Expert Guidance to Ensure Agility & Top-notch Systems & Software
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In this Update, I delve deeper into the importance of the level at which analytics are performed — in particular, the need to pay attention to two keywords: granularity and context. In the absence of awareness of granularity and context, analytics may not provide the necessary value to the business and, as a result, increase business risks.
I’ve come to understand that trust is one of the most fundamental ways that leaders can give their teams space within an Agile transformation effort.
Communication is difficult. It turns out that this approach of opening minds to the potential benefits of opposing ideas can be very valuable. Time and again we find that the best approach is at neither end of the scale, but instead at a “sweet spot” that balances the forces and harvests the best aspects of either end of the scale.
Srinivas Garapati explores important philosophies and the mindset behind Agile and Lean. He starts with the thinking patterns required to be successful. He then considers the nature of an Agile organization and finishes with strategies for organizational design.
Jutta Eckstein and John Buck walk us through an enterprise-aware approach that helps optimize the process flow of value streams. The authors show how to apply “Open Space” and “Sociocracy” to support enterprise Agile transformation. Open Space is a technique where everyone is invited to put forward ideas that they’re passionate about; if there is enough interest in the idea people will get behind it and make it happen. Sociocracy is a form of democracy for use in organizations, building feedback mechanisms into the organizational structure itself that ensure every voice is heard. Both strategies promote enterprise awareness, increasing collaboration between people in what would normally be disparate parts of the organization and helping optimize flow as the situation evolves.
Gill Kent and Robin Harwood provide a case study about linking Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) workflows and user stories. They focus on the importance of initial modeling during what they call the Discovery phase of a digital transformation project. In their example, they followed a pragmatic, Agile approach to modeling the business and their host systems to gain important insight into the enterprise transformation scope and a vision of the required system change for their endeavor. This enabled them to establish a business/stakeholder vision that captured a clear scope for the following phases. With an initial technical strategy/architecture identified, the team was able to name a backlog of architecturally relevant stories, mitigating the risk of late identification of system integration requirements and the potential for significant rework. In short, a pragmatic investment in initial modeling and planning paid off in huge dividends for their Agile team.
In his discussion of the five levels of a digital business ecosystem (DBE), Jaco Viljoen explores the idea that “choice is good because context counts.” The five levels, each with its own set of capabilities that build one on top of another, are: waterfall/traditional, hybrid Agile (a combination of waterfall and Agile), regular delivery, continuous delivery, and continuous exploration. The five DBEs provide insight into which process-building blocks to apply. Viljoen also discusses using a framework to achieve business agility at scale.
Matthew Ganis and Michael Ackerbauer describe how to build awesome teams. You want to be Agile (of course!) and adopt Agile practices. Awesome teams have the skills and resources to fulfill their mission and include the right mix of personalities. The authors argue that the organization is really a “team of teams” that needs a shared purpose and way of working to make the abstract concrete. According to them, awesome teams build on a common foundation based on the concept of Breakthrough Thinking/diversity of thought.