Reported benefits of Agility
Enterprise agility have helped organizations from financial sectors, telecom, mining, oil and gas, health care and pharmaceuticals, public sector to achieve;
10 to 30 points improvements in customer satisfaction
20 to 30 points improvements in employee engagement
30 to 50% improvement in operational performance with respect to speed, target achievement and predictability
20 to 30% improvement in financial performance
Even if the benefits are high, changing the traditional mindset to agile mindset is a continuous process. It is a journey. Like every other journey, without a road map it becomes difficult to reach the destination with precision. The enterprise agility maturity model provides a clear road map for enhancing enterprise agility.
Enterprise Agility Maturity Model
Level#0 – Zero agility
Level#1 – Partly agile
Level#2 – Defined
Level#3 – Disciplined
Level#4 – Automated
Level#5 – Optimized
Level#0 – Zero Agility
Characteristics of level#0
At this stage, organizations will have either very rigid processes if it is a very traditional organization, resulting in zero agility
If it is a start-up, most probably, there will not be defined processes at all
Project teams will be using very diverse tools
Level#1 – Partially agile
Characteristics of level#1
Someone enthusiastic about agility has started experimenting with agility in some projects
No organizational sponsorship or commitment
Some projects are following some of the agile practices
There is no common vocabulary and tools
Nothing is measured in quantifiable terms (no empiricism)
Teams still work with the traditional command and control mindset
Organization understands the need to be agile
Steps required to advance to level#2 from level#1
1. Agile vision definition and communication
Why should we become more agile? What is the need for agility? Having a common challenge (risk or opportunity) out there is the best way to motivate the employees to embrace agility. Playing together to win is the essence good team performance. The agile vision of the organization must be articulated and communicated continuously and consistently to the entire organization by the senior management. Create, communicate, document, display., demonstrate the vision continuously. Do not take this lightly because proper communication or lack of it can either make or break the agile initiative.
2. Ownership definition and empowerment
Who will own the agile initiative at the organizational level?. A steering committee comprising of senior executives representing the various functions, who have the conviction to persuade others about the need for agility must be part of this steering committee. Improving agility within their functions must be one of their key responsibilities.
3. Agile awareness programs for the senior and middle level management
Do not assume that everybody is aware of true agility. Many have the fear of the unknown, when it comes to agility. The best way to to eliminate this fear is to introduce them to the agile way of working, so that they can experience the benefits. This will help them to drive it in their respective functions / teams.
4. Agile strategy development
After having established the agile vision and ownership, the next important step is to decide on the agile strategy. A good agile strategy will provide answers to the following questions;
Should we switch all projects to agile way of working?
Should we choose those functions which has high impact on customer satisfaction?
Can we follow a hybrid approach? In this approach, all teams are introduced to the agile way of working and are encouraged to practice agility where as those high impact functions are transitioned into the agile way of working holistically as quickly as possible.
5. Agile ground rules and minimum viable processes definition
Define the minimum viable agile processes to be followed by projects
Define the ground rules
Train the trainers
Train the teams
Level#2 – Defined
Characteristics of level#2
Teams are trained on the minimum viable agile practices defined at the organization level
Still there is no standardization on tools
There is no empiricism
Better visibility than level#1
Steps required to advance to level#3 - Disciplined
Standardization of monitoring and controlling tools
Mentoring / coaching
Level#3 – Disciplined
Characteristics of level#3
Highly disciplined agile implementation
All defined agile practices are followed
High degree of predictability because of empiricism
Better project visibility (transparency) due to standardized set of tools
Steps required to advance to level#4 – Automated
Investment in test automation
Investment in build and deployment automation
Level#4 – Automated (applicable for I.T projects)
Characteristics of level#4 (Applicable for software development projects)
Automated build and test cycle
Build metrics gathered and analysed
Teams regularly meet to discuss integration problems and resolve them with automation
All environments managed effectively
Operations and delivery teams regularly collaborate to manage risks and reduce cycle time
Production rollbacks rare.
Defects found and fixed immediately
Automated unit and acceptance tests
Quality metrics and trends tracked
Level#5 – Optimized
Characteristics of level#5
Wider adoption in the organization
Ability to dynamically change project portfolios gives the flexibility to change business strategies very quickly.
Agility is not a destination but a journey. As we need a map while travelling through unfamiliar territory, this agile maturity model will act as a map to travel from level 0 to level 5 of the agile continuum. A good starting point would be to create a profile of the current projects against these maturity levels which will act as a baseline to enhance agility.