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Introducing Enterprise Business Agility

When we think of agility, we often think of agile teams. The word "agile" probably conjures up a mental image of kanban boards, sticky notes, and standup meetings. Many companies today have adopted agile practices on their development teams, and those teams have benefitted as a result. They now have increased collaboration, shorter feedback loops, and frequent deliveries. Teams are now able to get more work done quickly, but the problem is the environment around them hasn't really changed. Siloed business units are still competing for teams' time. Conflicting priorities flood team backlogs, leaving them overwhelmed, uncreative, and unclear on their strategic direction.

Teams have become agile, but the organizations around them have not. This is a problem because companies today are trying to do more than ever. Markets are dynamic, customer demands are immediate, and the pace of change is accelerating. In order to stay relevant in today's marketplace, the entire enterprise needs to become agile.

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How do you improve team maturity?

At AgilityHealth®, we believe healthy, high-performing teams are the most mature. Healthy teams are those that are sized appropriately with skilled team members who understand their roles and what is expected of them. These teams are able to self-organize around the work and members are T-shaped, which enables each to contribute to the work. 

High-performing teams take these items even further and work together to find creative and innovative solutions while breaking the work down into smaller increments of value they then deliver on schedule. Improving team maturity takes time and it begins with measurement.

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5 Key Areas to Focus when Measuring Agile Teams

There are numerous ways to measure the success of Agile teams within an organization. Some companies rely on metrics tied to the team’s performance, such as how many story points are completed over a sprint or how few escaped defects the team’s work creates. Another way to gauge the success of a team is by looking at their churn rate, or the stability of the team. Still another measure is often focused on feedback from the team’s leadership and internal or external customers.

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What is an Agile Assessment?

For organizations implementing or that are already using Agile, assessments focused on asking the right questions provide insights that indicate what is going on within teams, product lines, portfolios or throughout the enterprise, whether team members are in the office or distributed. Agile assessments create transparency for leaders by identifying obstacles to remove and opportunities to grow. As a result, teams can reach their highest potential and organizations thrive in their Agile transformation journey.

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What are the top drivers of team performance?

At AgilityHealth®, our team has always believed there’s a correlation for teams between qualitative metrics (defined by maturity) and quantitative metrics (defined by performance or flow). A few years ago, we adjusted our Agile team assessments to gather both qualitative and quantitative data. Once we felt we had a sufficient amount to explore, we partnered with the University of Nebraska’s Center for Applied Psychological Services to review the data through our AgilityHealth platform. The main question we wanted to answer was: What are the top competencies driving teams to higher performance?

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Boosting Output after Implementing Agile

One of our large financial services clients needed immediate help. The company was struggling to meet customer demands and industry regulations and needed to align business priorities to capacity before it was outplayed by competitors. They thought the answer would be to invest in Agile practices. But so far, that strategy didn’t seem to be paying off.

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Assess multiple teams across an organization virtually

Measuring the health and performance of just one team to gauge their maturity and help them grow requires many resources including establishing a method of measurement, time for the team to complete the assessment, someone to help the team analyze the results and establish a growth plan to move forward, and much more. Multiplying those efforts across all teams in an organization can seem daunting. But does it have to be? 

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8 Patterns to Set Up Your Measure and Grow Program for Success

We all know that any time you start something new in an organization it takes time to make it stick, but 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 or Continuous Improvement Program within your organization. It takes planning and effort to get it started, but the rewards will outweigh the efforts in the end.

At AgilityHealth®, our Strategists work with organizations every day to help them set up Measure and Grow programs across their teams that will succeed based on the company’s needs and goals. Through their experiences, we 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.

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Mature Teams Deliver More Value, Faster

Leaders across all industries and geographies are continually being asked to “Do More with Less”.  While this reality isn’t new, it’s definitely not going away anytime soon. The question, then, is how do you empower teams to consistently deliver more value in sustainable ways? 

How do you empower teams?

The good news is that Agile and Business Agility practices can do just that—help your teams deliver more value, faster, on a consistent basis. 

While there’s no silver bullet to tackling this challenge, there are definitely patterns that work. The most effective approach we’ve seen at AgilityHealth® is to:

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Using Crawl, Walk, Run and Fly to Measure Team Maturity

Accurately and consistently measuring team health and performance can be a tricky business, as can establishing agreed-upon levels of maturity for teams throughout an organization. 

When we initially launched the TeamHealth® Radar in 2014, the assessment questions described the positive/highest level behavior for each competency we were assessing and asked the teams to rate themselves using the Tuckman model of Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. We noticed many teams, especially those who were newer to Agile, ranked themselves too high using this scale. Teams didn’t know what they didn’t know and most of the team members felt they were doing great, which was subjective. This led to some of the data not accurately reflecting their true team health and maturity.

It’s certainly true that teams go through the Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing stages and that Coaches should tailor their guidance based on the current stage of each team. But from a maturity perspective, we felt there was a more applicable scale and additionally, we wanted to easily provide all teams in an organization consistent guidance on how to build an actionable roadmap for growth.

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