Measuring the success of organizational agility

  • Posted on August 21, 2014
Organizational Agility

The following blog post was written by Avanade alum Karel Deman.

As we venture on our own journey to become more agile, Avanade’s leadership continuously seeks to understand whether or not the Agile @ Avanade program is paying off. Rightly so. At the end of the day, we are investing heavily in building an enterprise-wide capability. But, is the agile transformation program contributing to the value of Avanade’s perceived agility?

Enter Scrum.org’s evidence-based management for software organizations – or EBMgt. EBMgt is a new framework from Scrum.org to measure value as evidence of organizational agility.

A good analogy for EBMgt is how a doctor evaluates a patient’s health. The physician could base his or her care decisions on knowledge acquired in medical school or on a general gut feeling. Or, in line with EBMgt, the doctor could use patient-specific direct evidence like blood tests and family medical history to help inform decisions about treatment.

Quite often, management efforts focus directly on the practices used rather than on the outcomes produced. “What’s the quality of our code?” “Is team velocity increasing?” “Is build automation in place?” These are commonly asked questions, and while interesting, they are irrelevant to organizational value because they are considered to be circumstantial evidence of value. EBMgt is the application of direct, objective evidence by managers to make decisions.

We have successfully used agile for years now within our own IT organization. To measure the actual effectiveness of our teams implementing common agile practices, we have been piloting the implementation of EBMgt in the past year.

To ensure organizational agility, we focus on three key value areas:

  1. Current value – this provides evidence of the value that we are able to derive from our IT organization
  2. Time-to-market -  it’s important that we evaluate the ability to actually deliver new features and services
  3. The ability to innovate - this speaks for itself because teams focus on delivering high-value features, rather than on simply keeping the lights on

We make sure that all three focus areas are equally represented – the current value must be accompanied by evidence of the ability to meet internal demand with timely delivery, and must be self-sustaining over time.

As Avanade’s CIO, Chris Miller, touches on our technology vision in his recent blog post, we have implemented a single business productivity platform that takes advantage of technologies like social networking, mobility and videoconferencing to foster greater collaboration and knowledge sharing.

We are not limiting the implementation of EBMgt to our IT organization alone. We are also starting to implement organizational agility at an enterprise-level with some of our most agile customers.

The EBMgt framework is only one of many tools that Avanade uses to help organizations measure, diagnose and improve value delivered.

This blog post is the second in a series about Agile @ Avanade by author Karel Deman. Each part of the series will be published every other week, so stop back to read the latest installment.

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