We all know that any time you start something new in an organization it takes time to make it stick, and if teams and leaders find value, they will work to keep a program flourishing. The same is true when you implement a Measure and Grow Program within your organization. It takes planning and effort to get it started, but the rewards will definitely outweigh the efforts in the end.
At AgilityHealth®, our Strategists work with organizations every day to help them set up Measure and Grow programs that will succeed based on their individual needs. Through their experiences, they have noticed some consistent patterns across our customers, both commercial and government, for- and non-profit. Understanding these patterns can help you set up a program that’s right for your organization.
Before we jump into the patterns, let’s review what a Measure and Grow program is. Simply stated, it’s how you will measure your progress toward business agility. When we look at how Enterprise Business Agility was defined by Sally Elatta, AgilityHealth Founder, and Evan Leybourne, Founder of the Business Agility Institute, you can see why this is important.
The ability to adapt to change, learn and pivot, deliver at speed, and thrive in a competitive market.
Sally Elatta, CEO AgilityHealth and Evan Leybourn, Founder, Business Agility Institute
We need to maintain our competitive edge, and in the process, make sure that healthy teams remain a priority—especially as we start to identify common patterns across teams.
- Define how you will measure success.
Bertrand Dupperin said, “Tell me how you will measure me, and I will tell you how I will behave.” This is true of our teams, our team members, and our leaders. After this success criteria have been defined, allow the team members to measure themselves in a safe environment where they can be open and honest about their maturity with a neutral facilitator. The process of actioning on the data is very powerful for teams.
- Provide a way to help teams grow after you measure them.
“Measurement without action is worthless data.” (Thanks, Sally, for another great bit of wisdom.) When you set up your Measure and Grow program, make sure it includes a way for teams to learn and mature.
Some of the common ones we see are:
- Dojo teams—high-performing teams paired with new or immature teams to help them learn
- Pre-defined learning paths for teams using instructor-led or virtual learning
- Intentional learning options for teams through Communities of Practice or other options
- Pairing/Mentorship/Accountability Partners
- Tie the results to the goals.
“Why are we taking the time to do this?” This is a common question that teams and leaders ask when we are starting Measure and Grow programs. They feel that the time reserved for an Inspect and Adapt session could maybe be used to tie up those last few story points or test cases, when in reality there is a corporate objective to mature the teams. Be sure to share these kinds of goals with your teams and managers so they understand that this is important to the organization.
- Provide a maturity roadmap that takes the subjectivity out of the questions.
We all have an idea of what “good” looks like, but without a shared understanding of “good”, my “good” might be a 3, my teammate’s might be a 4, someone else’s might be a 2, and so on. When you share a common maturity roadmap to provide context for your assessment, your results will be less subjective.
- Measure at multiple levels so that you can correlate the results.
When we just look at maturity from the team perspective, we get one view of an organization. When we look at maturity from the leadership and stakeholder perspectives, we get another view. When we look at both together—the sandwich model—we get a three-dimensional view and can start to surmise cause and effect. This gives a clearer picture of how an organization is performing.
- Minimize competing priorities and platforms.
Almost all teams, regardless of organization, share that there are too many systems, too many priorities, too many everythings (except maybe pizza slices …). Be sure to schedule your measurement and retrospective time when the team is taking a natural break in their work. Teams should take the time to do a strategic retrospective on how they are working together at the end of every PI during their Inspect and Adapt, so use that time wisely.
- Engage the leaders in the process.
When this becomes a “we” exercise and not a “you” exercise, then there is a sense of trust that is built between the teams and their leaders. Inevitably the teams are going to ask the leaders for assistance in removing obstacles. If the leaders are on board from the start and are expecting this, and they start removing them, this creates an atmosphere of psychological safety where teams can be honest about what they need and leaders can be honest about what they expect.
- Remember, this is all change, and change takes time.
Roy T. Bennett said, “Change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” It takes time, perseverance, and some uncomfortable conversations to change an organization and help it to grow. But in the end, it’s worth doing.
Setting up a Measure and Grow program isn’t without its struggles, but for the organizations and teams that put the time and effort into doing it right, the rewards far outweigh the work that goes into it. If you would like to chat with us about what it would take to set up your Measure and Grow program, we’re ready to help.