How We Define Agile
There’s a lot of confusion about what “agile” means today depending on who you ask. Is it a culture? Is it a mindset? Is it a software development process? At Responsive Advisors, we’re crystal clear about what it means to be agile and we help our clients to understand it too.
We see being “agile” as a result. Robust, nimble, flexible, adaptable, and resilience are all characteristics of an agile organization. Choosing to be an agile organization is a strategy. You would choose this strategy to satisfy your customers and build an amazing business in uncertain markets. If you’re building solutions that don’t look like the plan when you started to solve imperfectly understood problems, then you’d benefit from a high-degree of agility. If the world for you, looks the same in five years, being highly agile might not be necessary. Unfortunately, most of us can’t say that’s true for their organization.
When a business starts, it must quickly assess and adapt to customer needs and find their niche audience. Once identified, the goal is to scale the success by managing it to find repeatability and efficiencies.Organizations risk creating excessive structures and heavy processes when attempting to streamline the enhancements and mass production of their core products. Organizational inertia builds as it grows larger, and if nothing changes, there’s no problem. Challenges arise when market disruptions such as changes in consumer preferences, new technologies or regulations require an immediate response. Organizations that have become too large to adapt, find it difficult to turn the ship around.
Change is inevitable. How you respond to change is critical to your long-term success. We at Responsive Advisors help take organizations that have become a little too rigid; a little slow to innovate; too deliberate to respond to change; and bring them to a new state of rapid innovation and light-footedness. We work with you to strategically go after meaningful results and not just blindly implement tactics the product development industry has labeled “Agile”.
Problems We Help You Solve
- Inconsistent or slow delivery
- Frequently changing priorities
- Missed release dates
- Poor alignment between delivery organization and business partners
- Budget overruns
- Poor visibility of progress
- Quality issues
- Scope creep
- Delivering solutions that don't fit need
- Low team morale
- Low customer satisfaction
Common Challenges to Agile Transformations
- No clear or consistent definition of what ‘agile’ means
- ‘Agile’ is seen as just a product development problem
- Goals and reasons for the adoption are unclear or poorly communicated
- Lack of skills and experience with agile practices across the enterprise
- Fixed-scope, date, budget projects created by legal and finance departments and are rarely delivered on time or within budget
- Lack of tools to forecast completion dates
- Long regression test cycles that slow time-to-delivery
- People work on too many projects at once, leading to low productivity
- Difficulty coordinating teams in numerous locations on one project
How We Help
We have seen these challenges play out many times in various organizations. The good news is we can help. We have proven experience helping clients find meaningful solutions that stick and leave a lasting impact.
An effective approach combines goal alignment from senior leadership, front line management, and delivery teams, so we start there... with alignment. Your organization is highly complex and has evolved over time. It is also subject to change over time. We employ change management techniques and an agile transformation framework that fit your organization’s needs. We find this is the best way to help you evolve your organization while adapting the approach as we learn more and as priorities or goals change. We have found great success in making product/service delivery simpler, create happier customers, and build better places to work.
For organizations looking to take the plunge, it is essential to begin with effective change management to ensure post-training success in any agile transformation. A successful change effort must raise awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and increase reinforcement or risk dying on the vine. Our advisors apply a careful and deliberate approach to moving our clients through the stages of change leaving you in a far better and sustainable state.
How We Engage with You
Strategic Agile Advising
We operate in a value-driven advisory relationship with our clients aimed at improving process efficiency and business agility. We focus holistically and include all aspects of people, process, and technology. We partner with our clients to transform their organizations and support strategic decision making to build agile organizations.
- Executive training, coaching, and advising
- Management training, coaching, and advising
- Building funding models to support small batch delivery
- Change management for transformations
- Training agile coaches and building internal agile coaching competency
Tactical Agile Consulting
We provide support by executing specific change initiatives when an organization has an existing strategy for agile transformation. These are typically time bound initiatives with fixed deliverables. This often changes into a strategic advisory engagement.
- Agile Audits - We ensure your existing agile practices are being used to effectively mitigate risk
- Agile Assessments - We examine your maturity and preparedness of adopting agile delivery
- Professional Agile Training - We deliver high-quality, in-person training to build the knowledge necessary for your organization to be more successful becoming agile
We provide talented professionals short and long term and can fill in your talent gaps. Our people are skilled Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, product owners, and managers.
- We embed our professionals with your teams
- Our professionals teach your team while they are delivering
Scrum Master, Agile Coach, Agile Advisor… What’s the Difference?
Often these brave souls are on the front line of improving a product delivery team’s level of agility. They’re servant leaders who help remove team level impediments related to people, process, and tools. They help create team comradery and transparency. They challenge the team to excel, sometimes they facilitate meetings as needed or requested. However, their ultimate responsibilities are to enable agility by managing the Scrum framework, empowering and serving their teams, and serving the Product Owner and the organization as a whole. Often these individuals work very closely with one or two teams as they deliver and are with these teams for long periods of time.
An Agile Coach is an agile professional working with several teams to help build agile development capabilities. They help the team improve performance by focusing on the here and now. Coaches help remove roadblocks to success by engaging right people. They’re much like an advanced Scrum Master with a broader multi-team focus. Their primary activities will be teaching, mentoring, facilitating, professional coaching. Our Agile Coaches help teams take agility to the next level after training.
What if the challenges you face are bigger than a few teams? This is where our Agile Advisors come in. Our Advisors are senior level professionals that work with managers, leaders and executives on the big problems. They’re business doctors specializing in reducing organizational rigidity and improving business agility. They bring deep expertise in making organizations nimbler. They lead transformation efforts and engagements. Agile advisors bring many years of professional experience and advanced education coupled with expert agile delivery knowledge to provide pragmatic recommendations on strategy, organizational structure and design, change management, and agile product development. Their focus is holistic, not just delivery team level.