We have already written about how Leadership and Delivery Teams operate in a Real Agility Program. It’s time to look at our Recommendations component: getting started on the right path for Real Agility.
Recommendations = Assessment + Playbook
In the assessment portion of the Recommendations component, we gather information about the current situation at an organization. This includes everything from detailed practices, processes and tools, to strategies and organizational culture. This assessment work is designed to help everyone understand the organization’s current gaps, and what strengths it has that will best support it to cross those gaps to Real Agility. The Assessment includes an online portion, an on-site portion and an off-site portion. The assessment work naturally leads to the development of the playbook.
The online assessment requires that each person throughout an organization complete an online survey about corporate culture. It includes three major sections: existing challenges, sense of urgency, and level of teamwork. This cultural survey is the foundation of understanding how to be successful with Real Agility. Managers and leaders are also asked to complete an additional questionnaire about the current environment at the organization. This includes high-level information about the structure of the organization, client and vendor relationships, and staff. Additional surveys may also be administered to understand other aspects of the organization. For example, in an organization that is struggling to use Scrum, we will often use the Scrum Team Assessment.
The onsite portion of the assessment combines in-person interviews and workshops with staff and managers. Interviews explore aspects of the corporate work environment in more depth and include questions about familiarity with Agile methods, and obstacles that people might see to adopting Agile. The workshops gather data around current challenges and strengths, success criteria for projects, situational analysis for teams, and existing metrics (or lack thereof). Typically we need a meeting room committed to our consultants for doing interviews.
The offsite portion of the assessment is used for us to evaluate and analyze the survey, interview and workshop results. We also use some time to review any relevant documentation such as process templates, org charts, governance requirements, etc. We may also use some of this time for follow-up phone calls or emails to clarify aspects of the assessment results. Finally, this offsite work is also where we do the bulk of the development of the recommendations in the playbook.
Several aspects of our assessment are based on the OpenAgile Catalyst Assessment Tools which are open-source and can be found online. We also have a number of proprietary tools.
The playbook maps out a path to a successful Real Agility transformation. It is a road map that helps leaders, managers and team members make good business decisions as they strive for Real Agility. The playbook aids the organization to effectively and appropriately launch Real Agility teams: management teams, project teams, and operational teams. The Real Agility Program playbook includes analysis of the assessment results, recommendations for work that the organization can do on its own and suggests outside assistance that enhances Real Agility results. Two critical questions that are answered in the Playbook include:
- What Agile method or methods should we be using and why?
- What organizational change approach should we take and why?
We deliver the recommendations in the form of the playbook and an executive summary slide deck in an iterative and incremental fashion so that stakeholders can give us early feedback and so that we can adapt our assessment agenda as we go along. The recommendations include ideas about organizational structure, staffing, governance changes, departmental relationships, tooling, and many other aspects of how an enterprise can best become and Agile enterprise.
Following the Recommendations in the Real Agility Program playbook results in huge time-to-market improvements, 200% (or better) productivity boost for delivery teams, and extremely satisfied customers and staff.