Monday, 7 November 2016

Enterprise Agility Workshop

I recently held a workshop with senior management (general managers and executives) of a large enterprise company on agile methods. In this post I share the framework that helped me execute the workshop, sharing the experience and points for reflection. 

The situation with this client is a typical enterprise organisation structure, divided into broad areas of "Business" and "Technology". Divisions within the "Business" include Customer Care Operations, Marketing, Finance and a PMO. Divisions within "Technology" included IT Business Systems, Digital Media Product Development & Consumer Technology. Strategy is a separate division altogether. Added to this mix is the Technology Division supports multiple business units, with each business unit sharing similar (but unique) operational entities. The tech divisions were also unique in that each applied their own flavours of delivery: two were agile (but had different implementations of methods like scrum / kanban), whilst the third implements a hybrid waterfall / iterative life-cycle. And lastly, these three tech divisions had their own flavour of delivery PMOs (so count that as four PMOs in total, plus another PMO for BI/Analytics group - so that's five PMOs!).

The business people's request was basically:
We work with technology teams that are using this thing called Agile. What is it? Can we have a workshop to review agile methods, to decide whether / what / if the full enterprise needs to do / change to become more agile? How can we deliver faster? How can we get technology teams to respond faster, given that we in business operations can't move as fast as technology?

I was doubtful to say the least, because to me, timing was everything. The dust hadn't settled yet due to recent (and ongoing) organisational re-structures within both business and technology divisions, so I was hesitant this workshop would not add much value. Anyway, the client insisted the workshop happen, so I had to make it happen.

Was the workshop a success? Well, my client would argue yes, it was a success and it's great that we made a start.
Did the workshop run as I expected? No, what I had in mind (see mind map), what I planned for and what actually transpired did not fully meet my expectations, still there were some lessons learnt, and validation of my ideas & experiments are useful, hence I decided to share the framework publicly.

How to frame the workshop?

My mindmap design for the workshop

This picture is the mind map I used as a guide to planning the workshop. I applied my RAGE model as a guide, looking at:
  • Reality - I needed to understand the current reality of the stakeholders, in terms of their knowledge and experiences with agile methods?
  • Aspirations - Wanted to understand what problems they wanted to solve?
  • Goals - How could I run the workshop to address some of the stakeholders goals?
  • Expectations - What were these guys expecting as an output from the workshop?