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Using Agile to Become More Agile

As development teams adopt Scrum and other agile development techniques, the rest of the organization often struggles to deal with frequent, incremental releases. How can they get the full advantage that agile development offers?

Scrum.org's Agility PathTM framework is designed to help all groups in the value-delivery chain learn to continuously improve the company's agility. Being able to adapt to new market conditions faster than your competitors is essential. It takes everyone in the organization focusing on the same goals.

Agility Path uses agile principles and practices to iteratively focus on the most important areas for improvement, inspect (measure) capabilities and improvements, and adapt to changing capabilities.

It starts with the Agility Path Baseline; a measure of the company's current agile practices and capabilities. The Baseline measures company-level performance and important agile practices throughout the organization across 5 specific "domains": Enterprise, Process, Productivity, Quality, and Value.

The Agility Index is a single number between 1 and 100 indicating a high-level summary of the company's agility and can be used to measure progress compared to future, periodic Agility Path measurements.

In addition to the Agility Index, the Baseline develops a measure of performance for specific agile practices. These measures help the organization focus on the biggest "bang for the buck" investments in improving agility.

Once a Baseline is established, the company organizes an Agility Team to drive continuous improvement:

  • A Product Owner maximizes the value of each change and manages the Practice Backlog; a list of all change opportunities identified in the company.
  • A cross-functional Change Team leads the actual change work, self-managing to ensure effective improvements are implemented.
  • And an Agility Master (aka Scrum Master) to ensure the Agility Path process is followed and to help the Change Team to remove impediments.

The Agility Team works in one month iterations, inspecting and adapting the Practice Backlog and the approach to change on a regular basis. The familiar Scrum events guide the Agility Team:

  • Sprint planning to identify what changes will be implemented in the iteration and how those changes will be implemented.
  • Regular Scrum meetings (once or twice per week) to evaluate progress and update the Sprint plan.
  • A Sprint Review to evaluate the results of change from the Sprint.
  • And a Sprint Retrospective for the Agility Team to evaluate the effectiveness in creating change and a plan for improving that effectiveness.

Guided by a Scrum.org Agility Path Engagement Manager, companies can use agile to become more agile ensuring maximum return on their agility investment.

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