives, managers and agile leaders to understand the flow of work through a value stream.
ARTs benefist from flow metrics include:
Teams benefits from understanding and using flow metrics:
Kanban is a critical tool to capture flow metrics. Ensure metrics are captured throughout the Sprint and used in Retrospectives to:
Focus on Agile IQ® improvement actions that impact:
Work with Scrum Masters on mapping the value stream, its steps, inventory, and cycle time. When the value stream map has been created, assess:
When teams are impacted by impediments but don’t have the influence or power to address them, their Scrum Masters should escalate these issues to management. This helps improve transparency of the factors that impede flow and increase delivery time.
If teams don’t feel safe to highlight these issues, leaders have no visibility of what is impacting delivery speed.
Reinforce the team’s focus on accountability for delivery, but also that they have the support to raise issues knowing they have the support of leadership.
Organisations measure many different kinds of things. Broadly speaking, measures fall into three categories:
The problem most organisations face, which is often reflected in the things they measure, is that measuring activities and outputs is easy, while measuring outcomes is difficult. Organisations may gather a lot of data with insufficient information about their ability to deliver value. However, delivering valuable outcomes to customers is essential if organisations are to reach their goals. For example, working more hours (activities) and delivering more features (outputs) does not necessarily lead to improved customer experiences (outcomes).
EBM provides a set of perspectives on value and the organisation’s ability to deliver value. These perspectives are called Key Value Areas (KVAs). These areas examine the goals of the organization (Unrealised Value), the current state of the organization relative to those goals (Current Value), the responsiveness of the organisation in delivering value (Time-to-Market), and the effectiveness of the organisation in delivering value (Ability-to-Innovate). Focusing on these four dimensions enables organisations to better understand where they are and where they need to go.
Decentralised decision-making is any process where the decision-making authority is distributed throughout teams over executives and middle managers. Decentralisation, if handled correctly, can be powerful. The key is to empower employees to establish autonomy when making business decisions. However, doing this can introduce challenges for leaders and teams.
Decentralised decision-making has the following impacts:
Not all decisions should be decentralised. Some decisions are strategic, have far-reaching impact, and are outside the scope, knowledge, or responsibilities of the teams. In addition, leaders are still accountable for outcomes. They also have the market knowledge, longer-range perspectives, and understanding of the business and financial landscape necessary to steer the enterprise.
Some decisions, then, should be centralised. Generally, they share the following characteristics:
Most decisions do not reach the threshold of strategic importance. All other decisions should be decentralised. Characteristics of these types of decisions include:
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Scrum.org (2020). Evidence-Based Management Guide. Measuring value to enable improvement and agility. Online at: https://www.scrum.org/resources/evidence-based-management-guide
Scaled Agile Framework (2022) Principle #9 – Decentralised decision-making. Online at: https://www.scaledagileframework.com/decentralize-decision-making/