Over the past few years I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work with over 65 different teams in various levels of small, medium, and large businesses. In each case I was either leading the teams or advising the teams on how to become more adaptive. When I joined LeadingAgile, I was thrilled to have access to the systems and tools that Mike and Dennis had employed and discovered while working with the hundreds (if not thousands) of teams that they had coached over the years.
One of the first tools that I encountered was a set of adoption attributes that we could share with a team to would help the team learn about how teams operates when they are valuing: (1) individuals and interactions over processes and tools, (2) working software over comprehensive documentation, (3) collaboration over contract negotiation, and (4) responding to change over following a plan… or the agile manifesto.
From the adoption attributes I was able to work with a team to both show them the areas where they were seeing good adoption as well as the areas where they need to grow. This was incredibly helpful for the team and me as it provided a spot light into areas where I could target coaching while at the same time giving the team the opportunity to grant me permission to coach in that area.
As time went on, I had more and more opportunities to participate in organizational assessments that were aimed at understanding the organization’s business drivers, identifying their change management concerns, and identifying a pilot slice of the to-be value delivery structure where the transformation should start. Throughout this process I learned more and more on the adoption attributes and began thinking holistically around how to establish a repeatable system of transformation that was oriented around multiple phases of adoption.
Phase 1: Become predictable
Phase 2: Make risk and dependencies visible
Phase 3: Organize around capabilities to reduce or eliminate external dependencies
Phase 4: Streamline the delivery system
Phase 5: Fast ROI with quality and predictability (end-state business drivers)
This proved really helpful when framing up a roadmap for a transformation and thinking about it as an iterative and incremental process. I was able to work with both teams and business leaders to clarify a pathway towards the end-state that didn’t require me to solve all of the adoption problems at the same time. My initial hypothesis was that each of the phases would have different metrics to inform me that the key goal of the phase had been accomplished.
What I found, though, was that changing the metrics from phase to phase inspired confusion about how to know if the organization’s transformation was succeeding in delivering on the initial business drivers. In addition, I found that hitting phase 5 based on the adoption characteristics would indicate that a slice of the organization has adopted practices that could help deliver the business drivers in spirit; but, isn’t actually using business metrics to help them clarify along the way to ensure that they are able to deliver fast roi with quality and predictability.
My question then became, how can I best use the business drivers’ key performance indicators as a focusing point for throughout the transformation. One of the tools I came across for connecting the various perspectives of a organizations health to the organizations KPI’s was the balanced scorecard.
So… here is my question/new hypothesis: is it true that for a transformation to really deliver the end-state goal, it needs to be measured through the organization’s balanced scorecard or other business metric dashboard? I think this is true and I also would advise that a transformation not be nesessarily deemed a success until the scorecard demonstrates that the business is responding to change, accomplishing fast ROI with the desire quality and predictability within their markets.