Up till now strategies were developed top-down, 1-5 years ahead and where quit static. As agile teams are getting continuously market feedback a strategy could get out of date very fast. But how to overcome this mismatch?
In classic organizations strategies were developed by management together with business development department top-down. Output of this is as quit static strategy, summarized with tools such as a company balanced score card, business model canvas, LEAN Canvas, etc with 3-5 focus topics for the current year. Based at these focus topics the line organization gets it’s targets and budgets for projects are given and prioritized usually 1-2 times a year. How agile is that?-Especially if there are multiple agile teams this gets another dimension of complexity. But how to overcome all this issues?
“The strategy is developed by people that are to far away from the „problem“ or market and might be out-of-date within weeks
— Mirko Kleiner, July 2015
It seems as there is a more agile tactical layer missing between strategy and operational execution?-With some of our customers we’ve solved this with an agile portfolio Board. This group of people (representatives of the main business areas) decides together about the business value [Calculating Business Value , ScrumInc] of the upcoming new ideas, if the current priorities needs to be changed and if original strategy is still fine. The key thing is to form/update a strategy together, so no more political games [The 10 political games everyone should play, theguardian] for resources in the agile teams.
The way they practices this is agile too. They do continuous improvement [Why Why It Matters That You're Always Improving, Forbes] by retrospective meetings to improve the process and update the frame conditions.
As the business portfolio kanban board is transparent to every employee everybody is alwaysinline with the current priorities. This gets very important in a scaled agile organization of multiple agile teams. Furthermore by putting all initiatives to a kanban board makes these visible and more easily to identify constraints and work in progress. As the business portfolio board is meeting on a regular bases the progress is getting visible and the strategy becomes alive. Even better, things are getting done and everybody could celebrate joint success!
We believe there is a need for an agile portfolio management in every organization, no matter of the size or the level of the organization. What do you think about, we are keen on your opinion and experiences?