What is Agile ?
Chanakya, the Indian Scholar said “Before you start some work, ask 3 questions:
1- Why am I doing it?
2- What the results might be?
3- Will I be successful?
Think deeply and go ahead only if you find satisfactory answers”.
Every Product or Service involves customer, developers and sponsors. Each of them has a goal and role to play in Product development, even if one of them are unhappy at the rate at which the Product is being developed, the business won’t sustain. So agility is all about making sure that there is a sustainable pace of delivery, which keeps all of them happy.
Chanakya also says, “Never be content with the level of improvement or learning”. So there is no Nirvana state for organizations and they need to improve continuously. So agile is also about building a culture of purpose to continuously improve the means to achieve the organizational purpose
Agile = Sustainable Pace = #HappilyDeliveringHappiness
We believe in Chanakya’s principles and believe that only the people who live the current state can come up with what it takes to get to the future state. Being Agile is not about adopting a specific agile process blindly but understanding the business dynamics and organization constraints and putting together a process for continuous learning and improvement. It’s about achieving ROI by reducing cost of delay by reducing the release cycles and reducing the production costs by improving the development process.
We have an empirical approach to help the organization in assessing the current state, designing a solution, educating them on the solution and coaching them to sustain the change and continuously learn and improve.
Purpose : Creating shared need
Purpose trumps the procedure. It’s important to understand why an organization wants to change so that there is motivation for continuous improvement. This phase is about identifying the variables that organization feels are not in the right direction. In order to achieve global optimization and support for change, we need to identify the variables that affect the whole system.
1. Identify the source of dissatisfaction or the area that needs to be improved (Customer, sponsor/management or developers)
2. Identify the variables that determine the team or organization’s performance that you want to change i.e. Key Progress Indicators(KPIs). E.g. Time to market, Licenses sold, customers signed, employee satisfaction, Profit made, Operational cost etc.
3. Understand both long and short term impact if you don’t change the way your team or organization is performing w.r.t these KPIs as threat or opportunity.
Reality : Identify bottlenecks
1. Collect data for the KPIs to benchmark the current reality.
2. Identify teams inside or outside the organization that are exhibiting the characteristics of what organization wants to be.
3. Systems and structure assessment: Analyze the whole system and structure to understand what structures are helping and what structures are hindering.
4. Value Stream Mapping: Create a Value Stream Map of the work done today to identify the bottlenecks in processes.
Both Purpose and Reality steps help us in building the Change Canvas:
Improve : Identify improvement areas
1. Identify what changes various parts of the organization need to make in order to improve KPIs.
2. Identify what structural and process changes need to be made to help these parts of the organization to change.
3. Create a roadmap for implementing these changes and identify the minimum viable changes (MVCs). Rollout changes gradually.
Measure : Track the progress not the process
Time box implementation of these changes and measure the effectiveness of the changes at the end of every time box. Review the progress made towards improving KPIs and identify further improvement required.
Evolve : Be empirical and evolve your process
Conduct retrospective to identify what changes were effective and what were not. Rinse and Repeat.