A team following the Agile approach consists of individuals from various disciplines working together towards a shared objective. They possess the ability to adjust their work methods and respond effectively to evolving customer needs.

The primary concept of an Agile team is to have a group of individuals who share a common objective and are adaptable in their work approach, making them more responsive to changing customer needs. Unlike traditional teams, Agile teams are characterized by their self-direction, self-organization, and practice of shared leadership.

Another important feature of Agile teams is their cross-functionality, emphasizing the presence of versatile specialists who can contribute to multiple areas rather than just their own. The goal is to equip team members with diverse skills to minimize hand-offs and dependencies.

Although this approach offers numerous advantages, it often necessitates significant disruption of established processes, particularly for traditional organizations transitioning to Agile methodologies. Consequently, these companies frequently encounter significant chaos and resistance, which may prove overwhelming. Consequently, they may revert to their previous ways of operating and abandon the idea of establishing Agile teams.

To mitigate this risk, a more effective approach would be to retain the existing structure, especially if it has yielded positive outcomes thus far, and gradually enhance it through continuous experimentation.

Evolutionary Approach to Building an Agile Team Structure

When initially adopting Agile, some individuals mistakenly view it as a one-time project that concludes with the implementation of a particular framework. However, in actuality, the Agile process continues to evolve as we gain knowledge and improve our practices.

This is why Kanban follows an evolutionary and people-oriented approach to establish Agile teams and foster agility throughout the entire organization. This approach urges us to begin by visualizing our current operations, respecting the existing processes and Agile roles, and subsequently progressing from that starting point.

Service-Orientation Agenda

To transform your teams and enhance their agility, it is crucial to perceive them as valuable services rather than disposable assets. Whether they are engaged in engineering, product development, sales, or marketing, every team member plays a role in creating value for the company. They contribute directly or indirectly to the final product or service, making them service providers in their own right.

To foster synergy among all teams, it is necessary to consider them as an interconnected ecosystem of interdependent services. Each service should have the opportunity to evolve independently. This approach enables you to optimize the entire value delivery process to your customers. By focusing on localized improvements at the service level, you can achieve significant enhancements on a larger scale.

Focus on the Customer

The key to enhancing our team’s value delivery lies in adopting a customer-centric perspective towards everything we create. This involves comprehending the factors that make our services suitable for their intended purpose. A valuable approach is to assess their “fitness criteria,” which serves as an indicator of how effectively a product or service meets a customer’s desires.

In addition to considering quality aspects encompassing both functional and non-functional aspects, service-delivery indicators are typically taken into account. These may include factors such as delivery rate (end-to-end duration), predictability, quantity, and so on. Agile metrics such as lead and cycle time, Work In Progress (WIP), throughput, and visualizations and charts that aid in understanding and evaluating the value delivered can be employed to measure these aspects.

Equipped with this understanding, teams can tailor their workflows to align with customer needs, resulting in the creation of services that are more suitable and purposeful for the target market.

Manage work, not people

To achieve effective service delivery, it is important to balance work management with empowering individuals to organize themselves. It is crucial to acknowledge that team members possess valuable insights into the technical aspects of customer requests, making it logical to grant them the autonomy to determine the most suitable approach for executing those requests.

Simultaneously, leaders should establish cohesion within the service network by fostering open communication and a shared sense of purpose. They should focus on managing work by visualizing queues, addressing bottlenecks, and evaluating flow efficiency, rather than solely fixating on timelines. This approach not only enhances team morale and operational efficiency but ultimately leads to improved service delivery for the end customers.

Evolve policies to improve business outcomes

In order to maintain the functionality of your systems, it is important to perceive your team’s procedures as a collection of guidelines that establish a common comprehension of how tasks are accomplished. It is crucial to make these guidelines clear and accessible to everyone involved. This enables collaborative discussions and opportunities for enhancements.

The concept is to first analyze how your teams provide services to the market, and then progressively refine their methods by considering the value delivery process from the customer’s perspective. Consequently, you will enhance overall business results while maintaining the flexibility to swiftly adjust to changing customer requirements when needed.

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