What is Agility Path?
Agility Path is a continuous, two-step feedback loop. The first step is gathering and analyzing the key business and process data needed to assess the current state of a company in each of its critical function areas. The next step is using this data (what we term “metrics”) to identify where improvements are most needed to have an immediate and positive impact on the company’s performance. Key to this process is breaking down large, usually systemic problem areas, into manageable chunks that can be swiftly, effectively, and quantifiably addressed.
For some companies, having help from a consultant to gather the necessary metrics will be enough. These companies have the people and systems in place to implement changes to the identified improvement areas (what we term “practices”) on their own. Other companies, however, will require significantly more help translating these metrics into tangible next steps.
Companies, again, will vary on how much assistance they require at this point. Some will just need help getting started. Others will prefer to have ongoing support from a trained consultant in the months and years ahead. Agility Path is customizable to short- and long-term engagements. It is not, however, a one- size-fits-all framework that can be superimposed onto any and all companies. Rather, it is a highly customizable framework that shows how agility can be earned by an organization truly committed to becoming agile.
Spearheading this effort, no matter what the duration, is an Agility Path expert (what we term an “Engagement Manager”). This specially trained consultant works in tandem with cross-functional management teams within your organization to identify and put into action continuous improvement. Metrics and practice effectiveness are periodically quantified and recorded. Tracked over time, these measurements provide a transparent look into how the business is actually operating.
What are the tools?
Agility Path links current enterprise activities (metrics) with a process for continuous improvement (agile practices). Ongoing progress is measured through the Agility IndexTM.
Scrum.org consultants are trained in the use of sophisticated analysis tools to mine through reams of data to extract meaningful information for each of your function areas. These metrics are related to costs to help you measure the effectiveness of your investment. The data collection can start at any point during your company’s engagement with Scrum.org.
Agile practices that maximize value and eliminate waste are applied to your current processes. They Agile practices are actions that can best maximize value and eliminate waste when applied to your current processes. They are organized into cross-functional domains that house business functions such as product development, sales, marketing, finance, and customer support. These practices are ordered and tracked in an Enterprise Practice Backlog. Over time, their progressive adaptation and implementation should yield continuous improvement. These improved metrics should, in turn, be reflected in an increase in the company’s Agility Index.
The Agility Index is a blended metric that represents the business value of organizational agility. Using a proprietary calculation to arrive at a value between 0-100, the Agility Index is an indicator of a company’s overall performance based on its enterprise-wide agility. A baseline Agility Index is taken at the initial phase of Agility Path and then measured again in regular intervals so that progress can be tracked over time.
How to get started on Agility Path?
When the decision is made to scale agility throughout an organization, its leaders need to run a structured continuous improvement program in order to embed this new way of thinking and working. Agility Path uses Scrum at the enterprise level as the management framework to master this organizational change in a reduced risk manner. You can start the discussion today with the Scrum trainer currently working with your organization or through a designated Engagement Manager listed on scrum.org/agility-path.
Ralph Jocham is founder of effective agile. an agile consulting company. He works there globally as an agile change agent helping customers of various business domains to improve their productivity, quality and throughput by using agile practices. Currently, Ralph’s main focus is targeted towards enabling management to understand agile and see how Scrum will benefit them in their given context.
Ralph co-designed the Professional Scrum Developer (Java) course and is Europe’s first Professional Scrum Master Trainer for Scrum.org since 2010.
The book The Professional Scrum Product Owner was written by Ralph Jocham and Don McGreal.
Ralph has over 20 years of global (DE, UK, USA, CH) development experience in various technologies and blue chip business domains. Ralph believes that state of the art development practices and a clear business value focus are crucial for the ROI.
You can read more about Ralph Jocham at www.effectiveagile.com.