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Chapter 3: Enterprise Agility – Finding and managing business process boundaries

Autor: Néstor Flórez. Consultor Senior y experto en Agile en Quint Wellington Redwood

Agile works fine when teams have full autonomy to take control of the product they are building and to commit to the delivery of an agreed scope. To this end, you have to analyze your own production line or business service in order to redefine its scope, split it, or create value flows. Some tools, like customer journey identification, can help you in this task.

Reducing or removing any external activity which you do not have the capacity to influence is one of the best Agile practices. However, it is also one of the biggest challenges when trying to transform big organizations or complex business processes that involve multiple stakeholders. This means that to reduce cross-team dependency you will need to include that capability within the team, or apply synchronization practices to ensure that the teams have the highest autonomy within their context. How can I introduce into my team some decision makers that are traditionally found in other functional areas, departments or teams? There is no single solution. Based on the type of activity, you can follow different strategies:

  • Dependency caused by lack of knowledge:
    • Include different capabilities in your team through training courses.
    • Reorganize your team, introducing people that used to be in other functional areas to fill the gap.
  • Dependency caused by a need for formal approval or validation:
    • If possible, reduce or eliminate these types of activities. If not possible:
    • Introduce validation activities into your work packages, and be disciplined regarding compliance.
    • Compliance by design!
    • Delay validation activities after user acceptance of the product delivered to ensure value-driven work, before investing in non-value-adding efforts.
  • Dependency caused by regulatory bodies, the market, etc.:
    • Prioritize your work plan according to the dates or milestones of external actors (from outside your organization).
    • Take risks in small chunks: use evolutionary design in your product /service, in order to anticipate external decisions, without putting the full value stream at risk.

To sum up: analyze your business processes, and try to find internal or external clients at different stages, or in different layers. In this regard, look to the people involved in each layer or stage of the process. Gather all this information and think about the way to build autonomous teams, with the higher capacity to deliver value quickly. This is the way to change traditional organizations and to change traditional culture into new ones.

Next chapter: Enterprise Agility – Help me help you!

Chapter 1: Enterprise Agility – Agile 4 All
Chapter 2: Enterprise Agility – No value, no party
Chapter 5: Enterprise Agility – Agile teams, those who make the things happen
Chapter 6: Enterprise Agility – Prioritization, taking an economic view
Chapter 7: Enterprise Agility – Collaboration as a key success factor