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How do you Track Value in an Agile Transformation?

Tim Zack
Reading: How do you Track Value in an Agile Transformation?

There are a lot of vanity metrics floating around in Agile. The fact of the matter is it doesn’t matter how many ScrumMasters you run through a CSM class, it doesn’t matter how many people you train, and how many daily standups you run. While those things might be necessary, on their own they don’t provide true value to your organization. The actual base unit of value is in a Transformation is a Transformed organization. One that’s operating with predictability and is able to get smaller increments of product into market faster so that your company can begin seeing an ROI. Learn more in this short two-minute video with our CEO, Mike Cottmeyer.

Video Transcript 

What is the unit of value in an Agile Transformation, right? How many people have like a Transformation plan that says, I’m going to train these people, I’m going to get these Scrum Masters, I’m going to run them through CSM class and I’m gonna make sure these teams have backlogs. Which that’s actually kind of valid, but I mean there’s lots of like what I might call like vanity metrics in a Transformation. And what I would suggest is that when we’re starting to think about literally managing change, what the unit of value of a Transformation is, is a Transformed organization. It’s an organization that is actually delivering with better predictability. It’s delivering in smaller batches, it’s able to put things in market faster. And the idea is what we want to be able to say is that we had a hypothesis that we are going to take this group of nine teams and we are going to get them predictable in four months and here’s how we measure that they are predictable.

And then we’re going to get them to reduce batch size. And this is how we can start to measure what the reduction in cycle time is on the features, right? The more frequent that we’re able to release into production, right? Here’s how we’re able to measure getting the teams operating with more autonomy. This is how we are able to measure innovation and product Fed, right? And you can start to create a metrics program that kind of measures where you’re at along this continuum. Because the problem that you have is that when you train people and you hope for improvement, I think we all have enough anecdotal evidence of this 20 years in that sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. So why isn’t it working the same way all the time? Right? It’s because our fundamental hypothesis of transformation with scrum fundamentally taught us was that Scrum doesn’t fix anything.

It just shows you your impediments, right? And then it’s up to us to remove the impediments. But what if it shows us impediments that we don’t have agency to fix? We just get stuck, right? And so all I’m saying is that the things that we need to do to fix it have to be first order concerns. And believe it or not, we’re deep into this on a couple of like multi thousand people Transformations. The largest we’re running right now is about 13,000 and I am telling you the patterns hold across all the different companies. You have to do the same kinds of things to get an organization predictable right? At 13,000 as you do at 600 right? And then the progressions are all relatively common. Now, don’t get me wrong, the uniqueness of the technology stack, the uniqueness of the people, the uniqueness of the business problem, the political things you have to overcome, the challenges, right? All that stuff is unique, right? But the framework for change is pretty consistent, right? Once you kind of get into your head that the unit of value is a Transformed organization as a better performing organization, and you can actually start to lay out what does better performing mean over time? It doesn’t have to be a guess.

Next SoundNotes Live at Agile 2019: Day Two

Tim Zack is a digital native with almost 10 years experience solving marketing problems with technology. Tim’s strengths are in strategic planning, UX, analytics, marketing automation, content and search marketing. Leveraging his experience across multiple industries, Tim drives marketing strategy for LeadingAgile.

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