Thinking About Scaling Agile?

Maybe there's pressure to deliver new features your customers have been demanding, but you don't know which ones to prioritize. Or, you're feeling heat from competitors, but your teams are already maxed out with other work.

Maybe  development teams already use agile practices, but that’s not enough: your business initiatives still fall short, and the competition is gaining ground.

I’m guessing you’ve read some articles, seen some analyst reports, and heard the buzzwords touting the virtues of enterprise agility, agile at scale, and the Scaled Agile Framework®(SAFe®); but you’re unsure what these mean and how they relate to each other.  

Don't Freak Out

If your teams are successful with agile you’re already on your way to delivering more value to your customers and your business. What you need is a plan to do the right work faster and on a regular cadence.We call this Strategy Meets Execution. It is the sweet spot where you build mid-range plans and realize exponential business value from coordinated work across multiple agile development teams.  

Scaling agile across teams and connecting your strategy with your agile execution requires a fundamental cultural shift in planning and executing work, and commitment from top-to-bottom within your organization. It takes time and an investment to transform a business, with plenty of “inspecting and adapting” along the way.

The Three Building Blocks of Agile at Scale

From our experience helping some of the largest enterprises in the world transform their practices and culture, we’ve identified three building blocks in order to successfully build a scaled agile delivery engine.

  1. Consistent use of agile development practices across the development organization. Whether you have none, many, or all of your teams running agile, you may find that they use inconsistent approaches and processes or that you have different teams using different tools. Consistency in both process and tools is required to coordinate the work of teams of teams--and to align that work to the business initiatives.  
  2. Commitments from executives, the business and the PMO to change the way strategic work is defined, planned and managed. A successful transformation relies on an organization-wide dedication to doing things differently. Change is hard for most humans, but easier if there’s top-to-bottom support.
  3. Methodology and tools that link agile execution to strategic plans; scale to support multiple, coordinated teams and programs; and gives visibility to business stakeholders to quickly meet new opportunities, address risks and respond to competitive pressures.

As you consider your process (SAFe, DAD, LeSS, and others) and tooling options, ask the following questions: Does methodology accommodate all roles in the organization who need to participate in portfolio planning and release planning? Does the agile tool or platform support rollups that connect the work of teams to programs or teams of teams, and connect user stories to features and initiatives? Can you access metrics that let you benchmark your development teams' work and get insights that increase performance and predictability? Can business stakeholders look at dashboards and reports and know whether they're on track to deliver on a major business initiative?  

These three things will give you the foundation for a successful transformation. It will align your business goals with the actual development work. It will help you prioritize the work, give you visibility into the progress of work and help your business adapt to fast-moving opportunities and threats. It will also transform the culture into one that values innovation, servant leadership, customer empathy and adaptability in a fast-moving, competitive market.

To learn more contact CA Technologies agile services

This blog is syndicated from CA Technologies.  Read more on Highlight, the CA blog.

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