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Are We Succeeding With an Enterprise Transformation?

Isaac Hogue
Reading: Are We Succeeding With an Enterprise Transformation?

Over the past few years I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work with over 65 different teams in various levels of small, medium, and large businesses. In each case I was either leading the teams or advising the teams on how to become more adaptive. When I joined LeadingAgile, I was thrilled to have access to the systems and tools that Mike and Dennis had employed and discovered while working with the hundreds (if not thousands) of teams that they had coached over the years.

One of the first tools that I encountered was a set of adoption attributes that we could share with a team to would help the team learn about how teams operates when they are valuing: (1) individuals and interactions over processes and tools, (2) working software over comprehensive documentation, (3) collaboration over contract negotiation, and (4) responding to change over following a plan… or the agile manifesto.

From the adoption attributes I was able to work with a team to both show them the areas where they were seeing good adoption as well as the areas where they need to grow. This was incredibly helpful for the team and me as it provided a spot light into areas where I could target coaching while at the same time giving the team the opportunity to grant me permission to coach in that area.

As time went on, I had more and more opportunities to participate in organizational assessments that were aimed at understanding the organization’s business drivers, identifying their change management concerns, and identifying a pilot slice of the to-be value delivery structure where the enterprise transformation should start. Throughout this process I learned more and more on the adoption attributes and began thinking holistically around how to establish a repeatable system of transformation that was oriented around multiple phases of adoption.

Phase 1: Become predictable

Phase 2: Make risk and dependencies visible

Phase 3: Organize around capabilities to reduce or eliminate external dependencies

Phase 4: Streamline the delivery system

Phase 5: Fast ROI with quality and predictability (end-state business drivers)

This proved really helpful when framing up a roadmap for a transformation and thinking about it as an iterative and incremental process. I was able to work with both teams and business leaders to clarify a pathway towards the end-state that didn’t require me to solve all of the adoption problems at the same time. My initial hypothesis was that each of the phases would have different metrics to inform me that the key goal of the phase had been accomplished.

enterprise transformation

What I found, though, was that changing the metrics from phase to phase inspired confusion about how to know if the organization’s transformation was succeeding in delivering on the initial business drivers. In addition, I found that hitting phase 5 based on the adoption characteristics would indicate that a slice of the organization has adopted practices that could help deliver the business drivers in spirit; but, isn’t actually using business metrics to help them clarify along the way to ensure that they are able to deliver fast roi with quality and predictability.

My question then became, how can I best use the business drivers’ key performance indicators as a focusing point for throughout the transformation. One of the tools I came across for connecting the various perspectives of an organization’s health to the organizations KPI’s was the balanced scorecard.

So… here is my question/new hypothesis: is it true that for a transformation to really deliver the end-state goals, it needs to be measured through the organization’s balanced scorecard or other business metric dashboard? I think this is true and I also would advise that a transformation not necessarily be deemed a success until the scorecard demonstrates that the business is responding to change, accomplishing fast ROI with the desired quality and predictability within their markets.

Thoughts?

Thanks!

Next Trust me... Agile just won’t work here…

Isaac is an Enterprise Agile Coach with LeadingAgile. Prior to joining LeadingAgile he served in various leadership roles across both product management and research & development organizations.

Comments (4)

  1. Ed
    Reply

    Great article. Even took notes. We’ve all heard, what get’s measured gets done. The challenge with balance score cards for me is that they are generally abstracted too far from measurable behavior. For transformation to occur, create a measure for the specific behavior requiring modification.

    I really like the fable Patrick Lencioni tells about turning around a Pizza Place in “The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (And Their Employees)” http://www.amazon.com/Three-Signs-Miserable-Job-Employees/dp/0787995312

    Reply
    • Isaac Hogue
      Reply

      Hey Ed, great feedback! Thanks for sharing. You’re right, I think balanced scorecards, in general, are more of a signal around if the KPIs are being achieved. For the KPIs to be meaningful their relevance to the organization’s strategy, and vision, should be clearly communicated by the leadership in a way that the organization’s people will be able to connect the dots between their effort and the eventual achievement of the vision.

      Reply
  2. Frank Olsen
    Reply

    Great read, thanks. I completely agree on the (agile) balanced scorecard approach for the simple reason that we do not go agile just to go agile; we do it for some business reason. Time to market, predictability, quality, retention, ability responding to change, whatever. Agile is a mean to an end. And we have to find leading and lagging indicators telling us if we’re moving closer to our (business) goals.
    In my experience the scorecard has to be close enough to the transformation efforts to make sense to those involved; I need to see the indicators change and understand why based on my efforts. A scorecard for the entire organization can be so far removed that it doesn’t make sense. Eg, 100s of other reason can effect the ROI.

    Reply
    • Isaac Hogue
      Reply

      Hey Frank, thanks for the feedback! I completely agree on the scorecard needing to be close enough to the transformation efforts to make sense. In the near future I’ll share some of my thoughts about a way to do that.

      Reply

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