Your Agile Transformation Will Fail
Software teams have been adopting Agile methods for decades. Small teams have crushed it, producing higher quality products in shorter time horizons with fewer bugs and less waste. And yet enterprise Agile transformation programs often utterly fail to produce the business outcomes their sponsors and proponents hope for. Why?
Success with Small Teams . . .
Teams of 6-8 people can take Agile off the shelf and figure out how to get great gains out of it. Simply creating a clear backlog improves efficiency. Empowering an autonomous team is at once motivating and at the same time enhances accountability. Deploying working software enables you to measure your progress with actual user feedback, and learn and adapt. The customers and the teams building the software love it. And the more of Agile they implement, the greater the gains.
. . . Failure in the Enterprise
Success with individual teams prompts application of Agile practices at the organizational scale. And it fails.
“Scale” normally means implementing a few more teams with the same formula. How is that connected to any other part of the organization? Minimum Viable Transformation (MVT) must involve a minimal sliver that goes across--and is sufficiently representative of--the broader enterprise. That can include Portfolio Management, Finance, Marketing, Forecasting or other functions, which are unlikely to be expecting an Agile transformation.
In the absence of this end-to-end approach to Agile at scale, how can you be sure that your business results will be any different than before? We’ve even encountered cases where productivity plummeted as the organization and the adoption of Agile practices grew.
Can Human Resources, for example, develop team rewards that balance out existing individual rewards? In their absence, the Agile experiment will reset as soon as the mid-year review wave rolls over the teams: everyone will be reminded that they are rewarded on individual performance and revert their habits and behaviors to match. The same goes for the PMO and their planning cycle; for Finance when they set budgets or review forecasts; and the list goes on.
These are, in the end, all organizational problems. That's where Lab Zero comes in.
While each team has the values and principles of Agile, solving organizational problems like the ones outlined above requires realigning the values of the entire organization. From those core values and principles come structure, governance, and finally metrics and tools. Those things don't change in a day. Depending on what your organization does today, and how it does it, the path to scaled Agile will be different. We help you find your path.
We've been at this since the days of the Manifesto. We specialize in scaling Agile to enterprises. From banks to commodity hardware manufacturers to the producers of the most sought-after consumer goods--we've sat shoulder-to-shoulder as they attempted to scale Agile. We know what's different from situation to situation, and we can identify the best path for your organization.
What We Deliver
We look at your organization. We ask questions of your team members. We talk to your leaders. We listen to your customers.
Of course, we identify value streams and propose accompanying Agile Release Trains. But often the greatest gains come from discovering hidden pathways that are embedded in the way you're delivering software already. Skills footprints, historical team interactions, silos of accountability--these are all patterns that yield insights that can help you move your business forward.
Agile rollout at the enterprise level is never as simple as adding Agile Release Trains, although that's a big part of ramping up. We create templates and processes that integrate the work of your Agile Release Trains. We coach you through Cost-of-Delay Prioritizing. We help you build a compelling end-to-end approach for the rollout of an Agile Operating Model within your enterprise, and we provide support for your plan, to get your organization bought-in--from your executive stakeholders to your scrum masters to your customers.
We coach. And we train your trainers so that you have the capacity within your organization to roll out your Agile Operating Model. Changing the way an organization works isn't just offering templates and processes. It's being in the room and hearing the feedback during program increment planning and offering the right pattern at the right time. It means engaging leaders across the organization. We use a workshop approach to get teams working smoothly together, and we roll up those smoothly functioning units into still larger units until you're confident to complete the process.
These three activities continue in a cycle, and we work with you to get your first success, and to keep you on the edge of innovation. Not only do we deliver change. We embed the system for delivering chain in your organization. You're left with the future capacity to transform in a manner that is fast, cheap, and safe.
How Scaled is Your Agile?
Maybe you have multiple teams succeeding with Agile in top-secret underground silos, and you're trying to bring them into the light of day. Maybe you're trying to merge successfully scaled Agile business units. Maybe you've started your Agile rollout and you feel like it could be going better than it is. You may have a rollout plan in progress. We've been there. We're here to help.
Continue the conversation.
Lab Zero is a San Francisco-based product team helping startups and Fortune 100 companies build flexible, modern, and secure solutions.