Unlock the Benefits of Agile in a PDO with the Right Governance and Metrics

To begin unlocking the full benefits of Agile at a product-driven organization, you’ve got to start with the right ecosystem that enables your processes to work for you. But then the question becomes: How are we doing at reaching our goals within this ecosystem? And you can’t answer that by using generic checklists.

In this video, we’ll discuss how to unlock the benefits of Agile by effectively measuring and proving that you’re getting the business value and results you’re after with the teams you’ve put in place to make it happen.

Video Transcript

We have only three levels of governance at the portfolio level, the program level, and the product team level. Each of those is anchored on our product model structure, product teams, program teams at the product line and product group level as well as the portfolio team that is ultimately accountable for the value that’s delivered in that specific portfolio. The whole theory of a product-driven organization is that in order for Agile practices and culture to really unlock the business benefits, the promise and the potential of Agile, we require a specific ecosystem. But at the end of the day, how do we actually know that we’ve truly improved the business? So we have metrics, and we have metrics at each level of our overall governance structure. So at a product team level, we are measuring many things, and it’s the traditional things that we would expect to see as part of an Agile team.

At a program team level, our program team members are accountable for continuously reducing cycle time and for making sure that none of the features are blocked. And in addition to that, looking at the rework and the number of defects that are created. Cycle time is one of the ones that we spend the most time talking about because you heard me say earlier that within our program teams we are continuously holding those program team members accountable for continuously improving the flow of value through the system. So our portfolio teams are the group that’s responsible for looking at what is the overall cycle time. So both the portfolio team and the program team are both looking at cycle time. Our portfolio team is also looking at what’s the cost to value, so how much are we actually spending and how much value is being created. They’re also looking at things like early return on investment as well as capitalization.

So kind of our big-ticket financial outcomes that are also promised when we moved to Agile. At LeadingAgile, we believe that it’s not just about the activities, it’s not about checking the box and having an activity plan. I’m going to do all of these activities. I’m going to do a training session in standup meetings. I’m going to improve the quality of my retrospectives. That’s all really good stuff, but what works for one team might not work for another team. We’re actually measuring the outcomes. How do we actually know that our activities are having value, that our activities are helping to move the needle on how well our teams are doing to really achieve the business benefits that we’re after to improve the quality of the business. When we move to a product organization, we’re being very thoughtful and strategic about how we form teams specifically to co-locate, to encapsulate for dependencies.

We have our governance structure that’s aligned to how our customers realize value. Always coming back to that customer in a rethink on value. Having that end to end accountability of the single product at a team level and to end accountability for the results of that product at a product line or product group level and end to end accountability for that product. I’m sorry, for an overall portfolio at the portfolio level. And at each level, the organization really looking at what are the metrics, how do we know that we are achieving our benefits and managing it as a system of delivery to really unlock the potential of Agile.

This article originally appeared on the LeadingAgile blog